Wars of the Roses – Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
Michael Joseph Ltd
This is my first venture into Iggulden territory. I’ve avoided his writing before as I’ve tended to associate him with “books for boys” – an association which was reaffirmed with the publication of The Dangerous Book for Boys which he co-wrote with his brother Hal. However, Stormbird attracted me as I find the War of the Roses a particularly intriguing historical period peopled with really engaging characters.
Having now read the novel, I can confirm it is a book for boys, filled with derring-do, lots of blood and gore and a love of detail, especially when it comes to the physical make up of an archer and his weaponry. Now, there’s nothing wrong with attention to detail but I, personally, prefer my historical fiction to have more focus on the inner thoughts and motivation of characters with a particular emphasis on the female point of view plus a tad less poetic licence when it comes to the facts….I think we’ll just have to agree to differ!
I loved the passages featuring Margaret d’Anjou as she grew in confidence from a young 14 year old being gifted to the English king in order to gain a truce to a strong-willed, brave woman struggling to hold on to her husband’s throne while he was non compos mentis. I also enjoyed the portrayal of the brave, devoted Lord Suffolk who gave his heart and soul for his country. Less inspiring, for me, were the skirmishes between the English and French and the long trek of Jack Cade and his army of Kentish men as they laid siege to London.
Stormbird is the first of a series of books about The War of the Roses and I am sure it will be as successful as Iggulden’s previous novels. It will appeal to those who enjoy action-packed, high-octane novels with lots of battles and information on strategy. As for me, being a bit of a girly, I’ll stick with Philippa and Alison!