Trinity by Conn Iggulden is the second book in his Wars of the Roses trilogy and it was published in 2014.
The date is 1454 and King Henry VI is still haunted by a mystery illness which has him in a vacant and sleepy state for months on end, unable to take any part in ruling of his kingdom. Inevitably this has led to those who are close to the throne casting their eyes in that direction. The actual heir to the throne is Henry’s small son and his mother Queen Margaret fears for the future, but she’s no shrinking violet and is determined to keep control of the realm while King Henry is out of commission. Men and families are taking sides, either supporting the King or Richard, Duke of York, who is supposedly the Protector of the Realm. Lancaster or York, which side are you on?
I really loved this one although there is a lot of fighting in it. I was particularly interested in the Battle of St Albans with soldiers crashing through houses and gardens to get to the enemy. It’s a place I haven’t been though and I wonder if they have interesting historical notes carved into the paving stones – as they do in Worcester where fighting went on within that town in a later time of English conflict.
I’m really looking forward to reading the last in this series.
Wars of the Roses – Stormbird by Conn Iggulden was first published in 2013 and it’s the first book in a trilogy. After really enjoying reading the author’s Dunstan I felt the need to go onto this series, luckily my local library had a copy on its shelves. The subject matter was something that I knew absolutely nothing about. It begins in 1437. King Henry VI is young and inexperienced, after years of there being a regency as he was too young he is now supposedly in charge. In reality he’s just about as far from being a warrior king like his father as is possible. He spends his time praying, obviously isn’t looking after his health, hardly sleeps and consequently is often ill both mentally and physically. His doctor seems determined to kill him with bleedings and purgatives. He’s desperate for a long peace with France but the territories in France that have been won in battles over the years are under threat from the French.
In an effort to keep the peace Henry decides to marry Margaret of Anjou, a very young daughter of the Duke of Anjou. Part of the secret deal brokered by his spymaster Derry Brewer and William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk is that Henry gives back some of his French territories including Anjou and Maine so they will be in French hands again. This infuriates the English men who had farmed the land for years and regarded it as their own. They still remember the men who had died in battle to gain the land. They’re thrown off the land by the French and often killed by French soldiers, the surviving refugees make for England to complain about their treatment. As they travel towards London the force grows ever larger and led by Jack Cade they storm the city.
Richard, Duke of York has ambition to usurp Henry, but Queen Margaret is determined to keep herself and her husband in power, despite his shortcomings. Margaret has to take over as Henry is unfit to rule.
I really liked this one. I knew next to nothing about this era of English history and I felt that I learned a lot, there’s a bibliography at the back so hopefully the history is mainly correct. I didn’t even realise that there was land in France called ‘Maine’ which is presumably where the state in America took its name from.
I’ll definitely be reading the next one in this trilogy.
Helen of She Reads Novels didn’t enjoy it as much as I did and you can read her view of the book here.
Dunstan by Conn Iggulden was published in 2017 and I was given my copy by a friend who had managed to buy it twice, it’s good to know that other people do that too!
The setting is 10th century England. The king is Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, but the book is Dunstan’s account of his life beginning with his first memories and going on to tell how he and his younger brother were taken to a monastery by their father and left there to get an education. The money paid over by their father is desperately needed by the religious order, but that doesn’t mean that they get special treatment by the brothers. It’s a rough and brutal upbringing, but Dunstan manages to impress the abbot and it’s believed by most in the religious community that Dunstan has been touched by an angel.
He has huge ambition and a love of learning, especially when it comes to architecture and construction and nothing is going to stop him from getting what he wants out of life – but that means he has to become a monk/priest which isn’t something that he’s really cut out for. On the other hand he does have a dislike of women and that ends up impacting on the lives of the other monks who had been allowed to marry in the early Christian Church. It doesn’t make him popular but as Dunstan is happy to sin grievously through his life, being a bit unpopular isn’t going to bother him.
Dunstan ended up being close to kings, seven of them in all and according to this book which appears to be well researched he was very much a flawed character, and that seems very likely to me.
This is a great read, my first by the author but not my last.
I’ve banned myself from the library – again, which is just as well as I seem to be hauling home new to me books almost on a weekly basis. Yep I was book-mugged again.
I couldn’t say no to another Blackie’s book, this time it was –
1. A Book of Stories from the Norse.
Yet another Blackie book, complete with dustjacket is
2.St Catherine’s College by Angela Brazil
Two British Library Crime Classics jumped out at me:
3. The Colour of Murder by Julian Symons – and
4. The Christmas Card Crime – a book of short stories which I’ll keep for next Christmas reading.
and lastly, I was given a book by a friend as it was a doubler, he hadn’t remembered that he already had this one (we’ve all been there I’m sure)
5. Dunstan by Conn Iggulden
I’ve never read anything by that author before. Have you read any of these books?