‘Wars of the Roses: Trinity’ by Conn Iggulden

9780718196394

1454- England is on the brink of Civil War…
As ailing King Henry VI lies senseless, Richard, Duke of York and Protector of the Realm, asserts his own claim to the throne. All who support Henry and Queen Margaret must be silenced.
While Queen Margaret struggles to defeat Richard’s conspiracy, supporters of the rival houses of Lancaster and York clash, throwing the country into turmoil.
Who will win the fight for the throne?
And what will each side sacrifice in the name of England?

 ‘Trinity’ begins where ‘Stormbird’ left off, with Richard of York as the Lord Protector of England, King in all but name, and the real King, Henry VI, lying senseless in a castle. But all this changes when Christmas comes around and a holiday miracle restores the King to his senses. For the first time, Henry gains full control and shows promise of becoming the man men like Derry Brewer had always hoped he would become. And the Kings first actions? To take back control of his country from York and Salisbury and make sure that no man in England ever presumes to challenge the natural order by attempting to put himself above his King again. But if Henry wants to control England, then he will have to fight for it as York, Warwick and Salisbury ready their armies to march upon St Albans where Henry and his most loyal Lords are residing for a short time. York seeks to free the King from those traitorous Lords who whisper false poison into the ears of the King while Salisbury decides to use this unique opportunity to rid himself of the Lord’s Somerset and Northumberland, who wish to stand between the Nevilles and the power they so dearly crave.

Once again, Conn Iggulden manages to brilliantly evoke a fantastic world of medieval England, Knights and battles with perfect clarity. There is never any sense that the author is doing anything other than invoking the past which is essential for historic fiction. As a reader, you never wonder for a second ifany of this might not have happened. I particularly loved the battle at St Alban, not just because it shows Iggulden at his best and rivals the revolution of Jack Cade for wartime imagery but also because for me that is when the characters flourish best.

Yorks continual struggle with his arrogant need to be the most powerful man in the country and to assure his line, house and name are protected comes head to head with his natural loyalty to Henry as his monarch and God’s representative on Earth. The scenes where he rejects Salisbury’s continual suggestions that to take Henry out of the way and have himself crowned would make his life far easier and the internal arguments this viewpoint causes are incredibly interesting and give the character a fascinating new depth. In this second installment, York is no longer the snide villain from the shadows but is instead a powerful man with a great many flaws but also a strong moral compass. His first priority is to guarantee his King’s safety and he even allows Salisbury free reign in his relief. He doesn’t care what happens after he’s got Henry, as long as he lives.

Some of my favourite characters in the book are Lord Warwick, Derry Brewer and Thomas Percy (Egremont). I’m not really sure why I love Warwick that much, I just think he’s a truly brilliant character. Perhaps I agree with Margaret, that he’s only following his loyalty to his father and uncle and as his title is included in her bill of attainder he is forced into a path that he would not necessarily have chosen for himself. Brewer is of course an ingenious character who manages to survive again and again in increasingly horrendous odds. And Egremont just seems to me to be Warwick on the other side of the fight, a son who wants to prove himself to his father who’s loyalty has already been decided for him.

I really did adore this book, mostly because I find the history of it so fascinating.I especially loved the short story at the end, featuring Thomas Woodchurch and Derry Brewer. I missed Thomas when reading the book and it was nice to have an update on how he was doing. Although, I have to say, I wasn’t a big fan of the ending and I think Margaret’s biggest mistake was executing Salisbury and York as it gave Edward and Warwick nothing less to lose. But, I suppose it’s true what they say, hindsight is a bitch.

5-stars

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