Sweeping historical novel, set against the rich tapestry of the Wars of the Roses, sheds new light on an unsung hero of the era, weaving fiction with historical fact to create a story of intrigue, love and political feuding doomed to end in tragedy.
England, 1469. The royal house of Plantagenet has been torn asunder. Its now rival houses of Lancaster and York are engaged in a bitter and bloody civil war, each determined to unseat the other as the rightful royal dynasty of England.
The Yorkist Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, has earned himself the reputation of Kingmaker by claiming the throne for the new King Edward IV.
The staunch Lancastrian Edmund Beaufort, 4th Duke of Somerset, lives in exile in France. A man as brave and brash as he is handsome, Edmund is prone to dark moods. He is desperate to return the crown to his rightful King, Henry VI. But with his power reduced and his position remote, Edmund becomes entangled in dispute between Henry VI’s vengeful wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French ‘Spider’ King Louis. How and when can Edmund make the charge back to England? A sudden falling out between King Edward IV and the Earl of Warwick gives him the chance, and at the French King’s urging, Edmund of Somerset and Richard of Warwick forge an unlikely allegiance.
Warwick has brought his family to France and Edmund falls in love with Katherine, Warwick’s illegitimate daughter. His passion for her burns with the same intensity as his love for the red rose of Lancaster. The two become lovers and together work with Warwick and Marguerite of Anjou to manoeuvre the former King, Henry IV, back towards the throne. The red rose looks poised to finally defeat the white. But will disaster loom for Edmund on the battlefield at Tewkesbury?
Blood of the Red Rose is the rousing first novel by P. J. Gray, and sheds light on a significant real-life character from the Wars of the Roses. Very little is known about the Lancastrian Edmund Beaufort; the only known reports of him are as Queen Marguerite of Anjou’s chief battle commander at the Battle of Tewkesbury. During her years of in-depth research, Gray has succeeded in fleshing out a remarkable, mercurial hero, and by combining historical fact with inspired moments of pure fiction, she has created a hero who provides a unique perspective on the Wars of the Roses through his political endeavours and his personal passions. A must-read for historical fiction fans.