James Wilde is a Man of Mercia. Raised in a world of books, James studied economic history at university before travelling the world in search of adventure. He was unable to forget a childhood encounter in the pages of a comic with the great English warrior, Hereward. Wilde returned to the haunted fenlands of Eastern England, Hereward’s ancestral home, where he became convinced that this legendary hero should be the subject of his first novel. Wilde now indulges his love of history and the high life in the home his family have owned for several generations, in the heart of a Mercian forest.
1067. The battle ofHastingshas been lost; Harold Godwinsson is dead. The iron fist of William the Bastard has begun to squeeze the life out ofEngland. Villages are torched and men, women and children put to the sword as the Norman king attempts to impose his cruel will upon this unruly nation.
But there is one who stands in the way of the invader’s savagery. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and master tactician and as adept at slaughter as the imposter who sits upon the throne. And he isEngland’s last hope.
In a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood, Hereward’s resistance is simmering.
His army of outcasts grows by the day – a devil’s army that emerges out of the mists and the night, leaving death in its wake.
But William is not easily cowed. Under the command of his ruthless deputy, Ivo Taillebois – the man they call ‘the Butcher’ – the Norman forces will do whatever it takes to crush the rebels, even if it means razing England to the ground.
When i first started Hereward: Devils Army it was looking forward to what should be a great read. Book one Hereward was a fantastic book (see review http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hereward-ebook/product-reviews/B00563M1KS/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 )
So it was very worrying to start the book and struggle to get into it.
So I took a step back remembering that I know you have to be in the right frame of mind for every author and every book you read. Its why my TBR pile is so fluid. On reflection I think I pushed myself into this one and wasn’t ready, I was more conscious of the publication date than being ready for it. (I had just finished 4 Historical Fiction books back to back and I usually take a breather in-between)….
After a particularly light hearted cheesy thriller I picked Hereward The Devils army up again, and it clicked immediately, how? why had i struggled?
All I know is that instantly I was submerged in what is a splendidly visual piece of writing. So many sights sounds and smells written so well you can experience them all intimately. The characters grow again from book 1 to book 2, taking you further and further into life under the cosh of William Duke of Normandy. The side plots are all so enticing and aided the plot by giving the reader a much wider view of the realm at the time, rather than just the immediacy of Ely’s and Hereward’s experience.
When the threads finally pull together towards the final chapters its with such a sudden immediate increase in pace you really just cannot put the book down, even if you wanted too and the story is breath taking in its action, pace and horror.
So the worry for a debut author is always can you do it twice, can you repeat the eloquence of book one?
In this case Hell Yes!