William Shakespeare, circa 1592, read as an eBook from Blackmask.com
This is Shakespeare’s famed hatchet job on old Richard Three, conjuring him as an evil genius and unparalleled manipulator, who is brought down (unsurprisingly) by his own crimes.
The play made me think of Firdusi’s Satire on Mahmud, where he instructs the ruler on how it is the writers who create great heros — or, in this case, tear them down. I don’t care to speculate on the virtues of anyone who managed to claim the bloody and oft-contested throne of England; I have no doubt that any ill things said of them have more than a kernel of truth. But Firdusi’s claims have weight here. What I know of Richard III is based upon Shakespeare alone, and Shakespeare tells me that he was an evil, twisted man.