Wars of the Roses: Stormbird

Stormbird (Wars of the Roses, #1)Stormbird by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished the audiobook of this several weeks ago, but had been finding it difficult to follow, so began reading the book alongside. There is such a density of impressions in the writing that seemed to go right over my head listening to it. This is a book that might even require several readings. I have puzzled over the title, wondering who or what is the “Stormbird” or what does the term signify. I may be wrong, but I have decided that Richard of York, whose personal device was a falcon with outstretched talons, deserves that honor. While this is an ensemble piece involving many “main” characters, Richard is always there in the background, manipulating people and events to his own favor, becoming all but king in the end. Along with the mostly absent Richard of York, we have Derry Brewer (fictional)- the king’s spymaster, Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI, William de la Pole – the Duke of Suffolk, Jack Cade – who instigated a rebellion, and Thomas Woodchurch – a fictional archer who is acquainted with both Derry and Jack, first fighting in France for England and then, after the loss of his land in France, joining Jack Cade’s rebellion. Lots of Errol Flynn daring-do for those who like action and battle scenes. The four stars is mainly for entertainment value. I do get a bit frustrated with historical fiction writers who don’t stick with the historical timeline! At least he admits it in the end notes. My other caveat is that there are gratuitous scenes and characters with no bearing on the overall arc of the story. Still, it’s a jolly good romp and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Book description:
In 1437, the Lancaster king Henry VI ascends the throne of England after years of semi-peaceful regency. Named “The Lamb,” Henry is famed more for his gentle and pious nature than his father’s famous battlefield exploits; already, his dependence on his closest men has stirred whispers of weakness at court. A secret truce negotiated with France to trade British territories for a royal bride—Margaret of Anjou—sparks revolts across English territory. The rival royal line, the House of York, sees the chaos brought on by Henry’s weakness and with it the opportunity to oust an ineffectual king. 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?

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