Conn Iggulden was interviewed by Mariella Frostrup for the BBC programme 'Open Book' recently and said, "The wonderful thing about historical fiction is it has to entertain and inform." Stormbird is the first in his new series about the Ward of the Roses and certainly achieves both.
I've read quite a few books about this period but this the first to explore what it must have been like for the English settlers who suddenly found their lands in France had been given back to the French. Conn Iggulden keeps up the pace by interweaving several plot lines (including one about Jack Cade's rebellion that could be a whole book in its own right.)
I was also intrigued by the way he made Richard Duke of York the villain and the Duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole, into a tragic hero. Most authors are quick to dismiss de la Pole as an inept blunderer but it all looks very different from his point of view.
In his end notes Conn comments on how historical fiction often involves filling in the gaps and unexplained parts of history. When this is done well, as in Stormbird, it can really help to see the known facts in the context of the attitudes and conditions of the times. This is particularly the case with the complex ‘Wars of the Roses’, where the history was of course written by the victors.
It's clear how Conn Iggulden has become one of our best-selling historical fiction authors - and I'm looking forward to the next in the series, which he says he is planned as a trilogy but will probably end up as a four or five parter.
You can find his website at http://www.conniggulden.com/
and follow him on twitter @Conn_Iggulden