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 those, such as the Plantagenet Richard, Duke of York, who believe England must be led by a strong king if she is to survive. With England’s territories in France under threat, and rumours of revolt at home, fears grow that Henry and his advisers will see the country slide into ruin. With a secret deal struck for Henry to marry a young French noblewoman, Margaret of Anjou, those fears become all too real.
As storm clouds gather over England, King Henry and his supporters find themselves besieged abroad and at home. Who or what can save the kingdom before it is too late?
[Bowls of dark royal blood lay beneath the bed, forgotten by the physician.]
(Penguin Books, 24 April 2014, borrowed from my library)
This is my first time reading the author.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it engrossing.
The characters are well written and not exactly what I was expecting. Richard of York tends to be portrayed as a scheming villain, Henry VI as crazy and Queen Margaret as a she-wolf. The characters are much more rounded, sympathetic and human than I was expecting.
I liked Margaret the most and enjoyed reading about her as a child and the circumstances that led her to become Henry’s wife.
Stormbird has a complex structure, with chapters told from the viewpoint of different characters. This structure reminds me a lot of the Game of Thrones books. I loved the twists and turns, the well written fight scenes and the historical accuracy.
One of things that struck me is that the author uses a neutral tone throughout the novel, making it clear there is no clear-cut right or wrong and allowing the reader room to make up their own mind whether they follow the white rose or red rose into battle.
Stormbird is epic and I look forward to reading the other two books in the series.