Top critical review
because of the excellent balance, 1 handed
on 24 December 2016
No, no, no, no....
I can forgive being plunged into action if it is well described and well researched. But...
First 5 pages...
Plate harness of the era does not, 'crack' when hit with a sword or, even with an axe. I have a suit of plate armour of the period, it's 14 gauge carbon steel.
2 swords!!! No one fought with two swords at this period of time. Swords, whether 'civilian' or battlefield were long weapons. Thus was the height of the longsword, known to the victorian as the bastard sword. It's 40" long with a 10" handle and a cruciform hit. You can use it 2 handed or, because of the excellent balance, 1 handed. It is a formidable weapon, razor sharp carbon steel. I have several reproduction swords of the period and fence with them. You cannot weild two of them at once, they are too long. You wouldn't last 2 minutes going up against a foe with a sword of this type if you had two short swords. Reach is the problem.
Pole axe. The pole axe is not used from horseback, it is exclusively an infantry weapon, this is because the point of balance is too far forward. Pole axes of the time are 6ft long, an axe blade, a hammer on the other side and a 6" spike sticking out the top. The haft is usually square in profile or perhaps hexagonal to prevent it rotating. It is a two handed weapon and cannot be used single handed.
A war arrow shot at what must be a fairly short range from a longbow into the backside of a horse, would have caused trauma so severe, the horse wouldn't be standing.
At this point I gave up. I'm sure the plot is decent but the author should familiarize himself with the combat techniques of the day rather than the tedium of Hollywood medieval 'fighting:' readers are too savvy these days, it's not enough to churn out the old rumpty tumpty. It's not about being a purist, it's about being credible combat if the day was lethal, terrifying and carried out with weapons at the pinnacle of their technical development, at the dawn of gunpowder. Those who used them were not brutal savages thumping each other with club like devices, they were highly trained martial artists who practiced disciplines as complex and subtle as any from the far east.
The default battlefield killer was the spike, either in the form of a rounded dagger, sharply tapered sword, the spike on a war hammer or pole axe or bill. It would be applied to areas where plate did not protect and which were covered with maille with or without the very effective padding of a gambeson.
Please, authors, you have to start to get this right. This stuff in this book is so far from the mark it's like a Jack Chan movie.