The Devil's Band: Volume 1 (The Devilstone Chronicles) Paperback – 2 Nov 2015
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About the Author
Living close to the English-Scottish border, somewhere which has more medieval castles and Roman ruins than anywhere else in Europe, it was perhaps inevitable that I grew up with a fascination for history but I wasn't able to turn my passion into a career for several years. During my early working life, I spent far too long failing to be a lawyer until a chance meeting (and too many beers) with a local magazine editor led to me spending a night in one of the Border Country's crumbling fortresses. My mission was to investigate claims that this castle was the most haunted medieval building in England but, though the promised ghosts failed to appear, my article did and I've written for magazine and newspapers ever since. The Devil's Band is my first novel and, by a strange coincidence, I now find myself living with my wife and four children near another castle, one that was once owned by the real Thomas Devilstone.
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What also struck me was the richness of the description and depth of the historical details, every visited location and character was so vividly described it felt like being there. The research is so apparently thorough, I have no doubt that even the fictional elements are still at least possible at that time, and this book has satanic demons and futuristic contraptions. It's hard to know where the fiction ends and the fact begins, I just assumed it all happened. Hans Nagel was a real person? Who knew!
If you like a good adventure, this is the book for you.
Thomas Devilstone is in trouble as soon as we meet him (as you may have guessed by his name), and he continues to get in deeper throughout the novel. In a sort of implausible late medieval adventure, he and his unlikely band of brothers somehow manage to slither out of each death defying situation they find themselves in. The characters, especially our Thomas, are not lovable or admirable, but I found myself rooting for him just the same - sort of like when reading about Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred. He is irreverent, impetuous, and willing to try anything.
If you are looking for an exciting read that takes you from London to Pavia, you should consider giving this indie novel a try.
As an English teacher I have to say that The Devil’s Band may not be great literature but as a fan of books
and reading in general I thoroughly enjoyed this rollercoaster ride through early 16th Century Europe.
We join Thomas Devilstone as he is facing a highly uncertain future, having fallen foul of the
scheming Cardinal Wolsey, and his attempts to restore his lost wealth and titles only seem to plunge
him further into the metaphorical mire.
The hero’s journey to the book’s climax at the bloody Battle of Pavia is genuinely thrilling and along
the way we meet an unusual supporting cast of historical figures; these range from the Tudor exiles
Richard de la Pole and the Duke of Albany to the famous mercenary captain George Von Frundsberg
and I enjoyed the way these characters were organic to the plot rather than shoe-horned into the
story – a mistake which too many authors of historical fiction make! Sadly the book is not suitable
for schoolchildren but I’d thoroughly recommend it to all adults looking for a good story well told.
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