Iggulden wraps up his finely wrought War of the Roses series in splendid style. Murder, betrayal, and bloody battlefields distinguish a vigorous narrative that, though ripped from the pages of history, still manages to contain a strong measure of heart-pounding suspense.
It’s been said thatGame of Thronesis the Wars of the Roses written as fantasy: this is the real thing, more glorious [and] more passionate.”
"Iggulden is in a class of his own when it comes to epic, historical fiction." —Daily Mirror
"Absorbing and bloody. Iggulden handles the origins of the Tudor dynasty with great panache." —Times
"A tough, pacy chronicle of bloody encounters, betrayals and cruelties. Superb." —Daily Mirror
"Compelling reading." —Woman and Home
"Exceptionally well-written and gripping." —Stylist
"A page-turning thriller." —Mail on Sunday
Superbly plotted and paced
The messiest period of medieval English history comes to a relatively tidy finale in Iggulden's wrap-up of the "Wars of the Roses" quartet (after Stormbird; Trinity; Bloodline). The author takes the internecine royalist feud from the restoration of the debilitated Henry VI to the surprise victory of Henry VII. In between, Edward IV replaces Henry VI for a second time, then succumbs to indulgence, allowing his twisted brother Richard to ascend the throne. The princes in the Tower are "disappeared," so the opposition turns to a distant male heir to be its standard bearer. The female consorts do not bear on the plot as much this time, as they're eclipsed by the charisma of Edward York and the Shakespearean cunning of his sibling. Treacherous sailings, forced marches, and sword-swinging galore run through this energetic retelling. A map and some genealogical tables help tell the players and places apart. VERDICT Historical fiction aficionados will relish this concluding volume. Fans of HBO's Game of Thrones will also want to see where that colossal series had much of its genesis.—W. Keith McCoy, Somerset Cty. Lib. Syst., Bridgewater, NJ
Iggulden (Bloodline, 2016, etc.) concludes his Wars of the Roses series with Richard III dead on Bosworth Field and Henry VII taking the throne for the House of Tudor.After the bloody battle of Towton, Edward of York seizes the crown from Henry VI, House of Lancaster, a frail and incompetent ruler. However, Edward IV prefers ale and the hunt to kingly duties, and soon Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick restores Henry VI to the throne. Edward and his ever loyal brother, Richard of Gloucester, take refuge in Burgundy. That's close by the Paris sanctuary of Henry's queen, Margaret of Anjou, and their son, Edward. Edward and Richard mount a campaign to retake England, one leaving Warwick dead after a battle near Barnet. Edward, crown restored, again turns dissolute. Richard schemes. Princes are murdered. Edward dies. Richard takes the throne. Margaret and son Edward return, landing in Wales, but then young Edward dies in battle, and from the wilds of Wales springs young Henry Tudor (Tewdyr from Welsh), "no doubt or indecision in him," descendant of John of Gaunt, House of Lancaster. Mentored by his uncle Jasper Tudor, Henry Tudor lures Richard III into battle and defeats him at Bosworth Field. Iggulden's a masterful writer, capable of setting a scene, sketching a description, or defining a character in a few words, often while turning a literary phrase—a dead York brother "raised to an angelic presence by the smoothing iron of memory." The dialogue sounds modern, but it's laced with historical syntax and grammar to lend credibility. Moreover, despite the complicated history and plethora of Edwards, Henrys, and Richards, Iggulden's narrative remains clear as the aristocratic houses fight not only for political power, but also titles and crown estates, land and wealth.A powerful you-are-there narrative, authentic and engaging.