Sunday, 5 January 2014

War of the Roses by Conn Iggulden

Bowls of dark royal blood lay beneath the bed, forgotten by the physicians.

After 17 pages of maps and genealogical lists we get the prologue. This line raises some questions and establishes some setting. A scene unfolds with a sprinkle of back story to establish some context but no large info dumps. Nice.

First thing said:

"I am here, Edward."

Chapter 1:

England was cold that month.

Weather cliche opening. The whole first paragraph is dedicated to the weather - is an ode to the weather - not to character, not to conflict, and not to irony - to the weather. And in case you're wondering, weather does not hook, not even the most rosy cheeked Canadian, no matter how excitedly the wind is blowing and no matter how menacingly the cold air is biting. But after this hiccup, a scene starts to unfold with dialogue and action.

This opening is so close to getting sucked into that tired mass of cliche-novel openings in which most writers are content to wallow that I fear for its rating.

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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