The Blooding (2013)
(The first book in the Master of War series)
A novel by David Gilman
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 Crécy. 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.
THE BLOODING is the first part of the David Gilman’s epic novel MASTER OF WAR, published on 01 August 2013. Readers of Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow and Bernard Cornwell will be delighted to discover a new series to follow.
Is Rome becoming the period of the past? More and more books and series seem to be gravitating to medieval periods and warfare. This is no bad thing, a change to different times, different outlooks on the aspects and manner of war. A change in weapons and a change in the pre-eminent
There are as many rich periods and great battles to centre a series around, and so many more nations to look at and explore.
Of all the battles and wars David Gilman has chosen one of the true stand outs; The battle of Crecy, set during the Hundred Years War.
My personal knowledge of the period is not the best, and that’s what I love about more and more authors writing in this period, it’s a chance for me to learn something new. Can I be educated at the same time as entertained?
In Master of War we the reader are introduced to one of the kings archers, Thomas Blackstone, a boy trained from childhood (as were all boys) to master the English longbow. The longbow was at the time THE weapon of destruction, ranks of archers firing bows of over 100lb draw, with a destructive force that could pierce plate armour, thus nullifying the French superior numbers in chivalry.
This book is a brilliant mix or characterisation, intrigue, battles, nationalities, history, enmity, courage, cowardice, fear and bravery. But ultimately for this period it is Chivalry that rules the day, the rules of chivalry that bind nobleman or all nations, as long as you are of noble blood, the peasants are as ever…fodder for the mill of war. This does not lessen the brutality of war, it does not reduce the death count in the field or war, in the destruction of castles and sieges, it just adds a set of rules, rules iron clad and the breaching of such would lead to outrage, ridicule and shunning by all sides.
Thomas soon becomes a man to know, and a man to fear, a bringer of death in a world or death dealers. Life is short and to be lived to the full, love is quick, and comradeship earned, won, lost and grieved over many times in short periods. It’s a harsh life and one that Thomas Blackstone is good at.
I was very impressed an immersed in this book, the only bits that brought me up short were the depiction of the ladies and attitudes towards them. While I know we are in a period where women were chattel for many men, they were also many strong women, women who led through a power behind the throne, and some who were a lot more overt, and I’m not sure that all men were so universally of that opinion. But this was my only nit-pick with the book, a book that I really enjoyed and look forward to more.
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)