Kingmaker: Kingdom Come
by Toby Clements
Century

Kingdom Come is the fourth and final part of a gigantic fictional retelling of the Wars of the Roses – the long, violent battle between two of England’s dominant 15th-century clans, the houses of York and Lancaster, that also inspired George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. There are even dragons in Clements’ tale: allegorical ones from Danish folklore, in an endless battle with mankind. Clements’ preference is for the earthy and real: a primitive rugby match with mud, blood and swearing; a character who recalls how an arrow was hammered out of his leg with a “piss pot”.

The history goes something like this: York rules, in the person of King Edward, only a teenager in Clements’ opener, Winter Pilgrims (2014), set 10 years earlier. Edward’s regal pre­deces­sor, Henry of Lancaster, languishes in prison. Then the fighting begins, all over again. As in the preceding instalments, our guides into the human costs (spiritual, political and physical) of conflict are Thomas Everingham and his wife, Katherine.

Kingdom Come gallops towards the apoca­lypse thanks to fantastic, propulsive story­telling, but best read the other books first. Don’t worry – you’ll have a ball.