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(Wars of the Roses #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  9,701 ratings  ·  933 reviews
King Henry V - the great Lion of England - is long dead.

In 1437, after years of regency, the pious and gentle Henry VI, the Lamb, comes of age and accedes to the English throne. His poor health and frailty of mind render him a weakling king -Henry depends on his closest men, Spymaster Derry Brewer and William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, to run his kingdom.

Yet there are th
Hardcover, 482 pages
Published October 10th 2013 by Michael Joseph
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Adam Lawrence Hi, Raghu! If you haven't already started it anyway, I'd say... go for it! No, you really don't need any background knowledge because a lot of the…moreHi, Raghu! If you haven't already started it anyway, I'd say... go for it! No, you really don't need any background knowledge because a lot of the book centres around Derry Brewer, who is completely fictitious. This is Iggulden's way of "filling in the blanks": he creates an intriguing character to guide the reader through the 15th century Britain.

I often check wikipedia AFTER reading a historical fiction novel as then it all makes much more sense to me! Personally, I think fiction does a much better job of making history memorable than most "dry history" books do!(less)
Greg The series is very close to being historically accurate. Iggulden always has a section at the end where he explains which parts are facts and where he…moreThe series is very close to being historically accurate. Iggulden always has a section at the end where he explains which parts are facts and where he needed to add fiction. But overall, the characters and events are very real and it is another great read from this author.(less)

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3.88  · 
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Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, medieval
Oh, no! Just what I need - another book about War of the Roses - the scheming duke, the crazy king, the French she-wolf queen.

This is not one of those.
In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find tropes for these characters, to put them in boxes.
Richard of York is sly and cunning and fierce and angry - who wouldn't be, seeing the state of his once-proud homeland?
Henry VI has misplaced his marbles, but who wouldn't, a victim of ages old, but no more just for it, rule of primogeniture, constantly com
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think the style of Iggulden’s writing made this novel what it is. He shows us each character’s situation in a manner that suggests that there is no right or wrong. Both sides of the war had a reason to fight, and the author’s portrays this is a completely neutral manner; thus, he leaves it up to the reader to decide if they follow the white rose or the red rose into battle, and the nest of court politics. Personally, I was rooting for the house of York. Duke Richard only wanted what was best f ...more
Dana Ilie
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you like Historical Fiction, Conn Iggulden is your man.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
While this novel is purported to be about the Wars of the Roses, Mr. Iggulden has set it in the time of the fall of the English Kingdom of France in the late 1440s and the civil unrest that followed. That said he introduces many of the real life characters that rose to prominence during those wars. They include Richard of York, descended on both sides from Edward III and father of the later Yorkist Kings, the reigning King - Henry VI and his wife Margret of Anjou, and the Neville family – includ ...more
Alice Poon
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it

This is the first novel in the “War of the Roses” series by Conn Iggulden.

The author skillfully weaves the bodacious actions of two main fictitious characters (Derry Brewer, the King’s spymaster, and Thomas Woodchurch, a commoner living in Maine, France) with some pivotal historical events that took place under the reign of Henry VI of England.

Part One deals with Derry Brewer’s political machinations initiated on Henry’s behalf with the aim of bringing about a lasting truce with France. He thro
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lancaster / York - A Game of Roses

Setting / Time / Genre: 15th Century England and France

Length: 507 pages of throwing down the historical mike

Series: Yes. Two more re the War of the Roses - all you Game of Thrones people, take note. There's some history here you should be knowing.

Sexy times: Not that kind of book. So that would be a no. I mean sex happens because we are talking kings and kingly lineages and how screwed up things got...but please.

Plan on reading more by the author: Yup. I lov
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
E. P. I. C. In every sense. Awesome battles, great plot and near accurate history. Conn Iggulden gave a great story on the War of Roses. I couldn't stop once I started to turn the pages.

The story is of the historical war between two noble houses of England . The House of Lancaster and the House of York. The famous rift that was known as the War of Roses. Which in turn inspired the very famous George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

England was ruled by the once fierce warrior king, Edward
Jul 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This is my first venture into Iggulden territory. I've avoided his writing before as I've tended to associate him with “books for boys” - an association which was reaffirmed with the publication of The Dangerous Book for Boys which he co-wrote with his brother Hal. However, Stormbird attracted me as I find the War of the Roses a particularly intriguing historical period peopled with really engaging characters.

Having now read the novel, I can confirm it is a book for boys, filled with derring-do,
Oct 08, 2018 marked it as to-read
A book about the War of Roses 🥀??
Where family is against family?

Sign me in.
The book is readable and very easy to get into because of the fluid pace and style, but lacks substance. It's a "light" type of plotting that doesn't care much for accuracy nor invests much in characterisation.

It had a curious, and irritating, authorial choice related to addressing lords in a way that wasn't the fashion back then, like calling Richard, Duke of York simply "Lord York," or "Lord Suffolk" for William, Duke of Suffolk. It'd be easy to overlook, but Iggulden continues with the misnom
Yeah..... Well it's like this.....Hmmmmm...... What to make of it really is the fact of the matter.

For one, if you should accept this challenge (War of the Roses) then you're in it for the longhaul as this book jus stops. no cliffhangers here! I found it started very well & the opening exchanges between the factions were entertaining & incitefull as to the period & the beginnings of the War of the Roses & then well..... it got a little disjointed as no sooner you were warming to
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
I rushed right through Stormbird in a day.

Appreciated a lot about the book. There are extensive historical notes and family trees. All interesting and helpful. Good characters were to be found in Margaret of Anjou, Thomas Woodchurch, Derry Brewer & Lord Suffolk. The POV from the Frenchmen was well done. Nice to have more than one side of things.

Still ended up with only a 2 star from me. Parts of the story felt too slow. Especially the section about the marriage of Margaret and Henry. The n
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
As my first Iggulden book, I had high expectations. Perhaps I have been spoilt by the likes of Bernard Cornwall. The period itself is fascinating, which is why I chose it. The intrigue, the back room deals, the kings illness, the rebellion. It was such a tumultuous time for England! There were some standout characters: Derry, Margaret and Suffolk, were probably my favourites. I think for me, not having a thorough knowledge of this period, perhaps I wanted more detail about the characters and why ...more
Deborah Pickstone
Finally, I settled to read some Conn Iggulden - best seller of HF, UK writer so shouldn't get too annoyed by the vernacular (as can happen when glaring misnomens happen). Experienced writer so new series beginning should be at the top of his powers.

Absolutely dreadful.

Including the misnomen issue. Lord York? Tut.

Characterisation = caricature or possibly cartoon. Gratuitous violence and torture. Pointless side stories.

Drat! Such promising material too! And reading the author's note, well-research
Cora Tea Party Princess
This is not a full review - this review pertains only to the 5-chapter sample won via Goodreads First Reads.

I'm a sucker for historical novels, and this is a good start. I could picture everything perfectly, I could feel the chill in the air.

The most poignant moment in those five chapters was definitely the deathbed scene in that first chapter. I felt really sorry for Alice, the way his sons disregarded her despite her obvious love for the king.

I've applied for the full book, and hope I get it.
Mark Harrison
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Very good start to a series of Britain's own Game of Thrones. Lots of factions plotting the downfall of King Henry VI. He has an idiot spymaster whose plans are so stupid you would not believe leading to revolution in France and at home. Liked Suffolk and the 14.year old Margaret of Anjou who is the only clear thinker in the monarchy. Promising start to four book series.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and can’t wait till I get the second book in the series ☺ ...more
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is Iggulden at his finest. Notably his best book yet!

One thing I took from his previous two series, the Caesar led Emperor novels and the Mongol centred saga, was that his style felt very grand, detailed and rich in detail yet somehow a little detached from the action. By that I mean, although there was elements of getting inside key characters minds, by and large it felt as if it were written by an observer, or an outsider rather than someone palpably in the middle of the action.

This first
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
An exciting new historical novel which brings the past vividly to life, in all its bloodthirsty glory.

Stormbird is the thrilling new novel by bestselling, accomplished author Conn Iggulden (author of Caesar and Genghis Khan Series). Refreshingly original and compelling the extraordinary ‘war of the roses’ is captured accurately on the page, transforming historical fact into a fictional masterpiece. Colorful, vibrant and atmospheric I was greatly impressed by how Iggulden gets to the core of the
Tony Riches
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Conn Iggulden was interviewed by Mariella Frostrup for the BBC programme 'Open Book' recently and said, "The wonderful thing about historical fiction is it has to entertain and inform." Stormbird is the first in his new series about the Ward of the Roses and certainly achieves both.
I've read quite a few books about this period but this the first to explore what it must have been like for the English settlers who suddenly found their lands in France had been given back to the French. Conn keeps
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Supremely enjoyable first installment with enough blending of fact and fiction, historical characters and Iggulden's own creations, to prevent the story getting bogged down in over-familiar historical trudgery. How many times can you read the same story about the same people? <= the main flaw of Philippa Gregory's WOTR series IMO

He's not afraid to have real people kick up some high-flying dramatic fuss, condense timelines, or ignore facts that would drag down pacing or inflate the cast to rid
B the BookAddict
Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it

Not a proper review, just a few comments.

I found the book to be vaguely unsatisfying. It has a long list of characters with lots of names I did not know. Iggulden doesn't specify which are real and which are fictional which is a huge shame. Quite a few gory descriptions of battle and torture which I could have done without. At very few intervals, he heads a chapter with a date specification so sometimes it's unclear just when things are happening. Overall, the book feels very much like a Fictio
Apr 03, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF. Too blokey for me. Shouldn't have been a surprise - a bloke writing about blokey things - but it needed a few more women in swishy frocks to unbloke the blokeyness.

Ah well, blokey is as blokey does.
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
A good historical novel that explains how the War of the Roses began. A bit lengthy and slow in parts but impressed with the telling of the various timelines and bringing them together.
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story begins in 1437, with Henry VI, coming of age ascending to the English throne. This is the first book in the trilogy series and is a whopper of a read. The author cleverly entwines fact and fiction.
This feels very much like a block buster in the same genre as Ken Follet.
The author really has captured this turbulent period in history and this urges the reader to read more about the actual history of this period.
The Wars of the Roses was a series of dynastic wars fought between supporter
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is my first encounter with Conn Iggulden's writing and it certainly won't be the last. I found Iggulden's fictionalised narrative of the events leading up to the War of the Roses both enthralling and exciting.

Stormbird holds a wealth of realistic characters, from the brave Engligh archer Thomas Woodchurch, the conniving but likeable Derry Brewer and the emerging strength of character of the new English queen Iggulden handles them all well, creating a believable cast filled with opposing and
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Conn Iggulden sheds light on a turbulent period of English history with a very readable work on the origins of one of the biggest power struggles in the history of the crown by focusing on the lesser characters and using their stories to illuminate the growing struggle between the descendents of Edward III.

Rather than telling the story from the viewpoint of either Henry VI or Richard, Duke of York, as most historical fiction seems to do, Iggulden focuses on the minor characters, showing their f
Ivie ✩Born to Magic-Forced to Muggle✩
I remember my first novel by Conn Iggulden donkeys years ago. The first of the Emperor series, and I must admit I didn't know who he was. I loved Roman history so anything on Caesar would be good. My flight was long and nothing else seemed as tempting. By the time I landed, I knew the author to be brilliant writer and promptly bought the rest of the series while I was still at the airport.

History made Caesar into a great man. Conn Iggulden made him into a hero. I did not want the series to end.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1437 Henry VI takes the English throne. He has poor health and a frail mind and depends on his men to run his kingdom. Some believe England needs a strong king, the English territories in France are under threat and revolts are rumoured to happen at home. Henry marries Margaret of Anjou and the fears that Henry and his advisers will see the country slide into ruin. Who can save the kingdom.

The prologue sets the scene nicely and there is good background information all the way through
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read novels about the War of the Roses before, but never like this one – with so much detail. In this first novel of the series, Conn Iggulden drills down deep into the history of this war, bring forward details about how it began and why. What makes this book so successful is that the author has time to develop each character, bringing their motivations and issues to the forefront.

It is the story of King Henry VI, a man plagued by frailness and a strange illness that renders him mute. His
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Also publishes under author name C.F. Iggulden.

I was born in the normal way in 1971, and vaguely remember half-pennies and sixpences. I have written for as long as I can remember: poetry, short stories and novels. It’s what I always wanted to do and read English at London University with writing in mind. I taught English for seven years and was Head of English at St. Gregory’s RC High School in Lo

Other books in the series

Wars of the Roses (4 books)
  • Trinity (Wars of the Roses, #2)
  • Bloodline (Wars of the Roses, #3)
  • Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors (The Wars of the Roses, #4)
“No congratulations?’ Derry said cheerfully. ‘No “well done, Derry”? I am disappointed in you, William Pole. There’s not many men could have pulled this off in such a time, but I have, haven’t I? The French looked for foxes and found only innocent chickens, just like we wanted. The marriage will go ahead and all we need to do now is mention casually to the English living in Maine and Anjou that their service is no longer appreciated by the Crown. In short, that they can fuck off.” 3 likes
“Keep a line of retreat,’ Warwick ordered. To his disgust, his voice trembled and he cleared his throat loudly before going on with his orders.
‘They are traitors all. We go in, kill as many as we can in the surprise, then pull back into …’
He looked around, seeing a small wooden signpost. He leaned closer to read it and for an instant raised his eyes to heaven. ‘Back into Shiteburn Lane.’

It helped to explain what he had sunk ankle-deep into, at least. He spent a moment longing for wooden overshoes to raise him up above the slop, though he could hardly have fought in those. His boots would just have to be burned afterwards.”
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