The story of Perkin Warbeck is one of the most compelling mysteries of English history. A young man suddenly emerged claiming to be Richard of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower. As such, he tormented Henry VII for eight years. He tried three times to invade England and behaved like a prince. Officially, however, he was proclaimed to be Perkin Warbeck, the son of a Flemish boatman. A diplomatic pawn, he was used by the greatest European rulers of the age for their own purposes. All who dealt with him gave him the identity they wished him to have: either the Duke of York or a jumped-up lad from Flanders. It is possible that he was neither. It is also possible that, by the end, even he did not really know who he was. In Perkin Ann Wroe tells again a marvellous tale that is on the brink of being forgotten. She also dissects the official cover story. In doing so she delves into the secret corners of European history and produces a portrait of the late fifteenth century that is breathtaking in its detail.
Ann Wroe is the Briefings and Obituaries editor of The Economist. She is the author of six previous works of non-fiction, including Pilate: The Biography of an Invented Man, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Award and the W.H. Smith Award. She lives in north London.