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VINE VOICEon 14 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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on 28 August 2015
Another excellent book by Conn Iguldon. Loved the Emperor and Conqueror series and this one is every bit as absorbing and engrossing
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VINE VOICEon 10 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's good to see that Conn Iggulden has turned at last to British history and in choosing the Wars of the Roses he has a veritable treasury of intrigue, deceit, downright nastiness and battles to last several volumes. It's a wise choice! And this is a measured beginning, taking its main theme as the weakness of Henry VI which probably more than anything resulted in the anarchy that was to follow for some forty years. It's interesting that with the troubles largely caused by power-hungry nobles squabbling amongst themselves that Iggulden gives much space to the Kentish rebellion of Jack Cade who represented ordinary people who had to bear the brunt of the policies of their so-called betters. Some interesting characters here too and it's not too difficult to work out where the author's sympathies lie - certainly with the unfortunate Suffolk and certainly not with the up-and-coming Nevilles. I also detect a quiet admiration for the young Margaret of Anjou who comes across as gritty but likeable.
About half way through, Richard of York's wife gives birth to a baby who would later be found in a Leicester car park and near the end the words 'Tudor' and 'Wales' are mentioned. No prices for guessing where they'll all come together!
There's huge promise here. Iggulden's many fans will not be disappointed.
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on 14 October 2013
I am fascinated by The Wars of the Roses and love good historical fiction. After reading the many 5 star reviews I really looked forward to a historical treat, but was utterly disappointed. If you like a boy's own style adventure story then this is probably for you. I prefer characterisation, historic detail and atmosphere. This could have been set almost in any time and for me it just felt too modern. None of the characters came alive, none of them had any appeal or interest. Too much grisly detail of torture and one of the worst sex scenes I've ever read. The ludicrous prologue made a bad first impression, but I managed to last until the start of Part III. After ploughing through most of the book I simply don't understand why it gets so many good reviews. I'm in a minority of one I guess. A disappointing waste of money and I bought it in hardback! For history of this period I'd recommend Alison Weir and for fiction Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. Not this simplistic romp. It just makes me appreciate even more the beautiful writing and absolute skill of Hilary Mantel.
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on 28 February 2016
*ETA: I have now found the missing content. You have to go to the blank pages where the maps/family trees should be, then zoom in to reveal the images. Kind of annoying but at least now I can read the book.*

I haven't read this yet because my Kindle edition is missing important maps and family trees that ought to be at the start of the book. I can see the map of London, but not the other two. The royal lineages are also missing.
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on 4 May 2014
I love Conn Iggulden's books; I enjoyed Emperor and Conqueror immensely. This subject is potentially of even more interest to us Brits, but it was difficult to discern a central 'character' as in the other series, unless it was Margaret, who was I expect the 'Stormbird' of the title. The book, while well written and researched, had the feel of a very long prologue to ensuing events, so I await the next volume with interest but without the sense of serialisation and personal involvement that the author managed to create in his earlier works, without which it reads more like a history book than a historical novel.
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on 2 October 2014
If you like Conn Iggulden books ( as I certainly do ) you come to expect a certain style and Mr Iggulden certainly doesn't disappoint with this series on the Wars of the Roses. The book allows us to understand the main families their allegiances and their betrayals. The colourful ficticious Mr Derihew Brewer pops up throughout the two books and his character is used to good effect gaining the credit for momentous events. I managed to read Stormbird book 1 and Trinity book 2 in three days on holiday. Book 3 soon Mr Iggulden please
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Without doubt Conn Iggulden is the current king of historical fiction. His new book Stormbird is a working of the War of the Roses. In its favour it starts further back than most others with the death of Edward III, before moving on to the much interrupted reign of Henry VI. As a work of fiction it has some very strong points in it's favour, with only one obviously fictional character, it can weave a plausible narrative around, mostly, established facts. Although painting Richard Duke of York as all black with no grey is a little heavy handed. Queen Margaret of Anjou comes across as a strong resourceful character caught in a situation she never expected, and emerges, as recent historical documents suggest, as a forceful and full rounded person. Where there is a weakness is that the history has been compressed, and events, whilst following the known facts are presented as having happened too quickly. There really were long periods in medieval history where "nothing happened". This is perhaps not the fault of Iggulden as a writer, but merely a need to keep the "celebrities" in view. The story of Jack Cade, whilst enlightening, does perhaps need expanding, but as so little is known of him this becomes almost an obstacle rather than a license to expand beyond the "names". I did enjoy the book, but for the next volume maybe a little less emphasis on who, more on why.
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on 3 November 2014
A pity the author spent so much time on researching so much about warfare and violence of the 15th centuryand less on the more important details about the period. For example, did men wear trousers with leather belts, would they have drunk beer rather than ale and would Margaret have worn a white dress and veil to her wedding? I am also at a loss to understand how Margaret was able to stop herself from fainting. When you've got to go....
I found it dreary and badly constructed with characters that were lacking in depth and credibility.
Definitely not a page turner for me.
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on 6 June 2014
I enjoyed the Conqueror series, so was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, now over three-quarters of the way through Stormbird, I just cannot be bothered to finish it. Put simply, the book is boring. Too many characters, too many plot lines and no obvious hero. As others have pointed out, it's not very accurate on the history either. Very disappointing effort from a writer I have previously enjoyed. I couldn't recommend it to anyone.
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