Kingmaker: Divided Souls by Toby Clements

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Kingmaker: Divided Souls by Toby Clements

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Book 3 in this War of the Roses series reaches 1469. The Everinghams are again thrown into the conflict bringing with them exciting adventure and more ways in which they and those around them could die. Gripping stuff!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Century
ISBN: 978-1780894652

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Thomas and Katherine Everingham and their son Rufus are enjoying a time of contentment working on Sir John Fakenham's Marton Hall estate. However, this peace is just the eye of the storm. Tragedy strikes the Fakenhams almost at the same time that the Plantagenet Wars of the Roses takes on a new, treacherous twist. Richard Earl of Warwick is challenging King Edward IV, leaving the Everinghams with a serious dilemma… or two.

British author Toby Clements has just given enough time for our finger nails to grow before making us chew them down again. This outing carries on at the ripping rate we came to expect in Book 2, which seems a good time to mention that it's best to read the books in order if you can.

It seems like a good stand-alone in the way that Toby includes some subtly placed catch-ups from the previous books, but there are some wonderful little nuggets for those of us who have been in the story from the start. For instance, the comparison between Thomas and Katherine's son Rufus and the child's Uncle Kit brings a smirk to the faces of those who understand the connotations.

Once again Toby aids our grasp of the War's bigger picture by showing it to us via the everyday person as well as the nobility since our heroes have feet in both camps. The most evident feature here is one that will be replicated 200 years later in the Civil War, i.e. its ability to split families.

Just looking at the upper crust we have some great divisions and realignments. Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick is now pro-Henry (for a second time, having had a pro-Edward phase in the middle). However his brother-in-law, the wonderfully portrayed William Hastings (one of my favourite characters) remains with Edward. Meanwhile Edward's own brother George, Duke of Clarence, now sides with Warwick. This must have caused national confusion and difficulty in keeping up for an England in which news was disseminated by messenger and rumour.

Meanwhile Thomas and Katherine have even more pressing concerns than who sides with whom. Yes, Thomas needing to fight again is pretty dangerous, but that ledger is proving an even greater danger. If it doesn't, Riven is back and he definitely has a score to settle.

Toby comes at us with twists and shocks that keep the pages turning. There is also much gore as usual. This time even the blood associated with Nettie's child birthing is a lot gorier than we would have anticipated. It all remains in context though – the blood is spattered horrifically because these are horrific situations that benefit from lack of literary sanitation.

This realism once again includes the emotions of the battlefield. This includes a very psychologically insightful moment during which Tom witnesses a tragic ad hoc execution.

There's a slight 'get out of gaol free card' moment towards the end but that's forgivable in the shudder-worthy shadow of the jeopardy taking us towards Book 4.

Yes, it looks as though there will be a Book 4. However in a story that hangs everyone's lives by a thread, I'm not giving anything away about who will (or won't) be there to meet us.

(Thank you, Century, for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: As mentioned before, do read Book 1 – Winter Pilgrims and Book 2 – Broken Faith first. From there we recommend Sons of York: Volume 2 (The Sprigs of Broom) by Lesley J Nickell, another view of a turbulent time via a commoner. If you'd like to delve into fact past the fiction, we also definitely recommend Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville: A True Romance by Amy Licence and Edward IV: Glorious Son of York by Jeffrey James.

Toby Clements' Kingmaker Novels in Chronological Order

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