The Black Prince has launched a devastating raid deep into France, laying waste to everything in his path. In response, the French have mustered an army that outnumbers the English forces 10 to 1 and are determined to drive their hated foe from the land after years of bloody conquest.
Sir Thomas Blackstone, the British archer knighted on the field of Crecy, has used the intervening years to forge his own war band and has hacked out his own fiefdom in central France. He knows the English are outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and exhausted….
But that will not stop him from fighting his way to one of history’s greatest military victories.
Defiant Unto Death is the second novel in David Gilman’s Master of War series, a a series following the life of Thomas Blackstone an English archer and knight, set in the early years of the Hundred Years War.
Defiant Unto Death unlike Book one (which was still an excellent novel), feels to me a much more complete novel, from pitched battles like the bloody Poitiers (one of the 3 great English victories) to the aim / thrust of this book the bloody and twisty vendetta between the savage priest and Thomas Blackstone. This novel can be dark, there are blood and guts a plenty, and it encompasses everyone in Blackstone’s life (no one is safe), yet the author writes his scenes so powerfully it literally drags the reader from being sickened to heart broken to utter relief and from page to page as fast as reading allows. Its that’s level of writing skill that helps this book stand apart from the crowd.
The setting of the 100 years war gives the author so much fodder for action and adventure, and with the jaw dropping back drops both scenic and historic, Gilman plays them like a maestro.
As with book one this will be a book up for discussion in the 2015 Top 10 come year end.
(and roll on book 3 Gate of the Dead)
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
1. The Blooding (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2016)