12 June 2014


Author:  Conn Iggulden
Year published: 2013
Series: War of the Roses, books 1
Pages: 512
Time It Took To Read: A couple of days

You may have sensed a theme in my recent reading. Historical fiction (plus some fantasy), are really the only fiction books I like. And recently, I've been reading buckets of them. I am AGGRIEVED that once again, I have started a series of books that isn't even close to being finished yet. Truly, this makes me cross. My patience is thin, but I only need to wait for September for the next one.

So, the Wars of the Roses. A horrible, bloody struggle between the descendants of Edward III, which ended up in Henry VII - who had the weakest claim to the throne - taking the crown after the Battle of Bosworth Field. This series takes a rather different view of the political machinations that led to it (notably the surrendering of French land in exchange for a French bride), using an invented spymaster as the go-between amongst the factions, plotting and trying to keep the increasingly unwell Henry VI on the throne. There are bloody battles, people die without warning (shadows of A Song of Ice and Fire with this), and it's fascinating. There is real grit.

Most of the historical fiction I read of this period is framed in the eyes of women, and their historical powerlessness.  Much as I love a bit of romantic historical fiction (Alison Weir/Philippa Gregor), women do tend to lack nuance - either weak innocents, or megalomaniac monsters. This book, however, I loved because Margaret d'Anjou is amazing. She cries a lot, but she holds the power of the throne for her incapacitated husband. She's frightened, but doesn't show it. She takes the initiative. 

The historical notes at the end are lengthy, because Mr Iggulden (GREAT NAME) has taken a lot of liberties with the time scale, but I don't mind that. The only thing I have against this book is that I have to wait for more of them. 

Happy news! If I pass my exams, I'm buying myself a Kindle. Until then, I have about 20 books I've garnered and not read yet. BOOKS! THERE WILL ONLY BE BOOKS!

Book count: 21/50

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