The first in a new series of books spanning the civil war where the Yorks and Lancasters wreaked havoc across England and made history in the process, Conn Iggulden ’s, Wars of the Roses: Stormbird, surrounds the pious Henry VI and the bubbling storm that erupts around him and his supporters.
This is a book that was introduced to me as a particularly good read for men thanks to its focus on battles and political intrigue as opposed to the more prevalent depiction of the era that harnesses the romance of medieval kings and queens (see The White Queen and its recent televised interpretation). On reading it however, I think this is a book that anyone with a taste for the narrative of the Wars of The Roses and speculation as to its human details, will enjoy.
Engagingly written, it starts in a moment of high tensions and manages to convey a wealth of emotions and details without ever feeling laboured. If you read any number of reviews about Conn Iggulden, you will time and again find him described as a ‘natural story teller’, and that is clear from the first sentence. History is a fascinating subject, but it takes someone very special to do it justice and make it come to life, which is just what he achieves.
All of this said, it isn’t necessarily the first thing you would suggest as a spa-side read … thoughts of chilly medieval castles and perpetual civil unrest not typically lending themselves to the relaxing set up of a lounger by the pool and a post-facial escapism … then again, a good book is worth reading wherever you happen to be sitting.
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