‘Stormbird’ is the first book in Conn Iggulden’s series about the War of the Roses in 15th century England. This book describes many of the events that led to the conflict between the House of Lancaster and the House of York all the way back to 1377 with the death of King Edward III. The descendants of his three sons eventually fought for the throne of England.
King Henry V was a strong king who won many battles in France and gained a lot of territory for England. His son Henry VI is feeble in both mind and body and just wants peace. He gives away most of England’s French territory in a treaty which also gives him Margaret of Anjou as his wife.
This novel tells the story from several points of view.
Derry Brewer is the king’s spymaster and general fixer. He comes across as a loyal man who really wanted to do the right thing. But, maybe his schemes weren’t always thought through.
Margaret of Anjou is first seen as a 14 year old girl playing in her family’s castle. She is sent to marry a king who she has never met and is forced to gain the strength that her lamb of a husband lacks.
William De La Pole, the Duke of Suffolk is a strong supporter of the king but easily manipulated. He is loyal even to the risk of his own life.
Richard, Duke of York wants England led by a strong king and sees himself as the obvious candidate. He is horrified by the loss of territory in France.
Thomas Woodchurch is an ex-archer (he fought with Brewer) who has settled in Maine (part of France). He refuses to give up his land without a fight.
Jack Cade once fought with Woodchurch and Brewer. He is extremely bitter against anyone in authority. He leads a rebellion of Kentish men.
All of these characters have a credible story to tell and all are well justified in their actions.
I found myself disliking the Yorks and Nevilles in this book and leaning in favour of the House of Lancaster, but that may easily change in the next book in the series.
The story was beautifully told through the lives of the characters (some historic and some fictional) and Iggulden did a brilliant job in bringing this part of history to life and justifying actions which may now seem unjustifiable. I can’t wait to read the remaining two book in the series – ‘Trinity’ and ‘Bloodline’.
Book Published 2013