It’s taken me a long time to read War of the Roses: Stormbird and it’s been abandoned many times for other books. A fictionalised account of the early years of Henry VI’s reign, I think I originally picked it up because I was feeling a Game of Thrones shaped hole in my life. Yes I knew there wouldn’t be any dragons in it but I wanted some brave knights and feuding families and yep Stormbird does have that. However I was put off by the opening scene where two characters stand around telling each other things that of course they know about but we, as the reader needed to be filled in and it just seemed so obvious, it put me off the book from the first few pages. And despite that obvious signposting of the back history, I still had problems remembering who was who, although that was probably more due to the many long breaks I had in reading it.
It did however pick up in the last third and I liked the character of Derry Brewer, the King’s spymaster, throughout (I was disappointed to find out that he was a completely fictional character). As always I read for many reasons and one of those reasons is too learn as I read and reading Stormbird (which Iggulden does admit in the notes afterwards, is not entirely accurate) I did learn about the French attitude to the English archers and the benefits the archers brought to the battlefield and I learnt a lot more about Jack Cade’s rebellion, both things I found fascinating.
*** (out of 5)