Wars of the Roses: Stormbird

Putnam. Jul. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9780399165368. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101622940. F
The start of another historical series for Iggulden features not a notable figure such as Ghengis Khan or Julius Caesar, but the array of kings and power brokers who afflicted 15th-century England. Henry VI, weak minded and weak willed, is manipulated into trading the English territories of Maine and Anjou for a French bride. The landowners there resist, as back home Richard of York maneuvers to be the power behind the throne. Protecting the unsuspecting king are his new wife, a few other lords of the realm, and Derihew Brewer, the king's spymaster. On top of this, a peasant revolt surges out of Kent toward London, threatening the monarchy itself.
VERDICT Several of the well-drawn characters, especially the dashing, totally fictional Brewer, stand out to carry the narrative. The action swings back and forth between political intrigue and the brutal clashes of armies and mobs. And this is just the beginning. Fortunately for readers unfamiliar with the intricacies of this 50-year political melee, Iggulden's easy-to-follow take on the War of the Roses will keep followers of the old English royals completely engrossed. Bernard Cornwell fans will also enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 2/15/14.]
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