The Red Queen: Margaret of Anjou and the Wars of the Roses
This self-published novel is one of the books that we might have, unfortunately, missed had Perot been forced to try to find an agent and a publisher. It covers the years from 1444-1475, during the reign of Henry VI, the indecisive, humanistic, unwarlike king who ruled during a time of great upheaval and political intrigue. As we watch Henry slowly lose his grip on sanity, and allegiances shift back and forth between the Yorks and Lancasters, we are able to see the cleverness, political savvy and downright gutsiness of Margaret, the French maiden who came to England as Henry’s wife and perhaps, became more English than the English themselves.
The pity of it, of course, is that her own son was denied the throne of England, and that this unachievable goal became Margaret’s sole obsession. That Margaret is self-exiled to France, where she dies in virtual obscurity and poverty, is even more pitiful.
Perot captures the very essence of the political turmoil of the Wars of the Roses in the characters of Margaret, her friends and her foes, of whom there were increasingly many. The ineluctability of fortune’s wheel is a paradigm of the day and Margaret and Henry, once at the top of that wheel, are crushed by its downward turn. Perot does a marvelous job of making Margaret a compelling, sympathetic and fascinating character. A highly recommended read!