Wyvern And Star by Sophy Boyle
The year is 1470. It’s a decade since the house of York destroyed Robert Clifford’s life and drove him from his lands; a decade of wandering exile and waning hopes.
Now the house of Lancaster is rising once more and Robert leaps at the chance to reclaim what is his. But the stakes are impossibly high and in the storm to come, he risks the loss of his companions, his sons and Alice de Vere, the woman he loves.
Wyvern and Star is the first in a series that charts the parallel stories of this ill-starred pair, drawn together by a shared allegiance, then divided by war.
Immerse yourself in medieval England, with this fictionalised account of the War Of The Roses. Wyvern And Star is rich in historical accuracy and detail. The very talented author Sophy Boyle has brought all the individual characters to life and it makes for compelling reading.
The novel opens up with the scheming and plotting of royalty, Lords and gentlewomen in exile. The two central characters are Robert ‘Lord’ Clifford (Wyvern) a diehard supporter of the house of Lancaster and Alice De Vere (Star) a noblewoman thrust into a marriage to gain alliances and power.
The era of 1470 offers up food for thought. How would it have felt to be sold off into a marriage to gain political support for your brother? Was being royalty, really as glamourous as it’s so often portrayed? Alice is written so well it’s hard not to sympathise with her and root for her as she navigates the world of Lords and Ladies. All at only the tender age of 17 years old.
Jack De Vere, Alice’s brother seeks to restore king Henry and to achieve this he is going to need to convince others to join him in his endeavour. Robert Clifford is a likely allie but Clifford has his eyes on Alice in the exchange. The gentlewomen that surround Alice, Anne Neville, Lady Ullerton, Blanche, Contsance and Elyn provide the gossip, speculation and exaggeration about Clifford’s past and this further fuels the intensity! There are a variety of characters within this novel and I can’t fit them all into this review. But one thing I loved is that every character is essentially scheming and plotting to ascertain the best positions for themselves. From the gentlewomen to the Lords and the Queen.
This novel is true escapism, as I sat curled up reading I felt frustrated by the interruptions of the modern world (postman/phone ringing). Every time I opened the book I felt whisked away to the era and I became more and more obsessed with how the drama would all unfold. Will Clifford win Alice over? Will Alice ever find happiness? How did Jack’s meddling play out? The novel is not simply one revolving around the relationships of the characters. The brutality of the medieval era is also shown. In-fact the novel even opens with an immediate sword fight!
If you love historical fiction and are seeking a novel that will tell a vivid tale of treachery, love, obsession and alliances this one is for you!
Ideal for fans of George RR Martin, Philippa Gregory, Conn Iggulden, Alison Weir, Bernard Cornwell, Elisabeth Chadwick, Hilary Mantal, Anne O’brien etc.
Highly recommended 4*
Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?
A) I’m the daughter of a history teacher and we’ve been visiting castles and abbeys since I was a little girl. I always knew I’d read history at university and was lucky enough to study at Oxford under some of the foremost medievalists like Patrick Wormald and Miri Rubin.
Wyvern and Star is the first in a series of seven novels charting the exploits of Robert Clifford, a fictional Lancastrian nobleman. The books interweave historical individuals with invented characters. The first novel covers the period 1470-71, when Clifford tries to reclaim his family’s lost inheritance and marry the woman he loves. She has other ideas and nothing goes to plan.
Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
A) The idea for the series started to form in my mind when I was 14 and I read Charles Ross’s Edward IV. I’ve allowed it to grow in the dark for 30 years before I could put my career aside, and do what I’ve always wanted to do, which is to write this story.
I made a positive decision to self-publish because I could not possibly surrender ownership of my story to anyone else.
Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
A) As far as historical novels go, you can’t beat Robert Graves (I, Claudius and Count Belisarius). For general fiction, I tend to prefer the 19th century – Austen, Trollope, Collins and the Brontes.
Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
A) Lord of the Rings. I love Harry Potter; I would probably have been obsessed if it had come out when I was young. I’ve always liked books with magic in.
Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
A) When strangers contact me to tell me how much they enjoyed Wyvern and Star.
Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A) My best friends, who’ve read early drafts and given me encouragement.
Twitter: Sophy Boyle@wyvernandstar
*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.