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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rather good piece of historical fiction
I have either read or listened to a number Conn Iggulden's historical fiction books and CD audio books. They have all been, for me, very well done and highly entertaining. Dare I say that his books set a high standard across the board for `historical fiction'. Mr Iggulden's first presentation was a book called `The Gates of Rome'; this was to be first of a series of five...
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stormbird
This is the first in an upcoming series on the Wars of the Roses, the struggle between Lancastrians and Yorkists for the throne of England and the right to succession following the death in 1377 of Edward III.

The author has written epic sagas before, but the fifteenth century English setting is a new departure for him I believe. I found this book a good novel...
Published 11 months ago by Keen Reader


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rather good piece of historical fiction, 8 July 2013
By 
Amazon Customer "Sussman" (London CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I have either read or listened to a number Conn Iggulden's historical fiction books and CD audio books. They have all been, for me, very well done and highly entertaining. Dare I say that his books set a high standard across the board for `historical fiction'. Mr Iggulden's first presentation was a book called `The Gates of Rome'; this was to be first of a series of five books of what is known as Emperor Series. The series is based around the life of Julius Caesar, from juvenile to his eventual betrayal and death (The Gods of War). The author's ability to cleverly entwine fact and fiction, in seamless fashion is truly flawless in my opinion, and this really makes his books work. This range of books has proved so popular that a film company has optioned the rights.

For me Wars of the Roses `Stormbird', proves to be just as promising a title as the ones mentioned previously. Without giving spoilers and regurgitating the plot summary, this current tale has the attention to historical detail that makes the narrative, ooze with history, and seems as if a newly discovered parchment from the past had just been discovered and published giving vivid new insights.

The tale of centres around `The Wars of the Roses' that were a series of dynastic wars fought between factions of two competing branches of the royal House of Plantagenet; the houses of Lancaster and York. A rather weak Henry VI's, who is plagued by both mental and physical ill health, has his right to the crown challenged by one Richard, Duke of York, who seems on the face it -initially away- being purposely marginalised by the Kings Court. The characters within the tale are all well rounded and you get a real feel for their predilections warts and all, such as the powerful and antagonistic Margaret of Anjou - King Henry VI's consort. For me this book was really good reading pleasure and I am rather impatient for the rest of the books in the current series to be 'published'. This is audio-book is well worthy of full four stars in my estimation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Start but not an instant classic, 21 May 2014
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Having come off the back of Iggulden's Genghis Khan series I was really looking forward to this book.
To put that into context. I thought the Genghis Khan series much better than his Roman series - partly because he seemed to have found his style and tempo and secondly as an Ancient Historian by degree I have read many better Rome based series than his, which I felt were solid rather than spectacular.
I think this period he has settled on is fascinating - the end of the 100 years war and the Wars of the Roses is a fascinating part of British History - one that actually few Britons know much about in depth...me included.
I like what Iggulden has done here, the story is long but the natural set up is well paced and well delivered through out. It lacks that sense of urgency that Wolf on the Plains had - dragging you through page after page - rather than with this where there were plenty of times I was happy to put it down.
The characters are well rounded, with enough back story and arc to make them believable and likeable...but what is most obvious when reading this is that the overall impact of Stormbird is that the story of the Wars of the Roses is nicely simmering away - the boiling points are well in advance of the story arc of this "first in the series."
As a standalone or as a first in the series this is not the classic that "A Game of Thrones" is (I use that as an example merely as GRRM has openly sourced the Wars of the Roses as the basic inspiration for his popular series. However I am really looking forward to the next instalment because I genuinely believe that the following books will naturally be much more interesting due to the content (intrigue/murders etc) that have to follow.
Overall a good book, which I hope will be the set up to a strong series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Getting me Interested in the Middle Ages, 22 Oct 2014
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have read all of Conn Iggulden's earlier works and a firm fan of his writing. He writes fluidly, creates interesting multi-faceted characters and sets his stories firmly in a historical setting that is entertaing, enjoyable but also quite educational.

Battle scenes are a particular strength of this author, and I often feel myself immersed in the battle scenes. This was true also in this story of a brief naval battle, where the descriptions of how the ships moved and were swept by the seas were very cleverly done. Conn Iggulden writes excellent stories, and this is one such, and highly recommended.

I am a fan of some historical fiction, particularly the classical period, but have not read much set in the late Middle Ages, other than a bit of Shakespeare (mostly for school). My knowledge of the War of the Roses was mostly from playing Kingmaker when I was younger! Thus this was a period I was not very familiar with, and not one I thought myself much interested in. Nevertheless I greatly enjoyed the developing story around Henry VI, his illness and weakness, the loss of France, and the machinations of Richard of Yourk, and have already bought the sequel to this book.

Having said that, in books where I knew the history better, I have noticed Conn Iggulden's tendency to tweak the history to make a better story. He is quite up front about doing that in this book in his epilogue, and you realise, when you get to the epilogue, that the fast moving events of this story actually played out over a longer period. I don't fault him for that, as he has told us what he has done, and this is not a history text book, it is a story, and a good one.

I cannot imagine anyone with the vaguest interest in historical fiction being disappointed with this book.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conn Storms Back, 10 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) (Hardcover)
You know, if you half closed your eyes you could be reading a Bull-Dog Drummond or Richard Hannay yarn, such is the ripping tone of Conn Iggulden's latest adventure.
If they'd taught history like this at school we'd have been fighting to get into class, not fighting the will to live.
Iggulden's a man who knows how to press all the buttons that make a British-born man's blood course and thrill, his juices flow, his mind run riot in a world where actions speak louder than words, and the words are pretty damn loud.
He did it with his Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan series, and now he's taken what is for many a subject as dull as ditchwater and turned it into living, bleeding, aching, loving, scarred flesh.
Stormbird delivers the background and build-up to the Wars of the Roses: A limp-d***ed king, a b*****d of an enemy within, a well-fit and feisty queen, an uppity French noble, a loyal but doomed diplomat and a home-grown troublemaker with a rag-bag army hell-bent on violent revolution.
Thrown into the boiling pot are characters made up to drive the tale along and keep it gripping your mind and guts: An all-action, dangerously devious spy, and a dispossessed war veteran with a mighty longbow arm.
Though historians might quibble, every inch of this book is believable, not least the battle in the stinking streets of London at night...you can feel yourself slipping in the filth and blood.
This is a serious MUSCLE book with just enough gore to satisfy the animal within and enough intrigue to keep readers eager.
In short, it's yet another masterpiece by Conn Iggulden.
The Wars of the Roses may be just beginning but he's already won the prize...King of Historical Fiction.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stormbird, 29 Nov 2013
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Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) (Hardcover)
This is the first in an upcoming series on the Wars of the Roses, the struggle between Lancastrians and Yorkists for the throne of England and the right to succession following the death in 1377 of Edward III.

The author has written epic sagas before, but the fifteenth century English setting is a new departure for him I believe. I found this book a good novel of the prelude to, and beginning of the Wars of the Roses, but not great. The characters were largely historical figures, but there were `fictional' characters used by the author to expand on the historical sources, and these were drawn more fully than the historical characters I thought. I found the characters were rather shallow, and we never really got inside their heads - while we saw action, we never really understood motivation or intention.

The action is well portrayed, but I didn't ever really feel that I was drawn into the story entirely; personally I didn't feel an empathy for any of the characters, historical or fictional, and I never really felt like I was totally involved in the whole story. There's much more to be told of the Wars of the Roses, but I think that Mr Iggulden will not be able to entice me to read more of his saga. Good, not great.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ... but a little bit too gory in places, 10 Nov 2013
This review is from: Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) (Hardcover)
When I saw this book I had to have it as the Wars of the Roses is my passion first and foremost! The cover is very appealing as are the maps on the inside covers. The story starts well with the death of Edward III and so it all starts. I have always found the story of Henry VI quite pitiful and so he is here, the weak king but kindly man with the strongwilled wife, although here you get to see the young, vulnerable side of Margaret of Anjou instead of the evil queen that we see so often in fact and fiction, although you can see why she became so after the continuous intrigues and plotting against her house. I have always been sympathetic to the Yorkist cause and this books actually shows them as the villains, which they are normally not and I did find it amusing when the main character talks down to the Duke of York (much to his annoyance). All in all the story is good and I look forward to the next book. The only complaint is that in parts it can be rather gory, especially the execution of the Jewish banker. I had to skim over this as I found it a bit too much. I know that these times were not especially gentle, but I think the detail of these scenes is a bit too much.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read, 21 Jun 2014
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Having read both the Emperor and Genghis Khan series of books this was a must have when it was released.
Conn Iggulden's books are always very well researched and this one was no exception. I have read many books on the WOTR but this one is interesting in that it starts right at the beginning of the wars and will, no doubt, end with the death of Richard on Bosworth Field. It gives quite a personal insight into the lives of not only the nobles but also common people and for that reason is quite fascinating. If you are interested in this period of history I am sure that you will learn a lot that you didn't know - I certainly did.
Shame that I have to wait for the 2nd instalment to be released but will certainly buy when it is released.
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good page Turner, dodgy history., 14 July 2013
By 
Hamstead (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) (Hardcover)
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As with all Conn Iggulden novels, this one is a page Turner with an easy writing style that will draw you into the novel and keep you turning the pages. There is plenty of action and violence to keep the core readership happy, but also a very sympathetic portrayal of Margaret of Anjou. You can't help but root for her - even if you have a strong suspicion that she really wasn't like that in a lot of ways. However, in Iggulden's version she's likeable and it's interesting to watch her grow throughout the novel as she struggles with a husband who is three sandwiches short of a picnic, and a court riven by factions in a difficult political time. It's also good to see the common man represented here and to be able to cheer for Thomas of Woodchurch and his son Rowan.
There is a lot to enjoy in the novel, but I nearly wall-banged it when I read the prologue which was downright ridiculous if you know your Middle Ages. The death of a king without benefit of a priest, and without a chamber full of witnesses would not have happened. Having his sons sitting round having a what is known in historical fiction reader circles as an 'As you know Bob' moment where the exposition is set out in unrealistic dialogue, while their dad chokes his last is unbelievable. And how on earth did Alice Perrers all on her own manage to put a suit of armour on an insensible man, a stroke victim and almost dead? I am glad I read on, but it was touch and go. There were a lot of historical errors and cobbling together throughout the novel, but I managed to suspend my disbelief. I wondered too why all the baddies had yellow teeth - such a cliche.
All in all a mostly enjoyable read, but as with all historical fiction, if you want the facts, best to check them in a non fiction book written by a reputable historian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wars of the roses, 20 Oct 2014
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magnificent first book about the wars of the roses, well the events leading up to them, the battles really begin in the second book - Trinity. l think the title refers to the three suns (a parhelion) a freak weather occurrence causing the sun to appear as three suns - this happened over one of the battlefields, and the superstitious Yorkist soldiers thought it meant they were doomed, but their leader, Edward Earl of March said he would take the sign as his badge and afterwards had the sign emblazoned on his standard, and his armour and the sign of his house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars will buy sequel. slightly disappointing contra all previous books ..., 1 Oct 2014
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will buy sequel.slightly disappointing contra all previous books by this man.who has inspired my youngest son , now 18,to be studying classics at university.
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Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1)
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) by Conn Iggulden (Hardcover - 10 Oct 2013)
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