"Your house’s emblem should not be the white rose but the old sign of eternity . . . the snake which eats itself. The sons of York will destroy each other, one brother destroying another, uncles devouring nephews, fathers beheading sons. They are a house which has to have blood, and they will shed their own if they have no other enemy." So it was said of the House of York, whose family crest bore the white rose, waging war against their cousins, the House of Lancaster of the red rose, for the crown of England. So it was said of the War of the Roses.
And at the center of the storm was a commoner, whose mother was born of royalty, Elizabeth Woodville. She was a woman of extraordinary beauty, rumored to be a sorceress, who supposedly cast a spell over young King Edward IV to become his wife and Queen of England. While her husband constantly took up arms to defend his crown to usurper cousins from the North, Elizabeth rose to the demands of her lofty position, promoting the fortunes and advancement of her ambitious relatives. But the prediction of the snake which eats itself became true as rivalry between the Yorks and the Lancasters never was laid to rest. Violence, betrayal and murder dominated Elizabeth’s life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward IV and devoted mother of their children.
Elizabeth and Edward IV had seven children, five daughters and two sons. The oldest son, Edward V, was never crowned King of England after his father’s sudden death. He and his brother Richard were imprisoned in the Tower of London by their uncle, the youngest York brother, Richard. In one broad stoke of blind ambition, he declared the children of Elizabeth and Edward IV illegitimate and declared himself King Richard III. The fate of the two young princes has confounded British historians for centuries. But Philippa Gregory, master historian and storyteller, puts her own unique spin on this royal mystery, thus setting up the storyline for the next book in this new Plantagenet’s series, "The Cousins’ War."