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Master of War Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 372 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus; First Edition edition (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781850100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781850107
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.8 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'I see flashes of brilliance that surpass Bernard Cornwell' The Bookbag.

'The 100 Years' War is the new Rome for historical adventure novels' Ben Kane.

'Page-turning and gritty' Daily Mail.

'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 it was a book I just couldn't put down' Falcata Times.

'Like a punch from a mailed fist, MASTER OF WAR gives a true taste of the Hundred Years War. It is a gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty. The stench and harshness of medieval life is ever present' ROBERT FABBRI, bestselling author of the Vespasian series.

About the Author

David Gilman had a varied career including firefighter, soldier and marketing manager, before turning to writing full time. He is an award-winning author and screenwriter.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Writer for classic television detective series Touch of Frost, David Gilman has switched his talents to The Hundred Years War and presents the story of English longbowman Thomas Blackstone during the Battle of Crécy in 1346 and its bloody and dangerous aftermath. Thomas Blackstone is a young mason (about 16 years old) and little more than a peasant, although better educated and better favoured than most thanks to a French mother and a brave archer for a father who had saved his lord's life in battle. When Thomas's deaf and mute younger brother Richard is accused of murdering a local girl, there is no option but for both brothers to enlist in the troop of their lord's knight in order to avoid a death by hanging. The fact that both are highly skilled with the longbow makes them invaluable in these early years of The Hundred Years War. Edward III is about to sail to Normandy to reclaim his lands from the French King. His ships are filled with archers.

The novel is divided into three parts and the battle of Crécy takes place in the first. This gives you an idea that while the book seizes your attention with such a major event early on there is also much more to it than that. The mix of nationalities and allegiances works well - there is almost more tension between the English and Welsh than there is between Norman and English or Norman and French. No love, though, is lost between English and French - too much harm has been done by both. The theme of chivalry runs through the pages. A man such as Thomas might deny its place in a `modern' battle but its codes colour the actions of many of the characters in the novel. When they're broken or when promises are found to be false, there is outrage. This is felt not least by Thomas.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable read set in the initial years of the 100 years War. The main heroe Thomas Blackstone develops into an adventurous character fighting in wartorn France for the cause of King Edward III and his son The Prince of Wales later known as The Black Prince. I gave it a 4 star rating due to the battle scenes not described as well as by other authors such as Cornwell, Iggulden or Scarrow. But the storyline is very exciting covering the events of the landings in France of the English King's army, the subsequent Battle of Crecy, the political games played out by Norman Barons, The Black Death and the seige at Calais. A lot to fit into one novel and perhaps the author could have dedicated more pages on these events instead of concentrating too much on Blackstone's rehabilitation period in a Norman nobles castle. Nevertheless, the novel is very well written and the characters surrounding Blackstone are developed well albeit towards the end of the book. I shall definitely buy the next book in the series which no doubt will be even better. I recommend the book to all historical fiction lovers.
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By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Review
Is Rome becoming the period of the past? More and more books and series seem to be gravitating to medieval periods and warfare. This is no bad thing, a change to different times, different outlooks on the aspects and manner of war. A change in weapons and a change in the pre-eminent
There are as many rich periods and great battles to centre a series around, and so many more nations to look at and explore.
Of all the battles and wars David Gilman has chosen one of the true stand outs; The battle of Crecy, set during the Hundred Years War.
My personal knowledge of the period is not the best, and that's what I love about more and more authors writing in this period, it's a chance for me to learn something new. Can I be educated at the same time as entertained?
In Master of War we the reader are introduced to one of the kings archers, Thomas Blackstone, a boy trained from childhood (as were all boys) to master the English longbow. The longbow was at the time THE weapon of destruction, ranks of archers firing bows of over 100lb draw, with a destructive force that could pierce plate armour, thus nullifying the French superior numbers in chivalry.
This book is a brilliant mix or characterisation, intrigue, battles, nationalities, history, enmity, courage, cowardice, fear and bravery. But ultimately for this period it is Chivalry that rules the day, the rules of chivalry that bind nobleman or all nations, as long as you are of noble blood, the peasants are as ever...fodder for the mill of war. This does not lessen the brutality of war, it does not reduce the death count in the field or war, in the destruction of castles and sieges, it just adds a set of rules, rules iron clad and the breaching of such would lead to outrage, ridicule and shunning by all sides.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The English archers were, of course, the secret of success at the battle of Crecy (as they were at Agincourt). Gilman has given us a worthy hero in Thomas Blackstone, a young (only 16 at the beginning of this novel) stonemason, who, together with his younger deaf mute brother, Richard, finds himself wielding his bow on behalf of King Edward III in France.

The action, and there is a lot of it, is vividly described. The reader almost imagines himself at Crecy in the first part of the book, willing on Thomas to greater and greater glory. And, as the battle is finally won by the English (not a spoiler to anyone who ever had history lessons at school). Thomas is fully acknowledged as the hero he is.

But this is not just a story about one of the greatest battles of the hundred years war. It is the story of a common, coarse Englishman who, through valour, hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness, becomes a knight feared and admired throughout France. And it is also a moving love story as Thomas strives to win the heart of the beautiful Norman girl, Christiana.

Master of War is a gripping story, just as gripping as any great thriller set in the 21st century. It is sad that many admirers of modern thrillers will never bother to read this book, because they will know that it won't have all those wonderful up-to-date guns and gadgets. The loss is all theirs.

Highly recommended.

Charles
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