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The Dream of Kings by David K. Saunders: A Book Review

The Dream of Kings
Author: David K. Saunders
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Shadenet Publishing
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 486
Source: This book was given to me by Publishing Push in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: In the year 1464, the Kingdom is engulfed by civil war as the renowned houses of Lancaster and York fight to the death for the crown of England. 


     Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future ‘Richard III’, arrives, aged twelve, for the safety of Middleham Castle to begin his training for knighthood. His new companions discover he can change from kindness to cold rage within the wink of an eye. Men, it was said, watched him with wary eyes, for they knew when the young pup found his teeth, he would make a dangerous enemy. 


     Far in the north, Margaret of Anjou, warrior Queen to Henry VI, prepares to fight against the advancing armies of Edward IV. Why does she abandon her husband, and flee to France vowing never to return? Who blackmails her, seven years later, to join forces with her most hated enemy, to return and fight once again for the crown of England? 


     King Edward IV, tall, handsome, and clever, is a brilliant warrior, whose Achilles' heel is women ‒ he loves them all. What dark forces drive him into a secret marriage that rips his kingdom apart? He is forced to fight Louis XI of France, and the mighty Earl of Warwick, not only for his crown but also his life. 


     From the courts of Edward IV, Louis XI, and Margaret of Anjou, comes intrigue, betrayal, witchcraft, and love. The Dreams of Kings weaves plots and characters together to make a roller-coaster read of the period they call the ‘WAR of the ROSES’. 


     My review: A Dream of Kings is a fictional retelling of The War of The Roses. The main characters are Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Margaret of Anjou, and Edward IV. Each of them fight for the crown of England in what they believe is rightfully theirs. This epic retelling is full of battles, political intrigue, and romance.


     This story is filled with a full cast of characters. Each of them are very complex, and the reader is allowed to get into their heads. Yet the main characters whom all the other characters revolve around are Richard, Edward, and Margaret. Margaret is a strong queen. In the novel, she has the makings of a king. She rules for her mad husband, and it is she who is fighting for England, not her husband. She falls in love with Simon, and it is with him that she finds happiness and peace during her difficult time. One thing that I liked about Margaret is that she does not wish to be born a woman but a man. I found it quite fitting because she is very strong. I liked how the author humanized Margaret of Anjou because in most books I have read of her, she is usually not portrayed as a likable historical figure.


     Because this work is purely fiction, the author does take a few liberties in his work. Some of the liberties are rumors and gossip at the time that they believe is true. One example is that Elizabeth Woodville and Jacquetta used witchcraft to seduce Edward IV. While this is preposterous, I still found it an interesting plot device. Another plot device is that Margaret’s child, Prince Edward of Wales is illegitimate. I found this really creative and unique.


     Overall, this is an in-depth look into the psyche of the characters involved in The War of The Roses. While these characters are filled with vice, they have some redeeming qualities. I liked the love story not only between Margaret of Anjou, but also of the servants, Rose and John, which is simple and sweet. The story is very fast-paced. It is full of drama, scandal, political intrigue, danger, and battles. The characters are very complex, and it is clear that the author has done his research. I felt that the era came alive, and I was glad to be immersed in it. I recommend this book to anyone interested in The War of The Roses and Philippa Gregory.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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