The Wars of the Roses:

Historical Novels about Edward IV, Richard III, the Princes in the Tower and the British in the Late 15th Century


Jump to:

Novels of the Wars of the Roses
Mysteries set during the Wars of the Roses

Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.


Margaret of Anjou, Henry VI's Queen

King Henry V died when his son and heir was only eight months old. England never fared well under child-kings, and matters improved little when Henry VI attained his majority. Mentally unstable, he devoted more time to pious pursuits than to governing his country.

Henry's sixteen-year-old bride, Margaret of Anjou, already displayed a greater understanding of governance and soon became the dominant power in the kingdom. Being French, she was unpopular with her subjects, many of whom suspected that her son Edward of Lancaster was the product of an adulterous liaison. After Henry suffered a mental breakdown and Richard, Duke of York, was appointed regent, Margaret's power struggles with the Duke escalated into warfare, marking the beginning of the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of York (whose emblem was a white rose) and Lancaster (a red rose).

Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, mother of the Princes in the Tower

Two sons of Richard, Duke of York, came to the English throne. Edward IV was a fine military commander and popular king. His primary weakness was his alliance to the numerous and ambitious Woodville family, relatives of his beautiful wife, Elizabeth Woodville, whom he married secretly. He died in 1483, leaving two sons, aged twelve and nine. Edward's brother Richard was appointed Protector and ruled England on the elder boy's behalf until Parliament considered evidence that Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was invalid and declared her children illegitimate. Richard III was crowned king, and the two boys were sent to live in the Tower of London, from which they seem never to have emerged alive. Richard died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, fighting against Henry Tudor, who succeeded him as Henry VII.

The mysterious fate of the "Princes in the Tower" has fascinated writers from Shakespeare to the present day. Did Richard III have them murdered, as Shakespeare believed? Or was he innocent, as several modern writers have argued?


Novels of the Wars of the Roses

Valerie Anand, Crown of Roses (1989), about the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III.

Valerie Anand, The House of Lanyon (2007), about a feud between two families in Exmoor, Somerset as the Wars of the Roses play out in the background; #1 in the Exmoor Saga. Review

Valerie Anand, The House of Allerbrook (2008), about a woman forced into marriage with a much older man because she resists the attentions of Henry VIII; #2 in the Exmoor Saga.

Prudence Andrew, A Question of Choice (1962), about the bitter controversies during a monastery's effort to choose a new abbot in 1468, with candidates sponsored by rival factions close to the English throne.

Elizabeth Ashworth, By Loyalty Bound (2013), about an heiress who becomes the mistress of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III.

Margaret Campbell Barnes, The Tudor Rose (1953), a novel about Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York, who married her uncle's rival for the throne Henry VII.

Pamela Belle, The Lodestar (1987), about a young man who joins the household of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and becomes involved in the Wars of the Roses and Richard's rise to the throne; a sympathetic view of Richard III.

Vanora Bennett, Figures in Silk (2008), about two daughters of a silk merchant: Jane Shore, who would become the mistress of King Edward IV, and her sister.

Pauline Bentley, Silk and Sword (1993), historical romance about a man and woman allied with opposing factions during the Wars of the Roses.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Last of the Barons (1843), about the power struggle between King Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick.

Patrick Carleton, Under the Hog (1938), about Richard III from the perspective of various courtiers and common people who encountered him.

Brenda Clarke, Richard Plantagenet (1997), a sympathetic portrait of Richard III.

Emma Darwin, A Secret Alchemy (2008), about the Princes in the Tower, from the perspective of their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, their uncle Anthony Woodville, and a fictional modern-day researcher writing a book about Anthony.

Pauline Donaldson, Wild Rose (2010), about a young Yorkshire woman who takes in a child she finds on the moors beside a dead woman; self-published.

Rhoda Edwards, Fortune's Wheel (1977), a sympathetic view of Richard III and his wife Anne Neville during the years before he became king.

Rhoda Edwards, Some Touch of Pity (1978; also titled The Broken Sword), a sympathetic view of King Richard III; sequel to Fortune's Wheel.

Olive Eckerson, The Golden Yoke (1961), about the medieval Wars of the Roses.


Eleanor Fairburn, The Rose in Spring (1971), about Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, the mother of the English kings Edward IV and Richard III; #1 in the Cecily Neville series.

Eleanor Fairburn, White Rose, Dark Summer (1972), #2 in the Cecily Neville series.

Eleanor Fairburn, The Rose at Harvest End (1975), #3 in the Cecily Neville series.

Eleanor Fairburn, Winter's Rose (1976), #4 in the Cecily Neville series.


Posie Graeme-Evans, The Innocent (2004), about a mistress of Edward IV; #1 in the Anne de Bohun trilogy.

Posie Graeme-Evans, The Exiled (2005), about a mistress of Edward IV and their child; #2 in the Anne de Bohun trilogy.

Posie Graeme-Evans, The Uncrowned Queen (2006; titled The Beloved in the U.K.), about a mistress of Edward IV and their child; #3 in the Anne de Bohun trilogy.


Philippa Gregory, The White Queen (2009), a sympathetic novel about Elizbeth Woodville, Edward IV's queen and the mother of the Princes in the Tower; #1 in the planned The Cousins' War series. Review or Author Interview

Philippa Gregory, The Red Queen (2010), about the ambitious Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, who became king after defeating Richard III on the battlefield.

Philippa Gregory, The Lady of the Rivers (2011), about Jacquetta Woodville, whose life changes when her daughter Elizabeth secretly marries King Edward IV of England.

Philippa Gregory, The Kingmaker’s Daughter (2012), about Anne and Isabel Neville, the daughters of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the "kingmaker" during the Wars of the Roses.


Maurice Hewlett, Brazenhead the Great (1911), a romantic novel set during Jack Cade's Rebellion in 1450, in which some 5,000 Kentish peasants marched to London in revolt against Henry IV, one of the early events leading to the Wars of the Roses.

Georgette Heyer, My Lord John (1973), a straight historical novel set in medieval England during the Wars of the Roses, a change from Heyer's usual Regency settings.

Susan Higginbotham, The Stolen Crown (2010), about Katherine Woodville, whose sister Elizabeth secretly marries King Edward IV.

Susan Higginbotham, The Queen of Last Hopes (2011), a sympathetic novel about Margaret of Anjou, the French wife of King Henry VI, and Queen of England during the Wars of the Roses.

Conn Iggulden, Stormbird (2013), about Henry VI and the beginning of the Wars of the Roses; #1 in a planned series.

Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nightmare (1983), a surrealistic novel about an insomniac Englishman in 1486 Cairo.


Rosemary Hawley Jarman, The Courts of Illusion (1983), about the Princes in the Tower.

Rosemary Hawley Jarman, The King's Grey Mare (1973), set during the Wars of the Roses, about Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV.

Rosemary Hawley Jarman, We Speak No Treason (1971), a sympathetic view of Richard III through the eyes of a young woman, a jester and a courtier. Review at mealibris.wordpress.com


Barbara Jefferis, Beloved Lady (1956), about Margery Paston, the wife of Sir John Paston, a courtier of Edward IV who later fought on the Lancaster side in the Wars of the Roses.


Betty King, The Lady Margaret (1965), a love story about Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, the parents of King Henry VII.

Betty King, The Lord Jasper (1967), about Margaret Beaufort's brother Jasper, the Earl of Pembroke, and a key supporter of Henry VII.

Betty King, The King's Mother (1969), about Margaret Beaufort, whose son Henry, born after the death of her husband Edmund Tudor, would become King Henry VII.

Betty King, The Beaufort Secretary (1970), a love story about an official in the household of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII.

Betty King, The Rose Both Red and White (1970), about Henry VII's daughter Margaret Tudor, who married King James IV of Scotland.

Betty King, The Beaufort Bastard (1973), part of the Beaufort series.

Betty King, Margaret of Anjou (1974), a sympathetic portrayal of Margaret of Anjou, the French princess who married the feeble-minded King Henry VI.


Philip Lindsay, London Bridge Is Falling (1934), about Jack Cade's Rebellion in 1450, in which some 5,000 Kentish peasants marched to London in revolt against Henry IV, one of the early events leading to the Wars of the Roses.

Philip Lindsay, The Duke is Served (1936), about servants of the royal household in 1470-1471 and their efforts to reunite Anne Neville with Richard of Gloucester, the future Richard III.

Philip Lindsay, The Merry Mistress (1952), about King Edward IV's mistress Jane Shore.

Philip Lindsay, They Have Their Dreams (1956; also titled A Princely Knave), about Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of King Edward IV's two sons who were imprisoned as the "Princes in the Tower."

Dora Greenwell McChesney, The Confession of Richard Plantagenet (1913), a sympathetic novel about Richard III.

Terence Morgan, The Shadow Prince (2012), about Perkin Warbeck.

Anne O'Brien, The Virgin Widow (2010), about Anne Neville, whose father uses her as a political pawn during the Wars of the Roses.

Marion Palmer, The White Boar (1968), a sympathetic novel about Richard III.

Marion Palmer, The Wrong Plantagenet (1972), about supporters of Richard III after his death in the Battle of Bosworth Field; sequel to The White Boar.

Sharon Kay Penman, The Sunne in Splendour (1982), a stand-alone novel about King Richard III, from his childhood to his death in battle. Review

Ruth S. Perot, The Red Queen (2000), about Henry VI's queen, Margaret of Anjou.

Elizabeth Peters, The Murders of Richard III (2004), about a contemporary American librarian invited to a costume party in an English mansion where the guests plan to clear the name of Richard III, when a real murder ensues; #2 in the Jacqueline Kirby mystery series about a contemporary sleuth whose investigations sometimes touch on historical events.

Maureen Peters, Elizabeth the Beloved (1965), a novel which portrays Elizabeth of York, the daughter of King Edward IV and niece of Richard III, falling in love with Richard III during his reign.

Jean Plaidy, The Goldsmith's Wife (1950), about King Edward IV's mistress Jane Shore.

Jean Plaidy, The Red Rose of Anjou (1982), about Margaret of Anjou; #13 in the Plantagenet series.

Jean Plaidy, The Sun in Splendour (1982), about Edward IV and the Battle on Bosworth Field; #14 in the Plantagenet series.

Jean Plaidy, Uneasy Lies the Head (1982; new edition titled To Hold the Crown), about Henry Tudor, who became King Henry VII after winning the Battle of Bosworth Field, and his wife, Elizabeth of York.

Barnaby Ross, The Passionate Queen (1966), about Margaret of Anjou; Barnaby Ross was a publisher's house name for historical novels written by various authors, among them Don Tracy, who wrote The Passionate Queen.

Alan Savage, Queen of Lions (1994), a portrayal of Margaret of Anjou which imagines she had an exceptionally active sex life.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), a romantic novel about Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of King Edward IV's two sons who were imprisoned as the "Princes in the Tower."


Anne Easter Smith, A Rose for the Crown (2006), about the mistress (fiction) by whom Richard III had at least two illegitimate children (fact) in the years before he became king.

Anne Easter Smith, Daughter of York (2008), about the Princess Margaret, the sister of Edward IV and Richard III, and her marriage to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.

Anne Easter Smith, The King's Grace (2009), a novel which imagines the life of Grace Plantagenet, an illegitimate daughter of Edward IV who was close to his disgraced queen, Elizabeth Woodville, during the years when Perkin Warbeck attempted to take the throne from Henry VII. Review

Anne Easter Smith, Queen by Right (2011), about Cecily Neville, who married Richard of York, later King Richard III of England.

Anne Easter Smith, Royal Mistress (2013), about Edward IV's mistress Jane Shore. Review


Robert Louis Stevenson, The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses (1883), an adventure novel set during the Wars of the Roses.

Joan Szechtman, This Time (2009), historical time-travel fantasy in which a group of modern history enthusiasts spirit Richard III from the battlefield at Bosworth to present-day Portland, Oregon; self-published.

Reay Tannahill, The Seventh Son (2001), about Richard III.

Nigel Tranter, Price of a Princess (1994), about the fifteeenth century Mary Stewart, eldest daughter of King James II of Scots.

Nigel Tranter, Lord in Waiting (1994), about the fifteenth century Mary Stewart, eldest daughter of King James II of Scots; sequel to Price of a Princess.

Nigel Tranter, The Admiral (2001), about the late fifteenth century privateer Andrew Wood, who rose to become Lord High Admiral of Scotland.

Nigel Tranter, Chain of Destiny (1964), about James IV of Scots, the grandfather of Mary Queen of Scots, and his fatal path to the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513.

Nigel Tranter, A Flame for the Fire (1998), about David Kennedy, whose half-sister Janet was the mistress of James IV.

Michael Sidney Tyler-Whittle, Richard III: The Last Plantagenet (1970), a sympathetic novel about Richard III.

Brian Wainwright, The Adventures of Alianore Audeley (2005), a humorous historical novel about a woman spy during the Wars of the Roses.

Jan Westcott, The White Rose (1969), about Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.

Jan Westcott, Set Her on a Throne (1972), about the life of Anne Neville, whose second husband became King Richard III.

Meredith Whitford, Treason (2004), about a fictional cousin of Edward IV and Richard III who remains loyal to them during the Wars of the Roses; self-published.


Philippa Wiat, Yet a Lion (1978), about Thomas Howard, the second Duke of Norfolk, who fought for Richard III at Bosworth Field but survived and went on to serve the Tudor dynasty.

Philippa Wiat, Prince of the White Rose (1984), about Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, the younger of King Edward IV's two sons who were imprisoned as the "Princes in the Tower."

Philippa Wiat, The Kingmaker's Daughter (1989), about Anne Neville, the wife of Richard III.


Sandra Worth, The Rose of York: Love and War (2003), about Richard III; #1 in the Rose of York trilogy.

Sandra Worth, The Rose of York: Crown of Destiny (2006), about King Richard III; #2 in the Rose of York trilogy.

Sandra Worth, The Rose of York: Fall From Grace (2007), about King Richard III; #3 in the Rose of York trilogy.

Sandra Worth, Lady of the Roses (2008), about Isobel Ingoldesthorpe, raised in the Lancastrian court of Queen Marguerite, and her passionate love for her Yorkist husband, Sir John Neville.

Sandra Worth, The King's Daughter (2008), about Elizabeth of York, who became the first Tudor queen.


Mysteries set during the Wars of the Roses

P.C. Doherty, The Fate of the Princes (1990), a stand-alone mystery in which a dying friend and confidant of Richard III tells the story of the Princes in the Tower.

K.E. Martin, The Woodville Connection (2013), about a knight asked by Richard of Gloucester to help an elderly man accused of murdering a child prove his innocence by finding the real killer.

Julian Rathbone, Kings of Albion (2000), about a group of Indian travelers looking for a missing relative in England during the fifteenth century Wars of the Roses.


Kate Sedley, Death and the Chapman (1991), a former monk turned peddler in 1471 England finds himself in hot water when he tries to find out what happened to an alderman's missing son; #1 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Plymouth Cloak (1992), a former monk turned peddler must find out who killed the unpleasant man the Duke of Gloucester asked him to guard; #2 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Weaver's Tale (1993; titled The Hanged Man in the U.K.), a former monk turned peddler investigates the complicated case of a man hanged for murdering someone who later turned up alive but in a disoriented condition and near death.

Kate Sedley, The Holy Innocents (1994), a former monk turned peddler investigates the deaths of two children, which the townfolk believe to have been caused by witchcraft; #4 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Eve of St. Hyacinth (1995), a former monk turned peddler investigates a plot to kill Richard, the Duke of Gloucester; #5 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Wicked Winter (1995), a former monk turned peddler is stuck in the same village with a fanatical preacher when a noblewoman summons him, but is found dead before he can talk to her; #6 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Brothers of Glastonbury (1997), a former monk turned peddler tries to find out what has happened to a missing groom on the eve of his wedding; #7 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Weaver's Inheritance (1998), a former monk turned peddler investigates the case of a young man who turns up to claim an inheritance, insisting he is the son long believed dead; #8 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The St. John's Fern (1999), a former monk turned peddler investigates a case in which a man is said to have become invisible after eating a magical fern; #9 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Goldsmith's Daughter (2001), a former monk turned peddler is asked by Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, to investigate a case of poisoning in an attempt to prove the innocence of a relation of King Edward's mistress, Jane Shore; #10 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Lammas Feast (2002), a former monk turned peddler investigates the murder of a baker; #11 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Nine Men Dancing (2003), a former monk turned peddler investigates the disappearance of a beautiful young woman who promised to marry one man too many; #12 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Midsummer Rose (2004), a former monk turned peddler is almost murdered when he spends the night in a long-abandoned house, and no one believes his tale the next morning; #13 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Burgundian's Tale (2005), a former monk turned peddler is called to London by Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, to solve a murder; #14 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Prodigal Son (2006), a former monk turned peddler sets out to help a half-brother he didn't know he had, who has just been accused of a six-year-old crime; #15 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Three Kings of Cologne (2007), a former monk turned peddler investigates a murder of a woman killed twenty years previously, who had three suitors, none of whose identities are known; #16 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Green Man (2008), a former monk turned peddler joins the English army invading Scotland in 1482 to put the Duke of Albany on the Scottish throne and finds, when he arrives in Edinburgh, that he must clear one of the Duke's friends of a murder charge; #17 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Dance of Death (2009), about a former monk turned peddler commanded to accompany a beautiful woman to Paris; #18 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, Wheel of Fate (2010), about a former monk turned peddler who visits an aristocratic London family in 1483 after the death of King Edward IV, in order to investigate a series of deaths; #19 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Midsummer Crown (2011), about a former monk turned peddler who investigates the murder in a locked room of a young boy's tutor and the disappearance of the boy; #20 in the Roger the Chapman series.

Kate Sedley, The Tintern Treasure (2012), about a former monk turned peddler who investigates a murder connected to the theft of a treasure from Tintern Abbey; #21 in the Roger the Chapman series.


Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time (1951), a bedridden Scotland Yard detective tries to solve the mystery of the Princes in the Tower and clear the name of Richard III. Review


Top of Page

Back to the Medieval Directory

Back to Medieval, 14th-15th Centuries

Forward to Medieval Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire