Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Bloodline" - a review...

Almost forgot to post this..  I can only blame weight of work and a lack of time in general...  Either way, amongst a veritable flurry of Napoleonic naval fiction this year, I did get time to read this..

Difficult to believe that this is already the third in the series but here you go..  been looking forward to this as I quite enjoyed the second volume [clicky] (after a slow start I thought the series had hit its pace with the start of the actual War of the Roses, as opposed to the precursory actions).

Either way, with the death of Richard (duke of York) killed at the end of the previous book at the Battle of Wakefield, the book opens with his head (and Salisbury's) being mounted on spikes at the entrance to the city of York; unfortunately for Margaret (of Anjou - Henry VI's wife) the action backfires as this now unleashes his sons.....

King Henry (VI) is still held prisoner and Margaret marches south with an army comprised of partly Scottish troops to free him. She defeats Warwick (the "Kingmaker", and Henry's jailer) at the 2nd Battle of St Albans (with  nifty flank move around his fortified frontal position) and after the battle they find Henry "who was found unharmed, sitting quietly beneath a tree".

Elsewhere, however, Edward (the eldest York son) has combined his army with a Welsh army under Jasper Tudor and wins convincingly at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross.

Advancing on London, Margaret is denied access to the city (the histories says because if a fear by the Londoner's of the Scots in her army!), and short of supplies is forced to retreat north leaving the way open for Edward and his army to enter the city to open arms...

Edward says 'enough is enough' and pronounces himself king (he became Edward IV), is supported by the city and parliament. The army then marches north and meets with Margaret's army at Towton where Edward has a huge victory (this is still the bloodiest battle on British soil). Margaret and the young rice of Wales escape to Scotland and then exile in France.Henry (the poor man..) is captured again and imprisoned in the Tower. Edward returns to London to his coronation.

After putting down some final rebellions it was time for Edward to consolidate power - all Lancastrian opposition has ceased - he marries Elizabeth Woodville and she starts giving him children (daughters) but she also starts to undermine the authority of the Neville family (of Warwick) seeking to put members of her family into as many positions of power as she can,

When Warwick finally snaps, and can take no more, he arrests and imprisons Edward (hence the nickname - at the time Warwick was both Henry and Edward's jailer)..  Surprised by the depth of feelings against him, and with uprisings all over the country in support of Edward, Warwick frees Edward in return for a pardon, but you know it won't end well..  and it doesn't...  how can it with the "Woodville woman" working behind the scenes..

Cracking...  8/10

10 comments:

  1. Indeed a cracking read. I thought the depiction of Towton was superb- made you feel cold just reading about it. I wish he had said more about Mortimers cross rather than a passing reference later but still we get a number of battle scenes well written in the book. also we can see the beginning of the indolence in Edward that will be his undoing.

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    1. Paul - agreed re. Towton.. inspired leadership of the Yorkist archers to advance, fire, and then withdraw knowing that in the snow they'd not be seen - as I read it I thought - how on earth would you represent that on the table??!

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  2. Thank you for that review Steve. I tried that authors napoleonic series and found them a bit dry.

    I was wondering, given that your a sound chap on the Sudan, if you'd venture a review of any of the Sudanese books in your library.

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    1. CK - thanks.. Napoleonic series.. would you be thinking of Simon Scarrow??

      re. Sudan books - yes definitely - let me make a post of it so I can do a half decent fist of putting my jumbled thoughts together....

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  3. Yes, it's a cracking series. Amazon tell me the next one is due later this year.

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  4. I might pick up this series. It's been a while since I read medieval fiction(?).

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    1. Wim - as medieval fiction goes they're very good - but not as good (and this is purely my opinion!) as three other series, one, the Robin Hood series by Angus Donald (early medieval - 3rd Crusade period), the Grail Quest series by Cornwell (Crecy period) and lastly, the Master of War series by David Gilman (100 Yrs War)....

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