Wars of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden

I titled my Amazon review for this this ARC “Wars of the Roses for Game of Thrones Fans.”

Wars of the Roses: Stormbird Front Cover (Penguin Group USA)

Wars of the Roses: Stormbird Front Cover (Penguin Group USA)


THE PLOT: The book starts with the arrangement of the marriage of Henry VI to Margaret of Anjou, which includes the return of French territories Anjou and Maine to France. Surprisingly, Englishmen living in those areas aren’t wild about giving up their homes to the French, so lots of fighting ensues. In the meantime, Henry VI is mentally incapable of running a kingdom. The book only covers up until the Duke of York becomes protectorate, so this is all really preliminary setup for the actual Wars of the Roses.

MY TWO CENTS: Many of the current popular books on the Wars of the Roses are more romantic historical fiction, or told from women’s points of view. This first book in a new series is a lot more brutal…lots of battles, torture, and hangings. It’s also told from all male points of view with the exception of Margaret of Anjou. Narrators trade off, much as the Song of Ice and Fire books do, and include both real historical characters and purely fictional characters. (However, the writing is nowhere near as dense as the SOIAF books; it’s a much quicker read, and I don’t think the word “craven” has been used…but “boiled leather” has!)

BOTTOM LINE: Some of the scenes were a little too brutal for my taste, but overall, I found it an antidote to some of the other more romantic books. If you like fictionalized accounts of historical battles, you will probably enjoy this book. The next book in the series is titled “Trinity,” and I definitely have it on my “to read” list.

TEACUP RATING: A solid 4 out of 5 teacups. I like the writing, love the period covered, and ended up sympathizing with most of the main characters. I don’t love reading about torture, though. (Does anyone? Really?)

ON SALE DATE: This book will be available in the US in hardcover and eformats on July 8, 2014. I believe it went on sale earlier in other markets, such as the UK.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

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