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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099585879
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims

(Book 1)

Set during England's bloody and brutal War of the Roses, the first novel in an epic historical fiction series. If you liked Conn Iggulden's Stormbird, you will love Toby Clement's KINGMAKER novels.

'An enthralling adventure story, honest and powerful. The Wars of the Roses are imagined here with energy, with ferocity, with hunger to engage the reader.' Hilary Mantel


In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory.

Fearing for their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict.

For this England, torn apart by the infamous Wars of the Roses, one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history.

Brother confronts brother. King faces king,

And Thomas and Katherine, two seemingly unimportant figures in the midst of chaos and bloodshed, must fight just to stay alive ...

  • Pub date: 1 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9780099585879
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Toby Clements

Toby Clements was inspired to write the Kingmaker series having first become obsessed by the Wars of the Roses after a school trip to Tewkesbury Abbey, on the steps of which the Lancastrian claim to the English throne was extinguished in a welter of blood in 1471.

Since then he has read everything he can get his hands on and spent long weekends at re-enactment fairs. He has learned to use the longbow and how to fight with the poll axe, how to start a fire with a flint and steel and a shred of baked linen. He has even helped tan a piece of leather (a disgusting experience involving lots of urine and dog faeces). Little by little he became less interested in the dealings of the high and mighty, however colourful and amazing they might have been, and more fascinated by the common folk of the 15th Century: how they lived, loved, fought and died. How tough they were, how resourceful, resilient and clever. As much as anything this book is a hymn to them.

He lives in London with his wife and three children.

Also by Toby Clements

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Praise for Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims

“Magnificent. An historical tour de force, revealing Clements to be a novelist every bit as good as Cornwell, Gregory or Iggulden. Kingmaker is the best book I’ve read this year by some margin.”

Ben Kane

“It’s amazing … there’s a real sense of time and place, and real immersion in the period, real rounded characters, with utterly plausible lives. Fantastic! People who love Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell are going to love it too.”

Manda Scott

“Toby Clements captures the grimness, grit and grime of 15th-century life, but with compassion and humanity, as seen through the eyes of common people ... period detail is wonderfully accurate as are the setpiece skirmishes and bloodbath at Towton.”

Daily Mail

“It is Clements’s ability to excite both tender emotions and a capacity for bloodthirstiness that has allowed him to achieve what Shakespeare couldn’t manage, and spin a consistently enthralling story out of the Wars of the Roses.”

Daily Telegraph

“Clements truly lets rip with the poleaxes, billhooks and glaives, sparing no detail as he recreates the blood and thunder of the battlefield ... But mere retro-bloodfest this is not - amid the butchery emerges a tender, heroic love story.”

The Sun

“I loved this from the first page, and if you ask me, this is what it’s all about. There’s an immediacy, an accessibility to Clements’ writing that makes the story leap from the page in all its vivid, vibrant glory. In fact this story reads like a film script, which shows that here is a writer who knows his business. Atmosphere, drama, great characters and a brilliantly imagined medieval world - Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims took me on a journey. I’m already looking forward to the next one. Storytelling doesn’t get much better than this.”

Giles Kristian

“The first of what promises to be one of the best historical adventure series to hit the shelves this year ... an author born to be a storyteller ... Kingmaker proves to be a thrilling, stomach-churning odyssey into the grime, gore and guts of the brutal medieval world. There is an addictive, raw excitement to Clements’ writing ... Prepare to be shocked, amazed… and thoroughly entertained.”

Lancashire Evening Post

“Epic adventuring that had me hooked… I loved this story, non-stop action featuring a lovely pair of modest but surprising heroes…The best adventure novel I have read in quite a while.”

Bettie Book Likes blog

“If you like your fiction with a bit of grit and swagger, this is really something you should try.”

The Idle Woman blog

“What a book! This superb novel, alive with fire, blood and mud, has brought me as close to the Wars of the Roses as I could ever want to get. Historical fiction at its best ... Kingmaker is one of the finest historical novels I’ve read and fortunately it’s just the first in a trilogy. I look forward to much more from Toby Clements.”

For Winter Nights blog

“His writing has a feel of authenticity that is sometimes lacking in other books. I could almost imagine that I really was standing in the middle of a muddy battlefield with arrows flying around me, walking through a smelly, bustling market place or watching Katherine performing surgery without the benefits of modern medicine. There’s certainly nothing glamorous about this story!”

She Reads Novels blog

“It’s very bloody and bloody good.”

World of Booze

“The narrative, quick-paced, direct and written in the vivid present ... the repression, anger and bloodshed of the Wars of the Roses was itself frequently beyond belief. Clements’s pages are aflutter with that conflict’s every emotion.”

The Spectator

“My best historical novel is Winter Pilgrims. Toby Clements’ blood-fuelled ‘I was there’ rampage through the Wars of the Roses.”

Hilary Mantel

“Fans of Tudor history in search of post-Mantel fix will be intrigued ... Clements' storytelling is evocative and direct.”


“Toby Clements has provides ripping action we can be absorbed by and relate to; a talent that many more experienced authors have yet to grasp.”

The Bookbag

“Toby Clements has a rich knowledge of the history of the times and this is evident in his writing. His depictions of the way people lived their lives during this turbulent time in our history is so vivid you feel a definite sense of being there. …the most enjoyable historical novel I have read for some time.”

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