Sir John Hawkwood was the most celebrated - or notorious - mercenary soldier of the Middle Ages. Commemorated by an extraordinary portrait image of Hawkwood on horseback in Florence cathedral by the great artist Uccello, the English soldier of fortune crowned his career by commanding the Florentine army at the age of 70. An Essex boy, Hawkwood rose from humble roots in his village to fight in Edward III s campaigns at the outset of the Hundred Years War. He travelled to Italy when already 40 and took a leading part in the constant internecine conflicts between the rival Italian city-states. His success over the following three turbulent decades are a tribute to his skills as a soldier - the aspect of Hawkwood s career that Stephen Cooper highlights in this exceptionally interesting book - a must for anyone interested in Mediaeval warfare.