Review of “Warwick: The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses,” by Tony Riches

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As an erstwhile pacifist, I am not a lover of wartime fiction set in any era, and by necessity, any book related to the Earl of Warwick must be centered on The War of the Roses in fifteenth century England. However, in Warwick: The Man Behind The Wars of the Roses, Tony Riches manages to create an excellent balance between the battles at the core of the epoch and the humanity of the man himself. While loyalty—or the lack thereof—is a theme masterly woven throughout the book (and through the entirety of Western history), more important to the narrative is the conflict inherent in choosing the course most advantageous to the man and his family.

The most difficult, and most often poorly executed, area of historical fiction is the equilibrium between story and setting. As another historical fiction author, I was inspired not only by the level of detail, the accuracy of the medieval historical context, and the enormous amount of research that must have been required, but also at the humanity of the characters and the use of the wartime setting as context for highly emotional character development. Additionally, the plot itself is a complex blend of the intrigues that exemplified this historical time period, the vagaries that, by nature, exist in a setting where allegiance is constantly tested, and the obligations these place on anyone who would hope to advance his own purpose, as well as the interests of his country.

Warwick was a superlative historical effort, well worth the time and attention of any historical fiction reader.

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