WAR OF THE ROSES: BLOODLINE By Conn Iggulden. Michael Joseph. $32.99.
Winter 1461, Richard, Duke of York, is dead and the Lancastrian King, Henry VI, has been freed, but the War of the Roses is far from over. Edward of March has been unleashed, crowning himself King, and he embarks on a grand campaign that will result in the bloodiest battle in English history, Towton.
This is the third book in the War of the Roses series by the hugely gifted Conn Iggulden, one of the best current writers of historical fiction. It is a highly detailed and addictive novel that follows one of history’s most convoluted political struggles. Combining impressive battle detail with intense political intrigue, this is compulsory reading for all fans of the genre.
CLEOPATRA’S SHADOWS By Emily Holleman. Sphere. $29.99.
Following a sudden uprising led by her half-sister Berenice, Cleopatra flees Egypt with her father, King Ptolemy, leaving her beloved younger sister Arsinoe behind. Bernice declares herself Queen, and plots to keep the throne from her father and his Roman allies. Arsinoe is forced to fend for her life in the new Royal court and soon finds her loyalties tested. Cleopatra is a minor character in this novel, with Holleman telling the story from the points of view of Bernice and Arsinoe. This produces an engaging story of family dynamics, trust and politics, as both sisters try to survive in the new world. An excellent debut from Holleman about two sisters often forgotten by history.
GOLDEN LION By Wilbur Smith with Giles Kristian. Harper Collins. $39.99.
After their victory in Ethiopia, Captain Hal Courtney, his lover Judith Nazet and the crew of the Golden Bough set sail for England. Detouring to recover his family’s lost treasure, Hal will encounter great danger, not only from an insane and mysterious assassin, but also from the return of his mortal enemy, the deranged pirate known as the Buzzard.
This is the 14th novel in the Courtney family series from veteran author Wilbur Smith. Set in 1670 between Birds of Prey and Monsoon, it continues the story of Captain Hal Courtney. A fun adventure, filled with interesting characters and a convincing nautical setting, this is a great read from an old-school writer.
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