Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rings of Passage by Karla Tipton: Review by Anne Carlisle.

I'm proud to say that Karla Tipton is a fellow author at Lazy Day Publishing.
Anise Wynford is playing the king's wife in Shakepeare's play THE TRAGEDY OF RICHARD III at a Massachusetts summer stock theater.  The  22-year old falls on the porch step of her  dead father's farmhouse  after finding  a mysterious journal and an ancient gold ring. Suddenly she's in armor and on a bucking horse, in the middle of a medieval battle. She has slipped out of time through the magic of the ring, and next she appears as a mysterious  lady in the dream of Richard III, who is suffering from depression, guilt, and loneliness  following the deaths of his wife and son. Despite his proven ability as a warrior, he is doubting his ability to face Henry Tudor.  

History is written by the winners.  Shakespeare wrote in the age of the Tudors, who owed their throne to Henry Tudor's vanquishing of his cousin, Richard III, in 1485.  In Karla Tipton's version of the last few months of Richard III's reign, Richard was no crookback, nor did he have a withered arm, and he was anything but an ambitious butcher incapable of love. If anything, he was love's fool, refusing to take off his wife's ring after her death and therefore exposing himself to the sorcery of  a wizard, a former Welsh monarch bent on revenge.

The book's title brings to mind  rites of passage, wedding rings,  and even Lord of the Rings. In  this case, it refers to a set of rings creating a passage out of  time.   They were forged from the Philosopher's stone by the Welsh sorcerer, who, as the story unfolds,  hovers between worlds, waiting for another necromancer to  bring him  back to life and crown Henry Tudor.

The author  went to England to research the truth about Richard III, the much maligned king who was toppled from the throne after only two years. The time-travel romance between  a modern-day, American drama student  and a  medieval English monarch who is about to die on the battlefield  seems doomed from the start. But the author deftly weaves revisionist history and a fantasy  plot, moving toward an ingenious HEA . The events take place over several months prior to the battle of Bosworth Field in August, 1485. They are covered in scrupulous detail as the action zooms  from the fumbling sorcerers to  the traitors and loyalists in the king's retinue to the heroine's 21st century family history,  connected, through the ancient ring, to the story out of time.