48 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Good page Turner, dodgy history.,
This review is from: Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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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Initial post: 14 Oct 2013 16:15:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013 16:30:51 BDT
I'm relieved to agree with you after all those glowing 5 star reviews. Like you said, the prologue is just laughable and I almost gave up at 'they walked out into the June sunshine and the rest of their lives'. The book feels too modern and colloquial for me. It's not a bad book, but Iggulden is no Mantel and Sharon Penman's 'Sunne in Splendour' is infinitely much better, in my opinion anyway.
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