England, 1454. A kingdom sliding into chaos. The mentally unstable King Henry VI, having struggled for a decade to contain the violent feuding of his magnates, loses his mind. Disgruntled nobles back the regal claims of Richard, Duke of York, great-grandson of Edward III. The stage is set for civil war. The first volume of an enthralling two-part history of the dynastic wars fought between the houses of Lancaster and York, Battle Royal traces the conflict from its roots in the 1440s to the early 1460s - a period marked by the rise and fall of Richard of York, the deposition of Henry VI following the Lancastrian defeat at Towton, and the subsequent seizure of his throne by Richard's son Edward. Populating this late-medieval saga of ambition, intrigue and bloodshed are such fascinating characters as the vacillating Henry himself, his indefatigable queen Marguerite of Anjou, Richard of York (father of kings but never king himself), his opportunist ally Richard Neville, 'the Kingmaker', and the precociously virile Edward of York. Charting a clear course through the dynastic and factional complexities of fifteenth-century power politics, and offering crisply authoritative analysis of the key battles of the Wars of the Roses, Battle Royal is a compelling and rigorously researched account of England's longest and bloodiest civil war.