David Gilman has had an impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for an international publisher. He has countless radio, television and film credits before turning to novels. From 2000 until 2009 he was a principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. David currently lives in Devon with his wife.
Winter, 1361: Edward III has finally agreed a treaty with the captive French King, John II. In return for his freedom, John has ceded vast tracts of territory to the English. But the mercenary bands and belligerent lords will not give up their hard-won spoils to honour a defeated king’s promises.
As he battles to enforce Edward’s claim, Thomas Blackstone, once again, will face the might of the French army on the field. But this time there will be no English army at his back.
David Gilman – Scourge of Wolves.
The enmity between the French house of Valois and Thomas Blackstone is as fierce as always and if the French cannot corner him then they will turn his actions against him and persuade the English King that Thomas Blackstone is a murderer and a rapist. Any treaty between the English and the French is ignored when it comes to destroying Blackstone.
War and superstition were often travelling companions for the men who fought in medieval times. Portents of death were taken seriously, and no soldier wanted to die unshriven, without his sins being forgiven by a priest. In the winter of 1361 and then into 1362 France was still plagued with thousands of vicious armed men, ex-soldiers no longer held by their fealty to a lord or arrayed by their respective king, be they French, English, Gascons, Navarrese or German. Like the pestilence, they inflicted fear and devastation on the population. King Edward 111 had seemingly won his war against the French but now came the reckoning. Edward needs to claim what was no rightfully his and the French King, John 11, had to try and salvage what he could of his eviscerated country. The great set piece battles were no more there were many hard-fought contests between forces vying for power and influence.
Not only did routiers, mercenary bands, scour the land there was a civil war raging between Breton lords – a proxy war between the French and English. King John 11 backed one side, the English King the other, and amid this turmoil were those trying to claim the ceded territory due to the victorious English. Sir John Chandos the renowned knight, a man of great skill and political acumen was tasked with bringing those territories under English control and in Scourge of Wolves, it falls to Thomas Blackstone to defeat those who still opposed the will of the Crown. King Edward 111 played loose and fast with the treaty. He ordered any English mercenaries holding towns and land to return them to the French but in truth, he was slow to enforce this because it suited him to have the French tormented and to force them to concentrate their armies against the mercenaries. It served to keep these disaffected men fighting in France rather than to return to England and create havoc at home.
Here then was a complex and brutal time politically and militarily where the future of two nations rested on a satisfactory outcome of a fragile peace treaty. Ceded territories were contested and routiers seemed to be aiding Edward who had not rescinded his claim to the French crown. In this broad sweep of historical mayhem Scourge of Wolves is told mostly through the eyes of the common soldier and the man who leads them, Sir Thomas Blackstone. In every conflict, those who engage in the fighting see only the immediate danger and to write about this time of great upheaval I needed to simplify events, imagine interlocking incidents that occurred behind the scenes and create dramatic intrigue to drive forward the story. Real events, real people, others invented. And above all else to take my readers on a journey where the portent of death hovers remorselessly over my characters.
Many thanks for this insight David.
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
4. Viper’s Blood (2016)
5. Scourge of Wolves (2017)
Master of War Boxset: Books 1-3 (omnibus) (2017)
David gilman collection master of war series Books 1-4(omnibus) (2018)