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Dark Sovereign

The play in Shakespeare’s English that Shakespeare should have written.

Dark Sovereign, 2nd edition

~ Dark Sovereign, 2nd edition ~

Dark Sovereign …

… tells the tale of King Richard III’s life and reign. It does so as a play, a full length tragedy, written in English as it was available in the time of Shakespeare. That makes this the only play in nearly four centuries crafted in the language of the ‘Golden Age’, the apex of the Renaissance in English literature.

The text is both powerful drama and a potent teaching tool; its sources reach back into the minds of excellent writers, men and women, (i.e. Queen Elizabeth I, Cranmer, Marlowe, the KJV Bible of 1611, et al), all expressed in Tudor English.

Why spend four years writing a better play than Shakespeare’s Richard the Third about the life of a short-lived monarch? For me, Dark Sovereign started as an intellectual challenge as well as a counter-attack on the Bard’s interpretation of Richard III. Shakespeare’s play for the Tudor court of Elizabeth I is a scurrilous piece of propaganda. Four centuries later, Richard the Third is still among Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

In 1625, Nathanael Carpenter wrote, ‘Where History is uncertain, reasonable conjecture must challenge precedency’. Dark Sovereign does ‘challenge precedency’. However, it is not wildly revisionist. Making use of old and modern histories in its research, the play seldom gives King Richard’s character more benefit of the doubt than the average value gathered from many sources. This play is an exercise in modern dramatized journalism. It seeks to explain, not exonerate; to define, not denounce.

Running longer than Hamlet, the text of Dark Sovereign is now the longest single-part play written in the English of the Renaissance.

Buy the book in paperback with full Arden-style glossary …

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The tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral

The tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral

The mark for 'Dark Sovereign' by Yaroslava Mills

The mark for ‘Dark Sovereign’. Original calligraphy by Yaroslava Mills

Just for fun…

Author Robert Fripp, with cat, Victoria

~ My cat, Victoria, supervises an early draft of Dark Sovereign ~