I received a free ebook for my honest review.
About the Book:
Publication Date: September 19, 2013
Hadley Rille Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
On the 11th June in 1488, two armies meet in battle at Sauchieburn, near Stirling. One fights for King James the Third of Scotland, the other is loyal to his eldest son, Prince James, Duke of Rothesay.
Soon, James the Third is dead, murdered as he flees the field. His army is routed. Among the dead is Sir Thomas Sempill of Ellestoun, Sheriff of Renfrew, whose son and heir, John, escapes with his life.
Once John’s career as knight and courtier seemed assured. But with the death of his king, his situation is fragile. He’s the only surviving son of the Sempill line and he’s unmarried. If he hopes to survive, John must try and win favour with the new king.
And deal with the ruthless and powerful Lord Montgomerie…
About the Author:
Born in Glasgow, Louise Turner spent her early years in the west of Scotland where she attended the University of Glasgow. After graduating with an MA in Archaeology, she went on to complete a PhD on the Bronze Age metalwork hoards of Essex and Kent. She has since enjoyed a varied career in archaeology and cultural resource management. Writing has always been a major aspect of her life and in 1988, she won the Glasgow Herald/Albacon New Writing in SF competition with her short story Busman’s Holiday. Louise lives with her husband in west Renfrewshire.
Fire & Sword covers a tumultuous time in Scottish history. There are a lot of players just in and around the old and new king let alone out in the countryside. Add in the change of titles as the old guard falls to the new and titles switch from one to another and it’s enough to need a scorecard. And a scorecard I did need especially as the book switched quickly from place to place and character to character. At the start of the book it felt a bit like whiplash but I did finally settle down into the rhythm of the book,
James Sempill follows his father to war against the forces fighting for the young prince. He finds himself on the losing side. He is gravely wounded but survives, unlike his father. He goes home to take over his hereditary title as sheriff but things are not to run so smoothly as it’s possible he might be considered a traitor. He does have the support of another laird and they form an uneasy alliance.
There are a number of stories circulating around the main character of James as he struggles to find his way in a new world. He must claim his inheritance, marry and make sure his line continues. The nobles behind the new king are all jostling to secure their new power bases and no one is really safe.
I think I might have enjoyed this book a bit more had it not been as disjointed as it was, It made it hard for me to get into and hard for me to learn who was who at the start of the book. As the sections were so short before they switched to another character I didn’t have time to invest and learn the character before another was introduced. I spent the first third of the book a touch confused. I eventually sorted it all out but I just never found myself lost in the story as I generally do with a book.
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