The fourth and final instalment of Conn Iggulden’s Wars of the Roses quartet focuses on the demise of the Plantagenet dynasty and the somewhat surprising success of the Tudors.
As I was reading at times it felt like Conn Iggulden was running out of steam, or enthusiasm, but having read the Epilogue I wonder if it’s more the unfathomable shift in Richard of York’s behaviour – from supportive younger brother and trusted second in command to Edward IV, to usurper and murderer of his two young nephews – whether by his hand or by another’s, his power-grab to take the throne, and as King rather than as Protector, sealed their fate.
Fascinating too to approach the rise of the Tudors from the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses: vast lands in France lost then thirty years of civil war, battles between ancient houses, leading families wiped out and Kings captured and killed. There had been nothing like it in living memory.
And Henry Tudor’s claim? In most other eras, it would have been too feeble to stand a chance: through his mother, Margaret Beaufort (remarried to Lord Thomas Stanley, which at last explains to me why he, by then Lord High Constable of England, didn’t act in Richard’s interests at the Battle of Bosworth), only child of John, 1st Duke of Somerset, the elder son of John, 1st Earl of Somerset, the younger brother of Henry IV and second son of John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III. But after those thirty years of death and destruction, a remote possibility proved to be a panacea for all that had gone before.
Publisher page: Ravenspur – Conn Iggulden
Series: Wars of the Roses, book 4.