The sickly King and his puppet masters who paved the way for the War of the Roses

Stormbird (Wars of the Roses, #1)Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Historically a wee bit dodgy but then one could call that artistic leeway whilst creating a story. Historical fiction tends to suffer from bending and twisting of facts.
Despite the fact Henry VI was one of least memorable kings in British history his ascension to the throne and the machinations during his reign were the catalysts to events that would change the face of the royal lineage. Due to his ill-health, which is a kindly term for a weak boy who became an even weaker man, his kingdom was ruled by those that surrounded him. Unfortunately that was to the detriment of his country and it started the so-called War of the Roses. Henry VI swayed between bouts of religious fervour and insanity throughout his lifetime.
His marriage to Margaret of Anjou and the terms of said marriage caused conflict, which ignited tempers between the two countries. Margaret’s uncle Charles VII (he also claimed the crown of France) arranged to receive the lands of Maine and Anjou from the English instead of him providing the customary dowry for Margaret.
According to historical facts Margaret used her power over Henry VI and at court to try and thwart Richard Duke of York, who had a claim to the throne equal to that of Henry VI. She protected her son’s claim to the throne and in doing so set in motion a sequence of events from which the houses of Lancashire and York never fully recovered.
Iggulden portrays Margaret as the child who becomes the faux mother to her sickly husband rather than the manipulator she actually was, although that may be a harsh word to describe her. I am sure most women would dabble at power plays to ensure the safety of their own person and their family.
Anyway I digress.
The author certainly doesn’t suffer from lack of enthusiasm, especially when it comes to the combat scenes.
I have been trying to pinpoint what exactly doesn’t hit tick the box for me. I think it might just be the flair of drama instead of accuracy, the lack of clarity in the interludes between battle or the feeling that I am reading a great exciting adventure instead of a warped excerpt of history. I say warped with a sense of humour because it can’t get much more warped than the actual reality of British history.
The author portrays de la Pole with a sense of hero entitlement. Someone a young boy would look up to instead of the man playing at being king without the authority to do so. He is lucky to have kept his head for as long as he did.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

View all my reviews


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