Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou by Conn Iggulden

Reviewed by Keith McCoy, Somerset County Library System
Originally Submitted to Library Journal

The second installment of this retelling of the 15th century struggle for the English throne does not have the Queen front and center, but she is behind everything that happens.  Margaret schemes and plots to take the royal power back from the Duke of York, Henry VI’s cousin and competitor for the crown, as her husband lies abed, incapacitated by his mental illness.  Covering just six years of the half century that saw four men and a boy become king on seven occasions, this is the tale of Henry’s recovery and relapse, York’s rises and falls, and the family feuds which colored each move by Queen and Duke.  There is less derring-do from master spy Derry Brewer this time, but the politicking and conniving are worthy of a Washington potboiler.  The battle scenes turn on the flick of a decision, adding to the excitement of this twisting chapter in English history.

Verdict:  Royal watchers, history buffs, and those who love their war stories will be marching alongside the author as he illuminates the ups and downs of royal control in that uncertain era.