“Capturing the violence and romance of medieval life, Iggulden makes real those grand characters who live in the collective memory. A page-turner sure to have readers eager for the next in the series.”
The first book in #1 New York Times–bestselling author Conn Iggulden’s brilliant new historical series about two families who plunged England into a devastating, decades-long civil war.
In 1437, the Lancaster king Henry VI ascends the throne of England after years of semi-peaceful regency. Named “The Lamb,” Henry is famed more for his gentle and pious nature than his father’s famous battlefield exploits; already, his dependence on his closest men has stirred whispers of weakness at court.
A secret truce negotiated with France to trade British territories for a royal bride—Margaret of Anjou—sparks revolts across English territory. The rival royal line, the House of York, sees the chaos brought on by Henry’s weakness and with it not only opportunity in the monarch, but also their patriotic duty in ousting an ineffectual king. As storm clouds gather over England, King Henry and his supporters find themselves besieged abroad and at home. Who or what can save the kingdom before it is too late?
Iggulden's (The Emperor Series) latest exploration of the past hearkens back to 1443 during a transitional time for England. King Henry VI is nicknamed "The Lamb" because he is known more for his prayers than fortitude, and his advisors fret the French might realize Henry doesn't have the backbone that his father had and could launch an attack. Derihew "Derry" Brewer a close advisor, devises a plan to marry the King to a young, elite French woman to bring about a peace treaty, despite losing land in the process and angering the English, who had fought for it years before. The King's intended, 14-year-old Margaret of Anjou turns out to be a strong woman. As she settles into her new role, a rebellion is led by the outraged English against France's King Charles, dissolving peace between the countries. Henry's throne and the country is thrown into peril with threats from all directions. Iggulden's meticulous research brings history to life, especially with Margaret, showing how a mere child can be transformed into a determined royal.
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The start of another great historical fiction series. While not as compelling as ghengis khan or Julius Caesar I found the book engrossing and I look forward to the next installment.
It's been awhile since delving into historical fiction, but as a stout follower of Sharon Kay Penman, I found this book to be very well written. Even if you know the overall storyline of the this era, Iggulden makes you feel like it is all new again. Lots of unexpected twists and turns, the foreshadowing is deceiving, and I found myself cheering for the characters I wouldn't have anticipated.