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The Claimant: A Novel of the Wars of the Roses by Simon Anderson

Posted By Claire on February 18, 2015

The ClaimantThank you to Penelope Wright for this review of Simon Anderson’s book The Claimant: A Novel of the Wars of the Roses.

This novel by Simon Anderson is set between 1459 and ends in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Towton. Two of the main characters, Henry VI and Richard of York – two strands of the Plantagenet dynasty – and the events surrounding them were instrumental in bringing the Tudors to Power in 1485 through Richard of York’s sons, Edward IV and Richard III. The central characters, the Wardlow Family and Edmund of Calais, as far as I can gather, are fictional but never the less, brought to life by Anderson through his obvious research of the period and his attention to detail of the lives of the gentry and estate workers at that time. He also uses his descriptive writing powers to bring the horrors of warfare in the 15th century into focus.

Roger Kynaston was the Constable of Denbigh Castle, although there is obviously poetic license used in the siege of Denbigh scenes because of the involvement of the fictional characters. Anderson introduces “gonners” here – I had no idea what they were but the description and the use of these weapons was a complete surprise and again shows how much research into warfare and weaponry has gone into this novel. I won’t spoil the enjoyment of the book, you will have to read it for yourself!

I have learnt a great deal about “The Wars of The Roses”, things that I was never interested in at school. As soon as wars and battles and dates were introduced it really did not grab my interest. The school history lessons were of little interest to me unless they included more about how the people lived on a daily basis. This novel brought the conflict to life as well as including the information about the battles and weaponry of the times.

As previously stated, the book ends at the Battle of Towton, when Edward of York defeated Henry VI. This, of course, was not the end of the Wars of The Roses, although Edward did bring peace during his reign. I would be happy to read a sequel to this book, perhaps following the Wardlow family and maybe incorporating the mystery of The Princes in the Tower.

Well-written, obviously well-researched and equally imaginative. If you, like me, are an avid historical novel reader, then in my opinion you can’t go wrong with The Claimant.

Book details

October, 1459.

The harvest is gathered and the country wears its autumn livery. Four years after the first battle of The Cousins’ Wars, later known as The Wars of the Roses, the simmering political tensions between the Royal Houses of Lancaster and York have once again boiled over into armed confrontation. Nobles must decide which faction to support in the bitter struggle for power. The stakes are high and those who choose unwisely have everything to lose.
Sir Geoffrey Wardlow follows the Duke of York while others rally to King Henry’s cause, but one in particular company under the Royal banner is not all it seems, its leader bent on extracting a terrible revenge that will shatter the lives of the Wardlow family. Edmund of Calais has a private score to settle and is prepared to risk everything to satisfy his thirst for revenge. Riding the mounting wave of political upheaval, he willingly throws himself time and again into the lethal mayhem of a medieval battle as he strives to achieve his aim. One man is out to stop him: his half-brother, Richard. Born of the same father but of very different minds the two young men find themselves on opposite sides during the violence that erupts as political tensions finally reach breaking point. Each has sworn to kill the other should they meet on the field of battle. As they play their cat-and-mouse game in the hope of forcing a decisive confrontation, their loved ones are drawn inexorably into the fray, forcing the protagonists to question the true cost of victory…

Paperback: 354 pages
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing (December 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8493746495
ISBN-13: 978-8493746490
Available as a Kindle book and paperback from Amazon.com, Amazon UK and your usual bookstore.

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