The Bleeding Land by Giles Kristian :Trailer Shoot & Win a Book Competition


Sunday 19th February: The Bleeding Land book Trailer. Book to be released April 26th

After a week of childlike excitement the day had arrived, (unlike theWellingtonboots I had ordered for the day, with Thermal lining as well).

Fortunately for my lack of wellies and also for the days filming ahead, the day was bright sunny and clear with not a cloud in sight.

After a 30 minuet journey from home, most of which my Sat-Nav’s idea of a joke, taking me along a few twisting winding lanes, before bringing back onto the main road it had taken me off 15 mins earlier. I arrived at Ashby Hall, to stick the brakes on in the drive and wonder..

A) was I in the wrong place?

B) What had Giles done by 9.15?

There was a police car parked out front of Ashby Hall, how badly could the day have gone already? There would be gunpowder after all?

So I quickly stilled my naturally guilty conscience and parked (behind the building for a fast escape).

Ashby Hall itself initially looked like a lovely old Grade II listed building, but one that’s been a little abused by its tenants, which is probably because the tenants are a Civil Defence company, my mind was instantly replaying every Cliché Zombie movie moment I could think of (we were there to do some filming, I wasn’t being mental).

So on with the boots (walking) and then push down the natural shy nature and go meet some new people.

The first person I met that morning was the Director Philip Stevens, a nicer person I doubt you will meet, he took me in and showed me the hall where a quiet organised chaos was in play.

There was arms training for some of the cast with Matchlock Muskets

To fire the matchlock, the most common type of musket, the soldier would empty gunpowder into a pan and cover it to protect it. He would then press a lighted piece of flax into a metal trigger called the serpent. When the gun was fired the lighted flax in the serpent would come down into the pan and light the gunpowder. The flame from this would then enter the barrel of the gun and ignite the gunpowder that had been poured into it and the lead ball would be fired.


The weapon was dangerous and clumsy to use. Some of the longer muskets needed a rest to balance the barrel on because they were too heavy to hold. They were impossible to reload quickly and were most effective when a group of musketeers fired a volley of shots at the enemy

This description was something we were to witness many times during the day, not only the amount of time that it took to reload, and the wonder that anyone survived using the damn thing, but also the skill of the re-enactors on set that day, they made the movements, (I think someone said 30 individual steps) seem more like a dance, but the amount of practice to get to that level was driven by a passion to know rather than survive.

Next was a look around the Civil Defence paraphernalia lying around the hall, Riot shields, Tazers mounted on riot shields, Incapacity spray, breaching tools, some of these left on folding tables, but some left of period furniture, with 10ft tall oil paintings stacked behind them, the look of the hall was very surreal, Hence the Armageddon style Zombie movie reference.

I was free to take a step back and watch, to see all that occurs in the early hours of filming preparation, the donning of the period uniforms, the makeup, the blood, the gunpowder for the bandoliers, the wadding.

And most important, the Tea Urn.

The film guys were busy setting up and being ingenious. The cables would not reach the shoot site due to the size of the lake, so the clever sods rowed the cables across the idyllic sun dappled lake.

The Camera was set up, and oh what a camera, used on Valhalla Rising, The Hobbit and of course the Raven Trailer, this thing had pedigree. Next came the smoke machine and finally the most versatile piece of equipment on the shoot, a large piece of polystyrene Provider of shade, reflector of light, and fanner of smoke.

While we await the camera set up, and the table set up (food and drink) and while our lead actor learns the complicated steps in loading a Matchlock Musket, so that he looks as competent as the highly proficient re-enactors, the other re-enactors have some fun, and that’s done by test firing the guns.

I think what we all notice first is just how loud these things are, then just how much flame and smoke they produce. Its easy to imagine how a few thousand of these could obscure a battle field in short order.

Also given all the steps involved I’m amazed anyone made it off the battle field alive. If it wasn’t for the fact that with a small amount of training any muppet could fire a musket as apposed to the previous WMD the longbow, which took years of dedication training and muscle development and was highly accurate (compared to the Musket which could miss a barn door given a slight twitch). then I’m sure we would still be shooting short pointy sticks at each other.

Just a few of those steps for loading a musket

Shoulder your musket

Order your musket

Port your musket

Prime your pan

Priming pan with black powder

Blowing off loose powder

Cast about your musket

Put up your charge

Putting up measured charge of black powder


Draw forth your scouring stick

Ram home your charge

Replace your scouring stick

Try your match

Trying match position against the closed pan

Present your piece

Open your pan, or prepare to give fire.

Give……. FIRE!!!!

So having begin the day at about 9.15am actual filming started sometime after 1pm (and after a nice Cheese and tomato sarnie made by the authors fair hands)

What surprised me most is that the filming wasn’t the highlight of the day, the highlight was meeting so many great people, the cast and crew and the re-enactors, and a lunch time talking about and comparing swords, different film sets they had been on, civil war action and items that have become modern phrases (EG: a misfire that burned the powder in the pan: Flash in the Pan) and much much more.

Also meeting and getting to know Elizabeth the lovely and interesting Press officer, The author (and Mrs the author), I felt like I had been dropped into a group of old friends having a day out and a laugh. (the guns were a bonus).

The actual filming was not the level of action you would expect, I had expected a level of repetition but was still surprised buy just how much. But I think the bit that surprised me most was the fine detail filming, the close up shots of the Pan the cord, the loading mechanism etc.

The whole experience possibly could have been boring to some, but me, I wanted to be signed up then and there to come work with these guys

( ) all the time, added to also wanting to go work with Elizabeth at the publishers, it was an utterly blissful day for me.

And even after all that filming, having see lots of angles and shots and smoke and shot, I still think I’m going to be amazed and thrilled by the finished article.

So I suppose in summary I would say if anyone ever offers you the chance to go to a film shoot, get your hand up and GO!

If its a film shoot for a book you think is great and an author who is just a great bloke put both hands up and jump up and down until they notice you, days like this don’t come along often.

Giles when you film book 2 (Me me me me Pick me).


Follow the link to the reviews of all books by Giles Kristian but especially to the fantastic The Bleeding Land.

England 1642: a nation divided. England is at war with itself. King Charles and Parliament each gather soldiers to their banners. Across the land men prepare to fight for their religious and political ideals. Civil war has begun. A family ripped asunder. The Rivers are landed gentry, and tradition dictates that their allegiance is to the King. Sir Francis’ loyalty to the crown and his desire to protect his family will test them all. As the men march to war, so the women are left to defend their home against a ruthless enemy. Just as Edmund, the eldest of Sir Francis’ sons, will do his duty, so his brother Tom will turn his back on all he once believed in… A war that will change everything. From the raising of the King’s Standard at Nottingham to the butchery and blood of Edgehill, Edmund and Tom Rivers will each learn of honour, sacrifice, hatred and betrayal as they follow their chosen paths through this most savage of wars.


The Bleeding Land

The Bleeding Land by Giles Krisitan is very different from his previous series the Raven. This book may be set at the outset of a bloody and violent Civil War and have Raven fans slavering for blood, but the book is very much about family, familial bonds and how they become tested strained and broken by War (especially Civil War). ….dont worry there are battles.

There are some great insights into the relationships between the Brothers Tom and Mun and also the strain that exists in any time period between a father and his sons who are bordering adulthood, and asserting their opinions and thoughts over the opinions and thoughts of the man who has guided them to maturity.
Add in the devoted sister and the strength of the mother, who is the backbone of every family, especially in a time of War when she has to run and guide the family and this alone is a tale well worth reading.

But that is only a single facet of the Bleeding Land, because as the title suggests, religion and politics are tearing the land apart and so into this normal family mix you can throw 17th Century life, society/ hierarchy, politics and family dynamics, and a country tearing itself apart over Monarchist power v Parliament, religion and as some might see it a popular uprising (English Revolution).

In this tumultuous backdrop Giles introduces us to and weaves us into the lives of the Rivers in such a way that you feel part of the family, the hurts the trials the passions, the success and the failures they belong to you the reader as much as the characters.
I have read quite a few civil war titles and the only one before now not to bore me was Plague Child by Peter Ransley. Both that title and this one took the civil war to a new place for me, removed it from the boring drone of a History teacher who hated the subject, and who’s voice had stuck with me for anything to do with that period, to something new exciting, something relevant to me my family and my history and something i want to learn about.

Any book and writer that can achieve the above for me has a huge success on the cards, i just wish that Giles was up to 2 books a year, the thought of an entire year before the next in the series is a hard pill to swallow.

I highly recommend this book, for writing skill, story telling and because its so different in style from the Brilliant Raven series, and yet also a Brilliant read, not many authors can pull off a change in period and style and do it so well. A rare talent.

Click link to visit author site

Giles has led a varied life to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for two and a half years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

In 2008 Giles signed a publishing deal with Transworld and February 2009 saw the release of Raven: Blood Eye, the first in a three-part historical adventure series. This debut made the bestseller lists and the series has achieved critical acclaim including a glowing accolade from Giles’ favourite author, Bernard Cornwell. The second in the trilogy, Sons of Thunder, was released in hardback in 2010 and will be published in paperback in April this year along with the third book, Odin’s Wolves.

Meanwhile, Giles has signed with Transworld for a new series, this one set against the backdrop of the English Civil War. He is currently writing the first of these novels.

This new book is due out on the 26th April 2012

Buy the book from

for the competition im sorry i dont have any spare signed Giles Kristian books, so im giving away something as good, a signed Limited hardback edition of Ben Kanes Road to Rome

1 What was the name of the boy band that Giles was a member of?

2 What is the release date for this title?

3 During which conflict is this book set?

4 have you purchased your copy yet?

all entries to

And finally the finished article


Filed under Historical Fiction

6 responses to “The Bleeding Land by Giles Kristian :Trailer Shoot & Win a Book Competition

  1. Pingback: The Bleeding Land book trailer shoot | Historytellers

  2. Pingback: My stand out books, and Fav’s of 2012, and the publishers who do so much for me and others. | parmenionbooks

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  6. Pingback: Giles Kristian Wings of the Storm (2016) Blog Tour Review + Q&A | parmenionbooks

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