Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors

Written by Conn Iggulden
Review by Viviane Crystal

The year 1470 is when the cycles of war and change between England’s Houses of York and Lancaster begin anew. Henry VI of Lancaster is mad and weak, cognizant only of his excessive religious needs. His wife, Margaret of Anjou, flanked by Warwick, Derry Brewer the spy, and other nobles, are initially defeated in battle by Edward and Richard of York. The latter will reign for years before the tides shift and the Tudors will again fight for and win the power to rule England.

The historical story will be familiar to many readers, but what Iggulden depicts in this novel is a fascinating tale about how the leading characters handle loss and victory, loyalty and betrayal, war and peace, and so much more. Warwick may be an expert in political machinations, but he is shown to be a weak strategist in war and extremely unwise when King Edward refuses to give him more power, which he believes he deserves.  King Edward, on the other hand, is a true warrior but unsure, as well as bored, about how to rule; however, he is saved from these details by his ever-present brother, Richard of Gloucester.  Richard, in this version of the Tudor wars, is cold, calculating, and merciless, even to his own brother, the traitor Clarence.  Finally, the next King Henry spends his years away from England nursing his rising rage and intention to recover what should be his throne, a rage that eventually will lead to victory. Characterization is what will keep readers riveted on every page of this moving novel, the momentous finale in Conn Iggulden’s superb Tudor series.