Wars of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
Reviewed by W. Keith McCoy, Somerset County Library System
The start of another historical series for Iggulden features not a famous person, but the array of kings and power-brokers who afflicted England in the 15th Century. Henry VI is weak minded and willed, and 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 unsuspicious 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 gushes out of Kent towards London, threatening the monarchy itself. Several of the characters stand out to carry the narrative, especially the dashing, totally fictional Brewer. 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 the reader. Verdict: Iggulden’s simplified version of the start of this fifty year political melee will keep followers of the old English royals completely engrossed.