A LEGEND FORGED IN BATTLE: Thomas Blackstone must face an implacable foe as the 100 Years’ War enters its bloodiest phase.
Ten years ago, the greatest army in Christendom was slaughtered at Crécy when Thomas Blackstone and his fellow archers stood their ground and rained death on the steel-clad might of French chivalry. Blackstone left that squalid field a knight.
Now, Blackstone commands a war band and has carved out a small fiefdom in northern France. But the wounds of war still bleed and a traitor has given the King of France the means to destroy first his family, and then the English knight himself.
As the traitor’s net tightens, so the French King’s army draws in. Blackstone will stand and fight – in pitched battle and in single combat. He will defy his friends, his family and his king. He may yet defy death, but he can’t defy his destiny: BLACKSTONE: MASTER OF WAR.
Defiant unto Death was an engaging, compelling piece of historical fiction. Set against the backdrop of the Hundred Years’ War, Sir Thomas Blackstone must battle King John of France’s army to fulfil his destiny as Master of War. After laying waste to them ten years ago, it’s his job to do the same again.
The immediate impression you get of Sir Thomas is that he’s kind to his peasants. He’s a good and noble knight who wants to fight for his king and country. This makes him a really strong protagonist to lead us through the story. Then on the other hand, you have King John of France. To say he’s an evil bastard is an understatement. He wants power and doesn’t care who he has to hurt to get it. Lurking in the background is the truly evil Savage Priest, De Marcy, who wants nothing more than to bring Sir Thomas down. He wants everything he has, especially his beautiful wife.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were a lot of references to the first novel, which I haven’t read, so that kind of pulled me out of the story a bit. On the whole though, I really liked the book. It was intriguing to see whether Sir Thomas would ultimately triumph over adversity and win the battle against the French, as well as resolve all the other conflicts around him. I think reading the first book first would be beneficial though, as there are a lot of references to it throughout this one.
About the author:
David Gilman was raised in Liverpool and educated in Wales. By the time he was 16 he was driving a battered 1946 Ford, ferrying construction workers in the African bush. A variety of jobs followed in different countries: fire and rescue, forestry work, JCB driver, window dresser and professional photographer in an advertising agency. He served in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon and then worked in publishing. In 1986 he turned to full-time writing. He has written many radio and television scripts including several years of ‘A Touch of Frost’. In 2007 his ‘Danger Zone’ trilogy for YA was sold in 15 countries. The first in the series – The Devil’s Breath was long listed for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and won the French Prix Polar Jeunesse. He also writes for younger children. MONKEY and ME has been nominated for this year’s Carnegie Medal. ‘MASTER of WAR’ is the first in a series of HF for adults that follows the fortunes of Thomas Blackstone during the 100 Years’ War.