‘Bloodline’ is the 3rd novel in Conn Iggulden’s War of the Roses series and covers the period from 1460 to 1469.
At the end of the previous novel ‘Trinity/Margaret of Anjou’, the Lancaster side, mostly led by Henry VI’s wife Margaret of Anjou, executed three of the most powerful men of the York side, Richard Duke of York, Edmund Earl of Rutland, and Richard Earl of Salisbury. But instead of this being the great victory they had hoped for, it served to unleash the sons – Edward Duke of York and Richard Earl of Warwick, along with their brothers. So even when King Henry VI is released from captivity things don’t go well.
In working their way back to London, the Lancaster army along with their contingent of ‘Scottish savages’ leave a trail of destruction. The people of London bar the gates in fear causing the Lancaster army to flee into exile.
The York side fares much better and takes the capital enabling them to declare Edward the new king.
Both sides regroup for the battle of Towton near York. This was a huge battle with massive loss of life and was conclusively worn by Edward IV and the York army.
But once in power, things go less smoothly for Edward. He marries Elizabeth Woodville. She is a manipulative woman, intent on building up her own family at the expense of the Neville family. As Warwick finds his family being stripped of the rewards they gained for placing Edward in power, he fights back. But unfortunately Warwick can’t fight the power of a popular king and he ends up in exile in France.
The story was brilliantly told by Iggulden with an excellent balance of battle and politics. The telling of the story sympathised with Warwick, while Elizabeth Woodville was cast in as bad a light as possible. Edward was young and headstrong and no match for his wife.
But this is obviously not the end of the tale and I can’t wait to read the next instalment – ‘Ravenspur- Rise of the Tudors’.
Book Published 2015