Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou

Putnam. Jun. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9780399165375. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101622957. F
The second installment (after Stormbird) of this retelling of the 15th-century struggle for the English throne doesn't have the queen front and center, but she is behind everything that happens. Margaret plots to take the royal power back from the Duke of York, Henry VI's cousin and competitor for the Crown, as her husband lies abed, incapacitated by his mental illness. Covering just six years of the half century that saw four men and a boy become king on seven occasions, this is the tale of Henry's recovery and relapse, York's rises and falls, and the family feuds that colored each move by queen and duke. There is less derring-do from master spy Derry Brewer this time, but the politicking and conniving are worthy of a Washington potboiler. The battle scenes turn on the flick of a decision, adding to the excitement of this twisting chapter in English history.
VERDICT Royal watchers, history buffs, and those who love their war tales will be marching alongside the author as he illuminates the ups and downs of royal control in that uncertain era. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/15.]
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