Wednesday, 9 October 2013

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Wars of the Roses1: Stormbird - Conn Iggulden

Release Date: 10/10/13
Publisher:  Michael Joseph (Penguin)


Historical fiction master Conn Iggulden retells the gripping story of the English civil war in his new Wars of the Roses series.King Henry V - the great Lion of England - is long dead. In 1437, after years of regency, the pious and gentle Henry VI, the Lamb, comes of age and accedes to the English throne. His poor health and frailty of mind render him a weakling king - Henry depends on his closest men, Spymaster Derry Brewer and William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, to run his kingdom. Yet there are those, such as the Plantagenet Richard, Duke of York, who believe England must be led by a strong king if she is to survive. With England's territories in France under threat, and rumours of revolt at home, fears grow that Henry and his advisers will see the country slide into ruin. With a secret deal struck for Henry to marry a young French noblewoman, Margaret of Anjou, those fears become all too real. As storm clouds gather over England, King Henry and his supporters find themselves besieged abroad and at home. Who, or what, can save the kingdom before it is too late?The Wars of the Roses series will be a benchmark for historical fiction, showcasing Conn Iggulden at his finest.


OK, my other half is a big fan of Philippa Gregory’s Cousins War series and whilst she enjoyed the recent White Queen TV series, she’s been a fan of the books for a number of years. So she’s pretty much up on all the history surrounding this time, whereas I, to be blunt, have a vague notion of what happened. Yes I know the line of kings succession, but the minutae of the time was something that really left me wondering what had happened.

So getting the chance to read a version by a favoured author really did give me something special to sit down with and devour. As usual with Conn’s writing, its deliciously addictive, the prose just rolls off the page and with a pace that really lights up the imagination all round gives you a book that you have one hell of a time putting down.

Add to this cracking combat sequences, Conn’s ability to weave a story of epic proportions and all round I was more than a happy reader. I’ll definitely be glued to see what else he comes up with for the rest of the series and I’m going to be interested to see how his interpretation of the people of the time comes to the fore against other writers perceptions. Great stuff.

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