I recently read and reviewed the first book in this series, ‘Turncoat’s Drum’.
I mentioned then that I had already bought the second book, and I have just finished reading it.
Following on from the very last line, we continue the adventures of the characters embroiled in the English Civil War, during the 17th century. This time, the author adds a few more characters, and gives us a look into the court-in-exile of Charles I and his queen, in the city of Oxford. The fawning sycophants, aristocrats and merchants seeking favours, and the romantic affairs and dalliances during the midst of a bitter war.
Carter also adds an unusual Civil War element to the action, the war at sea, with the reader travelling on a Parliamentary warship, following the fate of the prisoners from the previous book. As we reconnect with all the characters, and watch as they interact with the new ones, all roads are leading to the mighty fortress city of Bristol, where the opposing sides are set to clash in bloody conflict. As Parliamentary stragglers seek refuge in the beleaguered city, adding to the small number of desperate defenders, the Royalist general Prince Rupert arrives with a huge army, and many cannon. The scene is set for a desperate siege, followed by a massive assault by the Royalist forces.
Once again, historical detail is flawless. The cramped back streets of Bristol are accurately brought to life, (many still exist today) and the plight of both the defending army and trapped civilians feels all too real. Despite the now familiar characters, the author manages to avoid any ‘soap-opera’ tropes in their relationships, and keeps surprising the reader with unexpected turns in the story. Everything from the preparation of the siege guns, to the desperate hand-to-hand fighting around shattered earthworks is fast-paced, and exciting to read.
The small details are a delight too. From how many teeth someone has, to what is available to eat. As well as the descriptions of clothing, personal habits, and the physical appearance of exhausted and wounded soldiers.
At 371 pages, it didn’t seem that long, and I found myself staying up late to read more. This was also only 99 p, so great value.
Highly recommended for fans of Historical Fiction, and those interested in the background to the actual events of that 17th century war.
The third book of six is already available, but I have to read some others before buying that one.
Here’s an Amazon link.