Monday, 26 August 2013

Wars of the Roses - Conn Iggulden

Another masterpiece from Conn Iggulden this time closer to home.
Based in England and France there are three main characters.
Derry Brewer:behind the scenes facilitator
Jack Cade:renegade seeking justice following the death of his son
Margaret:French princess married to the British King without sight of him nbefore marriage
So a core cast covering all elements of society highest to lowest. Each has a surrounding of lesser characters that shift and interact with the others.
Starting with the realisation that King Henry does not have the health to govern, increase or even maintain the realm a solution is sought to hold the French on their own side of the Channel. Already in France are British landholdings causing unrest amongst the locals. The solution? Marry King Henry to a French princess but don't allow him to go to his own wedding. High society was well aware that allowing the French to see the king may well give them the confidence to invade. The price of the wedding? The English land in France.
So the wedding of King Henry to Princess Margaret was orchestrated by Derry Brewer and leaves Jack Cade already brimming over with resentment but now with a lot of allies who also despised the bargaining.
Painting fighting as he always does the reader can almost imagine Iggulden with his maps and lead soldiers playing out his battles as he writes. (A computer would spoil the illusion). Weapons are true to the day, including the snobbery relating to them.
Margaret grows up quickly when she gets to England and realises the king is not as she expected. She has to decide who to trust and who to watch and when to step in as the King's voice.
With a battle raging at the tower gates she is left defending her husband's sovereignty.
Fantastic way to learn your history-should be required school reading. Slight note for the appendix- the London Stone still exists in Cannon Street.
Thanks to Conn Iggulden for this advance copy.

Publisher - Michael Joseph

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