Category Archives: Michael Arnold

Michael Arnold: Highwayman Winter Swarm

Michael Arnold

Michael lives in Hampshire with his wife and young son. His childhood holidays were spent visiting castles and battlefields, but his fascination with the civil wars was piqued partly by the fact that his hometown and region of Hampshire are steeped in Civil War history.

Author Website

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“I fight for vengeance. Only vengeance. At night I dream of what was lost, and by day I look to hurt those who took it from me.”

England: December, 1655.

The nation is reeling from the turmoil of bloody civil war, the forces of King Charles have been utterly defeated and England is now in the iron grip of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate.

Major Samson Lyle, once a member of Cromwell’s Roundhead army, and now the infamous outlaw, Ironside Highwayman, has been forced into exile.

Scarred by the massacre of innocents in Ireland he turned his back on the all-conquering English army, but in retaliation his beloved wife Alice was tracked down and killed.

Spurred on by revenge Lyle is now the predator, not the prey. The most feared highwayman in all England, he hunts quarry on the nation’s roads. Any who performed the duties of a cog in Cromwell’s grand machine is under threat.

Along with his trusted young ward Bella, and Eustace Grumm, an irascible former smuggler, Lyle has dodged the ever-present threat of capture, but now it is time to bring the fight to his enemies…

With a brilliant scheme to bring the army to its knees, Lyle must find a way to destroy his pursuers before they destroy him …

Review

Im a huge fan of Micheal Arnold’s writing, his main characters are always do deep and dark, filled with a rich past and a well of anger that knows no bottom. he is better known for his Stryker books, but one of my favorite pieces of his writing was Highwayman: Ironside, a novella i felt would make a fantastic start to a series. So when i saw that another had been written in this wonderful series i did a little air punch ( a big thank you to Endeavour Press ) .

Once again this is a novella a tidy little 63 pages, but packed full of deep dark characters, with Samson Lyle once again plotting hislatest form of revenge on the forces of Parliament, Arnold a master at keeping you guessing manages to pack a full story arc into these 63 pages and at the same time build some new characters, instill action, adventure and humor while keeping you on the edge of your seat form first page to the last.

Loved this, and still think the author should look for a full length novel for this character.

(Parm)

Series

 

Civil War Chronicles
1. Traitor’s Blood (2010)
2. Devil’s Charge (2011)
3. Hunter’s Rage (2012)
4. Assassin’s Reign (2013)
5. Warlord’s Gold (2014)
6. Marston Moor (2015)
Stryker and the Angels of Death (2013)
The Prince’s Gambit (2015)

 

Highwayman
1. Ironside (2013)
2. Winter Swarm (2015)

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Michael Arnold: Marston Moor (review)

Mike

Authors web site

Michael lives in Hampshire with his wife and two children. His childhood holidays were spent visiting castles and battlefields, but his fascination with the civil wars was piqued partly by the fact that his hometown and region of Hampshire are steeped in Civil War history.

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The Sixth in The Civil War Chronicles featuring Major Stryker – ‘the Sharpe of the Civil War’ FIVE ARMIES FORTY-SIX THOUSAND MEN ONE CROWN THE BIGGEST BATTLE OF THE AGE 2 July 1644. Five armies converge outside York. It will be a battle for honour, glory, and the fate of three kingdoms. And it will pit two great leaders – Oliver Cromwell and Prince Rupert – directly against one another for the first time. It is a day that will change the course of history. Into the cannon fire and musket smoke marches Major Innocent Stryker, battle-scarred hero of the Royalist cause. He must not only lead his men through the bloody horror and outwit his Parliamentary enemies, but uncover foul treachery on his own side. He will need every shred of experience and determination to survive. Marston Moor will be the decisive turning point in the British Civil Wars. This is the thrilling and shocking story of that battle

Review:

Marston Moor:

This is not a tale for the faint hearted, this is war, and of all types it’s the worst, Civil War at its peak rages across England, the Scots have joined parliament and the combined armies march south laying siege to York, drawing Prince Rupert north in a lightning series of battles to clear a path through Lancashire and secure his rear and also a resupply point at Liverpool. The Royal master of horse is at his best and runs rampant and is soon on his way to York to relieve the siege… the result of this brilliant march is the ill-fated  (for him) battle of Marston Moor.

This book pulls no punches, it starts as it means to go on with a realistically dark and brutal retelling of the sacking of Bolton, where our man Innocent Stryker encounters “The Vulture” for the first time. The sacking of Bolton is a very dark passage in this book, but it sets up the introduction of key characters and their motivations in the story, why Stryker is where he is and what drives him. The grim aspect of war is needed and as ever with Michael Arnolds writing it is uncompromising yet eloquently written, there are no rose tinted glasses anywhere near this book. War is hell and Civil War in 1644 England was mud, excrement, alcohol, blood and prayers. It needed hard men on both sides.

The parallels I always find myself seeing with this particular period of history is in a comparison between elements of the Parliamentarian War machine and ISIS (or similar) , it’s the religious fervour, the unwavering belief that all should bend to their view of god, the destruction of all that has gone before, the fact that a Man like William Dowsing titled “Commissioner for the destruction of monuments of idolatry and superstition” existed furthers that view. Parliament was a nest of religious zealots, but it also was the footprint for the recognition of men of trade over mean of nobility. Likewise the side of the King isn’t all about privilege and nobility.  The author has a fantastic way of walking the middle ground with Innocent Stryker, whom despite being one of the Kings men you can also feel him waver at times to some of the ideals of Parliament, especially when some entitled twerp goes off and loses a battle whilst seeking individual glory.

The Vast majority of this book is one battle, it is the battle of Marston Moor, it charts the rise of Oliver Cromwell’s star and the beginning of the end for the cause of the king, many may not like that so much of a book is committed to a single battle, but its not all cut and slash. It’s the ebb and flow of the fight, it’s the tactics and politics of the different wings of the opposing armies sand the men who commanded them, it’s the foot against the mounted, the pikes and the lance, the musket and the man, Swords and armour.  Amongst all of this Stryker has a charge to protect a secret to ponder and all the while hounded by the Vulture and his men, hell bent on killing Stryker and anyone who gets in their way.

I love the way that Michael Arnold weaves his characters through the battle and the history of the time, interspersing them in legitimate and utterly believable ways into the action, always where its hottest but never making anyone a super human. This book more than any before has surprises, and the author is not afraid to put any character in harm’s way, you never quite know who will make it to the end of the chapter.

This is a highly enjoyable series, one that grows in maturity with every book, and leaves you fulfilled but wanting move every time. Michael is also one of a select group of authors who writes a battle so well you can smell the battlefield and hear the crash of the cannon and muskets. (he brings the whole period to life around the reader)

I highly recommend both the book and the series.

(Parm)

Civil War Chronicles
1. Traitor’s Blood (2010)
2. Devil’s Charge (2011)
3. Hunter’s Rage (2012)
4. Assassin’s Reign (2013)
5. Warlord’s Gold (2014)
6. Marston Moor (2015)
Stryker and the Angels of Death (2013)

Novellas
Highwayman: Ironside (2013)
Non fiction
The Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill’s Biggest Blunder(2011)
Hollow Heroes (2015)

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Michael Arnold: Warlords Gold (Review)

Michael Arnold

Mike

UK
Michael lives in Hampshire with his wife and young son. His childhood holidays were spent visiting castles and battlefields, but his fascination with the civil wars was piqued partly by the fact that his hometown and region of Hampshire are steeped in Civil War history.

Book Description

warlords gold

3 July 2014 The Civil War Chronicles

Autumn,1643. As an increasingly bitter war rages across England, Captain Innocent Stryker leaves Oxford with orders to recover a lost treasure, vital to the success of the Royalist cause. But a seemingly simple mission to the remote Scilly Isles is soon jeopardised, for enemies lie in wait. A formidable Parliamentarian agent has been sent ahead of Stryker’s force, intent on defeating Royalist plans. Feared by ally and enemy alike, he is a man whose determination is only matched by his hatred for Stryker.

The quest for the gold takes Stryker across storm-ravaged seas, through enemy territory and finally to the Royalist stronghold of Basing House. And it is there that Stryker will face his most dangerous challenge yet.

Review

Reading Innocent Stryker is always a pleasure, I’m not even going to try and lead up to is this book any good, It is, its Bloody good. I had one more day left on my holiday, i got up took the little one to nursery, came home made a cuppa and sat in my sunny conservatory. The next eight hours were a trip back in time, a dark revenge fueled mission for a man from Strykers past. Can Stryker survive the violent world of Civil War England? will his past catch up and kill him? will his weaknesses and hidden compassion’s cause his ruination.

From dark Scilly isles shrouded in storm and misery, through to the wild rides and action of Basing House, a story jammed with every type of action and emotion, the book is a truly exhausting roller-coaster of emotion and action.

There are very few authors and subjects I can read for 464 pages and Michael Arnold is very much one of them, When you get an writer with the skill and ability to blend sublime and realistic characterization with superbly researched plot and that fictional flair to make the story race along and fire the imagination, that’s when you have a winner and a book and writer that not only should be on the best seller list, but very much has earned the right to be there.

This book as you might have guessed will be competing come December for the Parmenionbooks book of the year, what ever happens its easily going to be Top 5.

I don’t think i need to say anything else, because if you’re not convinced to buy this by now you never will be… go buy it and read for your self.

(Parm)

Series
Civil War Chronicles
1. Traitor’s Blood (2010)
2. Devil’s Charge (2011)
3. Hunter’s Rage (2012)
4. Assassin’s Reign (2013)
5. Warlord’s Gold (2014)
Stryker and the Angels of Death (2013)
Traitor's BloodDevil's ChargeHunter's RageAssassin's Reign
Warlord's GoldStryker and the Angels of Death
Novellas
Highwayman: Ironside (2013)
Highwayman: Ironside

 

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Michael Arnold