Wars of the Roses and the Plantagenets
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I want to put off reading Song of Fire and Ice and thought I'd do some background reading first. But to make it more fun, make them fictional.
So can anyone recommend good novels about the Wars of the Roses, etc? Works that deal with the bigger picture, or with some juicy incidents are equally welcome. The princes in the Tower sound fun. (Although, obviously not for them, poor lads)
Just finished War of the Roses : Stormbird by Conn Iggulden. I enjoyed it but not being very familier with the actual history I am not really sure of the background.
A Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin was a great book that tells the story from the Woodvilles' point of view.
George RR Martin has written the late French author Maurice Druon's Accursed Kings series was an inspiration. Set in early 14th century France, the series covers a turbulent time for the French monarchy.
The novels are being reissued with new covers with a forward by Martin. So far the first 3 novels are out (see below); the 4th one The Royal Succession is slated to be out later this year.
Reissued so far:
The Iron King #1
The Strangled Queen #2
The Poisoned Crown #3
Philippa Gregory has written a lot of novels set in that period. They are dangerously close to bodice-rippers, but good fun. If you want a nice sentimental take on Richard III, you can't go past We Speak No Treason, followed by The King's Grey Mare which is about Elizabeth Plantagenet, the daughter of Edward IV who was married to Henry VII.
The thing about George Martin is that he draws inspiration from all over the shop. It's not just the Wars of the Roses. He shamelessly appropriates what happened to Ann Boleyn, though the TV show appears to be leaving that out in its version of Margaery.
Just to mention, while Druon's books are great reading, they are a long way from what historians accept as fact. Just one example involves the curse of the Templars--no curse say the historians.
I've read dozens of novels about the Wars of the Roses -- by far the most evocative and memorable is We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman, first published in 1971. This author is fiercely dedicated to bringing total authenticity to the period and to the characters.
Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time is a mystery, but it deals with Richard III and the end of the War of the Roses.
I can recommend Richard Revisited by Els Launspach. Hope this is the type of historical novel you like!
Katherine by Anya Seton tells the story of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt. It's been many years since I've read it, but I remember liking it very much. In the same time period of publication, you could try Jean Plaidy Plantagenet Saga; according to Wikipedia, there are 14 in the series. I read them all 30+ years ago, and haven't revisited them since, so I don't know if they hold up. Another author I enjoyed was Norah Lofts, who wrote several books in the time period, Eleanor the Queen is about Eleanor of Acquitaine. All of these authors were responsible for me minoring in English history.
Daughter of Time was required reading for the Tudor England class I took.
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