Category Archives: David Gilman

David Gilman : Vipers Blood (Blog Tour Guest Post) + Competition

viper

Viper’s Blood
David Gilman

With the English army at the gates of Paris, Blackstone faces his deadliest mission yet. The fourth in the grittiest historical fiction series.

Published: 9th February 2017 | Price: £18.99

Buy a Signed Limited Edition

Read Review

Winter 1360: Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest English host ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict.

Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort the Dauphin’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family. Blackstone, the French are certain, will not leave Milan alive…

 

Competition

 Question: In what Year is did Edward Invade France??

Please Follow the blog and email me @ parmenionbooks@yahoo.co.uk with the answer.

Winner gets a Signed Limited edition HB of Defiant Unto Death

(UK Only i’m afraid)

Guest Post by David Gilman

DAVID GILMAN BLOG POST

 

February 2017

I had spent several years writing the television series, A Touch of Frost and was working on the penultimate episode prior to Sir David Jason retiring from the series. I had a few of my own television projects ideas in mind but for some time had been tempted to write, and tackle, novels. Once I had delivered the script and gone through rehearsals and rewrites my contract came to an end. I had lived in Africa and was keen to explore that fascinating country further with a Young Adult thriller that had a strong emotional basis for a teenage hero, but was also a novel that encapsulated elements like the threats to the environment and tribal people. The result was a full-length novel, the first in the Danger Zone series, called The Devil’s Breath.

An assassination attempt on my teenage hero, Max Gordon, whose scientist father had gone missing in Africa, was the starting point that took him from his school on Dartmoor to the vast expanse of African veld. The book also allowed me to explore the culture of the San Bushman in the Kalahari Desert. So I had a really good mix within the story. (Following publication I was invited by Survival International to the ‘Parliamentary All Party Committee on Tribal Peoples’ where I met two tribal representatives, Roy Sesana and Kgosimontle Kebuelemang.) This first novel also became a recommended book for the government reading scheme for boys even before the manuscript was published. It became the first in a three-book series starring Max Gordon and was followed by Ice Claw and Blood Sun, all of which were published in a dozen languages.

Then it was time to decide whether to continue with Young Adult fiction – a fascinating place to be with many school visits – or to try a different tack. I was about to go back to a life of crime (writing that is) and a novel I had been planning, but then I saw a fresco of a grand looking gent on a war horse in Florence’s Duomo. It was an English mercenary captain who lived and fought in Italy in the 14th century. I was intrigued because I knew nothing about the period. When I pitched the idea to my agent as to whether I should write the crime story or the historical fiction novel she urged me to write the 14th century book. And that was when I created Thomas Blackstone, archer, and later knight and leader of a group of men who fought across France and Italy in one of the most turbulent times of our history. (Although I had no idea where this character was going, development-wise.)

These things tend to take me along as an observer and I simply write down what I see.) I quickly realized that I couldn’t start in Italy and had to double back a bit so that Thomas Blackstone had a backstory.

gilman I was very keen to explore the universal experience of young men going to war for the first time, but who was he before this terrifying experience overtook him?  How did children and young people live in those times? The more I read – and I did a lot of what turned out to be rather daunting research – I began to piece together the story and character of this young man. Blackstone was only sixteen years old when he was called up to fight in 1346. He was a quick-witted young man who cared for his brother, a deaf-mute, and so began his character development and an early emotional complexity in the story. Children were put to work early on in those days and I decided that Blackstone had worked in a quarry since the age of six and then as a stonemason. Now I had a man who had muscle, brains and stamina and like many other village boys he had the strength and ability to draw what became known as the longbow.

And then to war. It was a brutal, unforgiving age with a counterpoint of chivalry. Courtly love, poetry, dance and the ideals of the Arthurian age tempered even the most famous of warrior knights, but if you were a bog-standard soldier you were underfed, underpaid and faced severe punishment for any wrongdoing. Having been a soldier I remembered only too well being cold, wet, exhausted and scared (and I was certainly underpaid) and that, along with the black humour familiar to anyone who works in danger and has experienced violence and death gave my characters a ‘Band of Brothers’ camaraderie.

When time permits I like to broaden my own horizons as a writer and try and squeeze in the occasional standalone novel. It usually takes a fairly long time writing part-time in the hours after the battle of the Master of War series is being waged during the day. My latest standalone is The Last Horseman, a story I had wanted to write for some time. I was fascinated by the multitude of international characters who fought in the South African War, or the (second) Boer War as it became more commonly known. I had visited some of the battle sites and it’s not hard to imagine the hardship undertaken in the conflict.  But I did not wish to have a hero of Thomas Blackstone’s stature who might have come across as a carbon copy. I chose, instead, a man in his late forties, a lawyer in Dublin, an American who represented those who often fought against the Crown. It was these turbulent times that forced him to go to war in South Africa in 1899. Joseph Radcliffe was a man who had experienced war in his youth and had no desire to do so again.  Against his will this anti-war character was obliged to revert to the killing skills he had known years before.

And now it’s time for me to return to Thomas Blackstone. I am about to deliver the manuscript of the fifth book, A Scourge of Wolves.And it’s not all hunky dory for Blackstone or his men. People we grow to love in the series die.

I like to have a strong sense of reality in my books and you can’t have life going on throughout a series without people getting killed. And so far in the Master of War series there have been plenty of shocks along the way.

And, of course, more to come.

END

The latest in David Gilman’s MASTER OF WAR series is VIPER’S BLOOD, the fourth title in the series. See more at www.davidgilman.com

Follow David on Twitter@davidgilmanuk

David Gilman enjoyed many careers, including firefighter, soldier and photographer, before turning to writing full time. He is an award-winning author and screenwriter.

Photograph: Writing Master of War series – Italy.

© Suzy Chiazzari.

 

 

 

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David Gilman: Vipers Blood (Review)

David Gilman UK flag

David Gilman's picture

David Gilman has had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for Penguin South Africa.

He is also a hugely successful television screenwriter. For the last six years he has been principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way.

Now, David is based in Devon, where he lives with his wife.

book cover of Viper's Blood

Buy a Signed Limited HB

and

Buy a Signed Limited HB edition of Defiant Unto Death

A gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty’ ROBERT FABBRI.

Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest host England has ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict.

Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family to revenge the defeats he inflicted on them. Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive..

Review

Book four in the Master of War series and the bone crunching intensity of this series shows no signs of abating. Blackstone and his men leading the way, first at Reims and then onward towards Paris, the war of muck, mire and attrition takes its toll on all and truce is finally in the air. Tasked with taking the kings daughter to his deadliest enemies  the Vipers of Milan, Benarbo and Galeazzo to see her married to Galeazzo’s son and thus provide the funds to secure the release of the King of France, this sale was vital to the stability of Europe. Yet to Thomas Blackstone it was a means of access to the man or men who arranged the death of his wife and child. Revenge is in the air, will Blackstones rage cloud his judgement, can his friends survive to aid him in his wrath?

As ever David Gilman provides us with a well researched book set right in the heart of the action of 1300’s war torn Europe. There is no pretension to pomp and parade, even royalty is down in the mud and the damp, their only concessions to rank being the ability to get dry and eat better food than their men. With Gilmans writing, you can feel the ooze of the mud, the bite of the cold, most of all you can feel the weight of the sword and armour, the draw and weight of the bow and the rushing death of the arrow storm and the disregard of mortality.

But if you mistake this book and series for just the hack of the sword you would be missing out on so much more depth. Blackstone is a complex man, with a deep loyalty to his men and to his King. His honour is something he holds dear, but not so dear that he would get his men killed needlessly for it. He wages war for soldiers and men, he will not stand for the rape and murder if innocents, his punishments are swift and they are brutally final. He is a no nonsense man who holds his emotions close, his feelings for his men expressed in bluff soldiers conversation and friendly abuse, his love for his son threatening to overwhelm him while at the same time he knows he must raise him to be hardy enough to survive this brutal world and so appearing at times the cold father. All this is reflected upon as is Blackstone’s battle with his own guilt and grief over the death of his wife and child, he may have dragged himself from the bottle, but for a man like him, facing all that emotion is not an easy task…. and i pity the person in front of him when he is having a bad day dealing with it all.

A truly excellent book and part of an excellent series.

(Parm)

Series
Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
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Master of War
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
4. Viper’s Blood (2016)
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Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)
The Last Horseman (2016)
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The David Gilman: Master of War (Series Review + Competition)

David Gilman

David Gilman's picture

David Gilman has had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for Penguin South Africa.

He is also a hugely successful television screenwriter. For the last six years he has been principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way.

Now, David is based in Devon, where he lives with his wife.

book cover of Master of War

Buy From Waterstones

MASTER OF WAR

England, 1346: For Thomas Blackstone the choice is easy – dance on the end of a rope for a murder he did not commit, or take up his war bow and join the king’s invasion. As he fights his way across northern France, Blackstone learns the brutal lessons of war – from the terror and confusion of his first taste of combat, to the savage realities of siege warfare.

Vastly outnumbered, Edward III’s army will finally confront the armoured might of the French nobility on the field of Crecy. It is a battle that will change the history of warfare, a battle that will change the course of Blackstone’s life, a battle that will forge a legend.

book cover of Defiant Unto Death

Buy Signed Limited edition

FRANCE: 1356. Ten years ago, the greatest army in Christendom was slaughtered at Crecy. Archer Thomas Blackstone stood his ground and left that squalid field a knight. He has since carved out a small fiefdom in northern France, but the woulds of war still bleed and a traitor has given the King of France the means to destroy the English knight and his family. As the traitor’s net tightens, so the French King’s army draws in. Blackstone will stand and fight. He will defy his friends, his family and his king. He may yet defy death, but he can’t defy his destiny: MASTER OF WAR.

book cover of Gate of the Dead

Buy Signed Ltd edition

Hundred Years War. It is a gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty. The stench and harshness of medieval life is ever present’ ROBERT FABBRI, bestselling author of the Vespasian series. Tuscany, 1358: Thomas Blackstone has built a formidable reputation in exile, fighting as a mercenary amid the ceaseless internecine warring of Italy’s City States. But success has bred many enemies, and when a dying man delivers a message recalling him to England, it seems almost certain to be a trap. Yet Blackstone cannot disobey – the summons is at the Queen’s demand. On his journey, Blackstone will brave the terrors of the High Alps in winter, face the Black Prince in tournament, confront the bloody anarchy of a popular revolt and submit to trial by combat. And every step of the way, he will be shadowed by a notorious assassin with orders to despatch him to Hell.

Series Review

A Series that starts with a bang Master of War (click for original review), set  in the Hundred Years War and introduces us to the life of former stonemason and now English longbowman Thomas Blackstone during the Battle of Crécy in 1346. With all the animosity on a battlefield you would expect it to be between the 2 foes, but the nature of alliances mean that the English and Welsh as ever have a fair bit of animosity… very similar to the French and Normans (no one got along then, or now), but it all makes for a great backdrop for war, where the hatred between England and France trumps all (and did it ever really get any better).  The location allows the author to draw on the imagery of the stunning landscape and castles, to provide some truly epic battle scenes and scenery.

Book one is in the main a book about War, and the Growth of Thomas as a warrior.

Defiant Unto Death (click for original review), is set in 1356, ten years have passed and our lead character the Longbowman, Thomas Blackstone was knighted on the field of Crécy by the Black Prince, such is his skill and prowess. In the intervening period (between books) Sir Thomas has become lord of the manor, Husband and father. But being a Knight has its obligations. Thomas’ Prowess and skills soon earn him powerful enemies, this in the form of The Savage Priest, as nasty a character as you will meet in a book and an implacable, nasty enemy. An enemy that pursues our hero through war, we go from battle to battle (notably Poitiers) , again the authors descriptive is something that clearly shows his TV background, the visuals for scenery and most of all grim death and gore on the battlefield are painted with every sentence. As with Most really great Historical Fiction, the hero is some distance short of perfect, his imperfections clear, and yet his striving and humanity making him so much more real.

Gate of the Dead set in 1358, The shine has gone from Sir Thomas Blackstone, now banished from England forced into the roving the continent he finds himself with his men in Tuscany. Out of the Blue he is recalled to England to fight alongside the man who he assumed hates him, The Black prince, not knowing the truth of the matter he must go, no one can refuse the Queen of England he is honour bound to go home (that and its in the plot). His journey home isn’t going to be a quick trip on the eurostar, this is a plague ravaged continent, full of roving bands of men most of them desperate or beholden to brutal lords, in his usual approachable style Thomas is soon cutting a bloody swathe home. David Gilman in his usual graphic and uncompromising style gives us (in my opinion) a very original and real picture of the time, no gloss of modern sensibility is added to this fantastic tale of personal growth in bloody times.

Coming soon: full review of Vipers Blood (see below)

(Parm)

Competition

If you can email me a Pre order confirmation for Vipers Blood (to parmenionbooks@yahoo.co.uk), then i will enter you in the draw for a Signed Limited edition of Defiant unto death.

Draw to be made on 9th Feb

Pre-Order a Signed Limited Edition

 

book cover of Viper's Blood

Winter, 1360: Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest English host ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict. Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree to a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort the Dauphin’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family. Blackstone, the French are certain, will not leave Milan alive.

Series
Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
thumbnailthumbnailthumbnail
Master of War
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
4. Viper’s Blood (2016)
thumbnailthumbnailthumbnailthumbnail
Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)
The Last Horseman (2016)
thumbnailthumbnail

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David Gilman: The Last Horseman (Review)

David Gilman
UK

David Gilman
David Gilman has had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for Penguin South Africa.
He is also a hugely successful television screenwriter. For the last six years he has been principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way.
Now, David is based in Devon, where he lives with his wife.

Author Website

last horseman

Pre-Order a signed Limited edition

Dublin, 1899. On a foul night in a troubled city, lawyer Joseph Radcliffe watches the execution of a young Irish rebel. Radcliffe, together with his black American comrade Benjamin Pierce, has made a living defending the toughest cases in Dublin, but is haunted by the spectre of his defeats, the loss of his wife and child and his difficult relationship with his surviving son, Edward. While Ireland smoulders with rebellion, war breaks out in South Africa and when, after an argument with his father, Edward runs away to join the Irish forces fighting there, Radcliffe, accompanied by Pierce, sets out to find him and bring him home.

South Africa, 1900. Both Radcliffe and Pierce have known war. Former cavalrymen in the US army, they have seen enough killing to last them a lifetime. But eight hundred miles north of Cape Town, amid the trackless veld, they experience the bloody brutality of a conflict that the British generals are shocked to discover they are losing. Under fire from Boer snipers and artillery, distrusted by the British forces, the two old soldiers will find their survival skills tested to the hilt as they search for the missing boy in this epic tale of heroism and treachery, love and loyalty.

Review

As a rule i tend to avoid books that touch on the troubles in Ireland, too close to home, and a bit modern. But this book was always much more than that, it may start in Ireland and the Irish element but its the Boer War that is the core of this book, and the Boer war is something that interests me. A war that is on the cusp on the changes from cavalry warfare to something more mechanised, smokeless gunpoweder, magazine fed rifles and SLR rifles, providing a war where the death toll starts to go to sickening levels. One misconception that has long been in my head as a British invention (the concentration camp), turns out to be a Spanish / American contribution to the modern world (proving you can always learn something new), the american version from the civil war being labeled POW camps, but were in effect the same thing, Spain having the first true “Reconcentrado” (concentration camp) to control the Cuban people. Its these and the more powerful guns and rifles, coupled with the “Kommando” tactics of the Boer that start to change the face of modern warfare and provide a powerful backdrop for the author.

Into this maelstrom a young boy is cast, running from his home and past, trying to find his place in the world and understand himself, followed closely by his father Joseph Radcliffe and comrade Benjamin Pierce. Its this relationship that brings the world alive. Both ex-military men from the american wars, both men forged by the fire of battle and the horror of war, men closer than brothers and yet to others who would see them, a white man with his black servant? friend? the label would depend on where they are for the presumption of the role. Introducing the dynamic to this period in South Africa you have the Boer who see them as little more than beasts of burden, chattel to be used. The British, who should be so much more enlightened, can only see a black as a local and again a tool to be used, not a person. While the story progresses with action, and daring on the part of our two heroes, we also see a damning view of how recently we were all so unenlightened, even after so long running an empire spanning many nations, races and colours, the British class system still in place but starting to chow some cracks, and the corruption and rigidity that ran the empire.

David Gilmans writing is as always powerful and sympathetic to the subject, feeling the comradeship of the men, the horror of the death doled out in war, and yet the respect and enmity even hate that can been created for an enemy. This being a war against a militia rather than an organised (traditional) army the feelings expressed by soldiers on both sides can be very polarised. all of this captured in such a timeless tale of father and son coming to terms with each other, family history, father protecting son etc..

This is a book i highly recommend, for the stand alone story, for the sympathetic way its told, and for the simply excellent writing that drags you from rain soaked Ireland to the dusty plains of South Africa, making you experience every step and emotion along the way.

(Parm)

Series
Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
Master of War
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
 
Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)
The Last Horseman (2016)

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David Gilman: Defiant unto Death (Review)

About David Gilman
gilman da
David Gilman has had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for Penguin South Africa.
He is also a hugely successful television screenwriter. For the last six years he has been principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way.Now, David is based in Devon, where he lives with his wife.
defiant

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.

Review:

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)

(Parm)

Series
Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
Master of War
1. The Blooding (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2016)
Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)

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