England, 1454. A kingdom sliding into chaos. With the loss of Bordeaux (the last French territory held by the Plantagenets), the enfeebled Henry VI loses his mind. Disgruntled nobles back the regal claims of Richard, Duke of York, great-grandson of Edward III. Town and countryside teem with soldiers, redundant and bored. The stage is set for civil war. This title is the first part of a two-volume history - lavishly illustrated with maps, family trees and images - of the dynastic wars fought between the houses of Lancaster and York for the English throne from 1454 until 1487. Hugh Bicheno tells the story of the Wars of the Roses as an enthralling saga of interwoven families, narrating each chapter from the point of view of a key player in the wider drama. Volume I traces the story from 1450 to 1464, a period punctuated by the battles of St Albans, Towton and Hexham; enlivened by such fascinating characters as Henry VI's queen Marguerite of Anjou and the femme fatale Elizabeth Woodville, and ending with the triumph of the Yorkist king Edward IV.