Stormbird by Conn Iggulden
Date read: 5th May 2018 – 8th May 2018
Page Count: 482
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback (Library)
Conn Iggulden is an author I’ve always heard a lot about, but never really read anything from. Even though I’ve had the fourth book in this series, Ravenspur, sitting on my bookshelf since 2016, I’ve never got around to reading it. So, when I saw the first three books in my local library, I decided to go for it.
This book was not as good as I expected it to be. It retells the story of the first five years of the Wars of the Roses, from Henry VI’s marriage to Margaret of Anjou in 1445 to Cade’s Rebellion in 1450. It’s an interesting story, nonetheless, but it does go into excruciating detail in some scenes. Short periods of time are strung out far too long.
But the interesting parts do just about pull through to create a compelling story. It’s well written, and engaging in most places (apart from the aforementioned dragging), and apart from the insertion of a few fictional characters, it’s working mainly with the cast of the 1400’s.
One of these fictional characters is Derry Brewer, the King’s spymaster, and we see most of the events of the novel through his eyes, or the eyes of the Earl (later Duke) of Suffolk, William de la Pole. He’s well written, but I don’t think he quite fits within the story – mainly because he’s an untitled man working so close to the King, which seems pretty unlikely.
Another small issue I did have with this was the characterisation of Richard Duke of York and his wife Cecily Neville. From the very beginning, they are completely villainised, even when written from the perspective of an omniscient narrator. I personally wouldn’t have chose to write them in this way, it ended up feeling a little like Iggulden was writing from the court of Henry VII and was terrified of upsetting his new King.
Hopefully, that’ll change in the next couple of novels – I’m interested in seeing how he writes the Duke of York’s son, Edward Earl of March, who I think comes into the story in the second book. I did give this book 3 stars overall, mainly because I was disappointed by it (sometimes hype doesn’t translate), but I am willing to give the rest of the books in the series a go.