The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones

Lucid, detailed, and engrossing, much like its predecessor, The Plantagenets. Jones has a gift for converting a parade of names and dates into personalities and dramatic clashes.

Unlike the previous book, I could see many more parallels with events in Game of Thrones in this one. There’s a usurper claiming the rightful king is a child of adultery, there are minor houses parleying marriage to the royal house into more influence and power, there’s even a warrior king that becomes fat and indolent in old age.

Three of the many things I learned:

  • Entire Tudor dynasty descends from Owen Tudor, a minor noble that Catherine of Valois (princess of France) married after King Henry V died.
  • Wars of the Roses were less family feud and more power struggle between multiple great families due to the collapse of kingly power under Henry VI.
  • The man who became Richard III was, until Edward IV’s early death, one of the most loyal and honorable nobles in the kingdom.