Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.
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Trinity is the second installment in Iggulden's unique Wars of the Roses trilogy, which began with Stormbird. For inexplicable reasons, it is being released as Margaret of Anjou in the US. Margaret is an important character, as she was in the first book, but she is not featured any more than several others.
This book started out slowly for me. Relating the feud between the Percys and the Nevilles and its impact on the beginning of the Wars of the Roses should have been interesting as the loss of France had been in Stormbird, but this storyline simply fell flat for me. If the first book hadn't been amazing, I might have given up on this one. I'm glad I didn't.
Once Iggulden got to the First Battle of St Albans, this started to read like the book I had been expecting. The battle scenes are unparalleled with various points of view giving a comprehensive view of the battle without becoming confusing or bogged down in detail.The author manages a large cast of characters and complicated maneuvering with great skill.
One disappointment that was never resolved was the characterization of Richard of York. In Stormbird, he seemed to be a quiet villain lying in wait. Seeing the failures in Henry's policies, Richard was ready to take up the reins. Then in Trinity he becomes more honorable, and Salisbury works as the driving force behind the rebellion. York doesn't want to fight against his king, but truly wants to see him under better advisement. More than once, he declines opportunities to grasp at the throne or rid the country of its inept king. I don't mind either of these characterizations, but the fact that it wasn't consistent bothered me.
Though I believe Iggulden is attempting to write a version of history that is complimentary to Margaret of Anjou, there just doesn't seem to be a way to portray her as anything other than a cold-blooded, cruel woman who makes decisions to send thousands to their deaths rather than let someone who is not mentally ill rule England. In Stormbird I could feel sorry for the young bride who did not understand the sacrifices being made for the sake of her marriage. By the time period covered in Trintiy she knows exactly what she is doing and does it anyway.
The last 200 pages of this were 5 star, just like the first book. Unfortunately, the first 300 were closer to 3. I expect that the final book of the trilogy, which will take up the story of Edward of York continuing his father's fight, will be quite the page turner.