Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars solid piece of work well worth the read, 6 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Year of the Horsetails (Kindle Edition)
The Year of the Horsetails is a traditional adventure story in the old-school style. It follows the flight of a fugitive across the Steppes of what much later became a part of Russia. Set in the Carpathian region, sometime during the Middle ages, its hero, Bardiya, escapes the barbaric but militarily superior nomadic, Mongol-like Tugars into a region as yet unconquered by them. Beyond formidable mountains in the west, the agrarian Slavic Drevich people are largely unaware of the ruthless and overwhelming might soon set to descend upon their lands.

Using clean, crisp and uncluttered language, although of a style that may take a while for modern readers to get used to, a gripping tale of clashing cultures and military conflict unfolds. Keenly researched, the author brings to life a time, its various disparate cultures and the outlooks and attitudes of its people, during a brutal period in European history.

Although the action is excellently handled; the flight across the Steppes, the clash of cultures and the inevitable and bloody conflict that ensues, what is lacking is much in the way of depth to the characters, in particular the protagonist, Bardiya. This does not overly spoil the enjoyment of the book, but I found it hard to invest much empathy with the plight of its characters. It left me a little removed, as though reading an historical account, more so than a work of fiction. There are personal interactions, and even a love affair, but they come across very much in the one dimension.

Having said that, the dialogue is realistic and believable, and the characters are truly of their time - not just modern sensibilities in period costume. It makes for an authentic story, albeit one principally concentrating on adventure and action.

The plot cannot be faulted, nor the pace of the narrative, both excellently pitched, although I found the ending employed a few convenient coincidences and the conclusion felt slightly confused, making the climax feel somewhat flat. A minor detraction, though, from what is otherwise a well-crafted build-up to a momentous ending.

If adventure, action and early military history is your thing, then this tale from R. F. Tapsell will be just your cup of tea. A solid piece of work that is well worth the read.

I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.5 out of 5 stars (25 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
£1.92
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 160,800