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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. Cracking.
OK, you want a book set during the hundred years war. You want a hero of the people, a man who whilst facing the bleakest of times fights to keep his ideal's in the face of the enemy and of course a man who has to overcome a great deal to make his own way in the world. So what are you going to do?

Well to be blunt here, if you only read one historical debut...
Published 8 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

versus
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly frustrating waste of an evening
As a fan of medieval fiction I was more than willing to spend a few pennies on what I hoped would be a fresh take on the plague ridden Hundred years war. Unfortunately the book turned out to be a rather rough and rushed, but cheap, genre filler, with fairly weak characterisation and numerous historical inaccuracies appearing from the outset. When I say the outset I mean...
Published 7 months ago by A. J. Roberts


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. Cracking., 29 July 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
OK, you want a book set during the hundred years war. You want a hero of the people, a man who whilst facing the bleakest of times fights to keep his ideal's in the face of the enemy and of course a man who has to overcome a great deal to make his own way in the world. So what are you going to do?

Well to be blunt here, if you only read one historical debut this year, make it this one. The prose is sharper than a bodkin arrow, the pace faster than thought and to be honest it was a book that I just couldn't put down without being left to wonder what was next for the lead hero. The author has not only brought the time to life but also managed to give me a lead character that I not only want to spend time around but is a man of the people, coming from common stock with his skills taking him higher.

Add to this a great story arc, wonderful twists and of course the set up for future instalments all round make this a title that not only launched over a thousand arrows but I'm sure will launch David Gilman to a ravenous reading public to sate their historical fiction action needs. Great stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of War, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Master of War
Very good read. sometimes unputdownable. Page turner.
recommended to everyone who enjoys a good historical and good storytelling.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book, 19 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
The Blooding is an excellent book with characters that brings the medieval period in which it is set to life. The author describes the way of life, the laws of the land and why Richard & Thomas Blackstone are in the predicament that they are in in fantastic detail. The battle accounts are both disturbing and extremely violent and David Gilman has a way of drawing this reviewer into the battle scenes to urge various people on and to feel sorrow for some of the characters who die. This is a fantastic read with action from start to finish, buy it and I don't think you will be disappointed.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slightly frustrating waste of an evening, 25 Aug 2013
By 
A. J. Roberts (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
As a fan of medieval fiction I was more than willing to spend a few pennies on what I hoped would be a fresh take on the plague ridden Hundred years war. Unfortunately the book turned out to be a rather rough and rushed, but cheap, genre filler, with fairly weak characterisation and numerous historical inaccuracies appearing from the outset. When I say the outset I mean the outset, as it opens with a pair of FREEMEN being arrested and arbitrarily sentenced to hang. If the author (or his editor) had a basic grasp of English constitutional history and/or law he'd be aware of a little process called a jury trial, and hopefully a little document called the Magna Carta, that guaranteed this right a hundred and twenty odd years before the date of the novel (reissued and tweaked several times several times since 1215). Then there are the annoying nonsensical phrases such as a: "short-bladed bastard sword that cost sixpence" (bastard signifying a sword with a 4+ foot blade), along with the numerous references to firing arrows / bolts.... I could go on. Anyway ignoring the lack of research and editing, the plot is reasonably entertaining and worthy of an evening of your time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT AS A FIRST NOVEL, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
The test of a good book is the question "Did I enjoy it?" and, in this case the answer is a definite "Yes". Hence four stars. The rest is just observation from one reader's perspective (mine).

I found this book to be engaging and engrossing; I really wanted to read on to see what happens next. The pace is just right and the battle scenes are among the best I've ever read. The main character is well founded and his growth from callow boy to seasoned warrior progresses beautifully. Although other reviewers have criticised the accuracy of some of the detail (there's no such thing as a 'short bastard sword' or 'chain mail') I found almost all of the minute detail of life in this period spot on and fascinating. This period in history is a particular hobby of mine and I was delighted to see so many of the historical facts not only very accurately relayed here, but also in a manner that draws out the political complexity of the era (the Channel didn't stop anyone from claiming sovereignty in either England or France).

The book may suffer from an unfair comparison. Bernard Cornwell's 'Grail Quest' series, with Thomas Hookton as the main character, tells a very similar story (in fact, VERY similar!) and, of course, that is Bernard Cornwell and so is utterly masterful The similarities are very striking (Thomas Hookton / Thomas Blackstone !!!) and David Gilman, unsurprisingly, doesn't fare well in such comparison. Bernard Cornwell's hero suffers a debilitating injury to his fingers that looks as though he will never again draw a bow, but he recovers almost to his original standard though sheer grit. At the end of Mr Gilman's book, Thomas has suffered a similar injury which, we are told, means that he will 'never draw a war bow again'. Hmm, let's see but, a warning to Mr Gilman, if, in the next book, Thomas recovers through sheer grit to be almost as good as he previously was, I can see a claim of plagiarism heading your way. But if you compare every book that you read to the absolute best in the genre, then just about everything you read will disappoint. In this case, I'm very happy to set any comparison aside and to simply consider Master of War in its own right; it's very good indeed.

OK, there a few, pretty minor, gripes. Thomas Hookton is just that bit too good to be true. I might be able to accept his shining honour and his incomparable skills as an archer, but we see every single arrow shot hit its mark, even in the turmoil of battle; reality was never like that. Thomas's involvement close to the heart of power is a bit contrived, as is the love interest that seems to have been shoehorned in ("Oh yeah, we'd better have a damsel in distress"). And , for me, there was one glaring error that cropped up over and over again that really irritated me, mainly because I am certain that Mr Gilman knows the facts but just didn't want that inconvenience spoiling getting in the way of rhetoric. That is the absolutely known and proven fact that arrows, even when bodkin tipped, almost never pierced plate armour. At the very best, when shot from less than 20m and at poor quality armour, an arrow might, just, pierce the plate armour but it wouldn't carry on through the padding below (the gambeson). It might bruise, but it couldn't kill. In this book, French knights are killed in their droves by arrows passing right through their armoured bodies. At both the battles of Crecy and Azincourt (which Mr Gilman incorrectly expresses as Agincourt, again, I imagine, to salve popularism), it is known that the French died as a result of the ground on which the battle was fought and the English practice of killing the horses. Men were, actually, killed once on the ground by knife or war hammer, not by arrows. That the sheer weight and volume of arrows in the air was a factor is undeniable (like standing, naked, 10m away from 20 people all firing paint balls at you) but it didn't kill many of those in armour.

One other, very minor, irritation lay in the names. Throughout, there are two Blackstone brothers and our main hero is Thomas. Instead of referring to the hero as 'Thomas', the author refers to him as 'Blackstone'. This probably wouldn't have been noticeable but for the frequent references to 'Blackstone's brother' but, of course, they are both 'Blackstones' so such reference could also refer to Thomas himself. We, the reader, have an emotional connection to Thomas Blackstone who is, after all, a sympathetic character, so referring to him as 'Thomas' would have been appropriate and less jarring.

But those things only annoy me because I'm a geek and, overall, this is still a really good novel. I will, certainly, buy the next in this series and you should too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real life in difficult times., 22 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Very good if similar to other like books, bringing to life that era and characters as well as locations. Entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good yarn, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Good. A very enjoyable yarn with lots of potential for future volumes. Thomas is a character that will certainly develop
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it can't wait to read the second part, 17 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Well written draws you in, factual info intriguing. Hope not to have to wait too long for the second and then the third part. If this is a first novel it is an impressive debut.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, 18 Aug 2013
By 
John F Blakesmith (Sherborne, Dorset United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Currently about 2/3 through the book. The characters are drawn reasonably well and the story is well paced. I have read worse historical novels but also considerably better. This is no Bernard Cornwell or Harry Sidebottom novel both authors of whom once I pick up their books I cannot put down until completed. This book is a pick up read 20 pages then leave for a few days until you visit it once more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 1st time read of David Gilman, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Master Of War: The Blooding - Part one of an epic adventure set during the Hundred Years' War (Kindle Edition)
Put this author on parr with Bernard Cornwell. A well written account of a time during the hundred year war. My only critique is the book was too short! Can't wait for the next installment.
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