Warwick – Tony Riches

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Warwick is a novel about Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick who was also known as The Kingmaker. He is credited with putting Edward IV on the throne during the Wars of the Roses, a 15th century conflict between two branches of the Plantagenet family – the Lancasters and the Yorks.

I liked this portrayal of Warwick, he did seem a bit stiff sometimes – too good – but I liked that it wasn’t the standard textbook version of him you always see. Normally when you read a book about the Wars of the Roses, Warwick is portrayed as an extremely ambitious man and while he is ambitious in this novel we also get to see a more human side of him. Yes, the Warwick in this book chooses the course most advantageous to him and his family but we see the reasons and emotions behind his decisions. Some would have us believe that Warwick changed sides in the conflict simply because he was furious at Edward for marrying Elizabeth Woodville but it is much more complex that that. After that he was prepared to do whatever it took to see one of his daughters on the throne and he was was ultimately successful in this, if only briefly. This Warwick is portrayed as a man of intelligence and forethought, NOT JUST ruthless ambition. In this novel you see more of his personal relationships with people – his father, his brother, his wife, his mistress, etc.

There is a really good balance between the battles of the time and the story of the man himself. This is a book that, really, could be read by anyone, there is a perfect balance between the battles and the love story to suit everyone. Unlike other books that are aimed at one genre or the other this has just enough of both and not too much of either. The romance in Riches’ books isn’t cheesy. The level of historical detail is excellent. There is accuracy in the context. It is apparent that Riches did and enormous amount of research. Warwick as a character develops throughout the novel. The only slight criticism I have is that the book seemed to focus on the big events without really touching on what happened in between but I understand that trying to fit such a big time period into 300-odd pages is a hard task. It was really easy to read, even the parts about the battles but it wasn’t dumbed down. The story flowed well. It could have been a bit longer, as I said before it felt like it squashed a lot into it’s 300 pages and skimmed some pieces of important history but I still really enjoyed it. This book is not as polished as Riches other two novels, Owen and Jasper but I think this was my favourite out of the three.

This was a great insight into a very turbulent time in history and a good portrayal of a man we usually only see as a side character in books about Edward IV or Elizabeth Woodville. You don’t often see novels focusing solely on him so it was nice to see him brought into the limelight. He was someone who drove and changed history and deserves to be looked at in more depth.

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