Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims is a good solid start to a very promising War of The Roses series by new historical author Toby Clements.
The story opens in 1460 when a catastrophic betrayal at the Priory of St Mary in Lincoln forces Thomas, a young monk and Katherine, a nun, to flee the relative safety of their cloistered life. Together they embark upon a journey which plunges them into the very heart of civil war and the maelstrom of battle. And as the house of Lancaster pitches against the house of York, both Katherine and Thomas have momentous decisions to face before they can be at ease in this very troubled world.
This very accomplished historical debut focuses on the uncertain future faced by a country at odds with itself. Stark, often violent, the story pulls no punches in the face of conflict and even as Thomas discovers a penchant for soldiering, it is perhaps Katherine who needs to adapt the most, as her skill for healing is brutally realised in the face of fierce disturbance.
The story concludes in 1461, with the bloody and brutal battle for Towton, which was fast, furious, and lacking in any sort of human compassion but which undeniably marked a turning point in this deadly game of thrones. However, Thomas and Katherine’s story is far from concluded, and I am heartened that the ending of the book lends itself to a continuation of this commendable series of historical novels.
About the Author
Toby Clements was inspired to write Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims having first become obsessed by the Wars of the Roses after a school trip to Tewkesbury Abbey.
This is his first novel.