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(Wars of the Roses #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  13,573 ratings  ·  1,185 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 boo…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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Sean Barrs
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
Al George
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
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
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
Clemens Schoonderwoert
Nov 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Read this book in 2013, and its the 1st volume of the "Wars Of The Roses" series.

King Henry, the Lion of England is long dead, and his son Henry VI coming of age and taking the throne in AD 1437.

Although very frail in body and mind, he will seek for supporters to help him rule his Kingdom.

On the hand there's, Richard, Duke of York, starkly opposed to this weak King, and he will start spreading unrest and rebellion at home, in an attempt to destabilise his King.

In the meantime young King Henry VI
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 a thread/charact
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
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,
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
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 negot
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
An interesting start with only a little of the bloody politics to come....

review to follow
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
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
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
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. ...more
Berengaria di Rossi
English title: Stormbird (War of the Roses 1)
2.5 disappointed stars: a mediocre rating for a mediocre novel.

Alright, why do I say mediocre?

1) really, really bad pacing
Normally in traditionally told narratives (which this is), summary follows scene. That is, the in depth "feel like you're there" bits are glued together with breather space bits of things like a character's opinion of the previous scene or a revisiting of the stakes/story up to that point. Give time for the imagination to process
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 ☺️
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
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 ridicu
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
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
James 'Eagle'
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Stormbird: An Opinionated View of History.

When I look back at history and the figures instrumental in making events worthy of record, I like to have an unbiased view. I mean really, can any of us truly judge those living in a completely different culture, society, and time to what we live in now? And how can any of us purport to be able to know what individuals were thinking of and planning six centuries ago? We obviously cannot.

I know that historical fiction is exactly that: fiction. And the e
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book so much and learned more about the start of the war of roses, a weak king can't succeed and expect loyalty, because people will try to depose him, and because of that, this war between different members of the royal family begins, cousin against cousin, in order to obtain and keep the throne.... ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Conn Iggulden is a good writer, and that is all there is to it! In STORMBIRD he writes a realistic and easy to understand account of the end of the Hundred Years War and the start of the Wars of the Roses. The English who were dispossessed of their property in France were rightfully furious with Henry VI who gave up claim to that property in exchange for a truce and a bride, Margaret of Anjou. The author skillfully and plainly wrote how both common people and those close to the throne were affec ...more
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.
Lois is recovering slowly
3.5 stars rounded up
I found this slow in places but extremely interesting.
Benjamin Thomas
Having tackled the historical accounts of Julius Caesar as well as the Khan dynasty, Conn Iggulden has turned to his own British roots with The War of the Roses, perhaps the bloodiest 30 year span in all of English history. This first volume in a projected trilogy covers the time frame in the 15th century when King Henry VI comes of age, through the Cade Rebellion.

Going into this novel, I was expecting it to be heavy on the political intrigue and power struggles at the root of the conflict. Aft
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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)
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  • Bloodline
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Horror fiction, as a genre, can be fascinating to track over time. The scary stories that we tell ourselves often reflect the anxieties we’re...
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“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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