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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Warlord's Gold: Book 5 of The Civil War Chronicles (Stryker)
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£17.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 12 May 2017
A good read, not greeat, but good.
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on 1 May 2017
excellent series of books
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on 2 August 2017
as above
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on 21 July 2017
excellent series
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on 5 May 2015
A fictional plot woven around accurate historical facts.
Mind you the battle scenes will leave you gory & blood spattered.
I particularly like the supporting characters who have developed well over previous titles.
In the final pages Oliver Cromwell appears, warts & all, so will look out for him in the next episode.
Of course the great sadness is that ultimately our hero Stryker has to lose, undoubtedly to escape to France.
A great series, well worth the read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 July 2014
Warlord's Gold is the fifth novel in Michael Arnold's fabulous Civil War Chronicles - if you've not read the earlier novels then tread no further. Captain Stryker and his men, as well as Lisette, the Queen's spy, must suffer the consequences here of what has gone before. The result is a particularly thrilling and tense historical adventure in which not only our heroes must suffer but also all of the land as the Civil War moves into another phase of its wrath.

Stryker, captain of a band of loyal and brave royalists, continues to chase the Cade treasure that he learned of, at great cost, in the previous novel, Assassin's Reign. He is ordered to follow the golden trail to the Scilly Isles off the south-western tip of England. Cade had property somewhere on the islands and it is likely that the treasure could lie hidden there, its value enough to fund the Royalist cause for years. Unfortunately, what would aid the Royalists would also help the Parliamentarians and when Stryker and the remains of his shattered crew wash up on the rocky shores of the Isles, their ship destroyed by storms and all their papers and possessions lost, they are imprisoned as Parliamentarians thanks to the poisoned word of one of the most sinister and corrupt devils that we have met through the Chronicles, Roger Tainton, who beat Stryker to the islands.

In the Warlord's Gold, Stryker follows the treasure in a chase across southern England to Basing House in Hampshire where one of the most famous sieges of the Civil War took place towards the end of 1643, forming much of the second half of the novel. Meanwhile, Lancelot Forrester, Stryker's Shakespeare-quoting deputy, has been enduring his own personal battle, this one fought against the perpetually itchy Croatian Parliamentarian Major Kovac, from whose custody Forrester had escaped. Kovac's pursuit of Forrester is as vindictive and obsessed as Tainton's hatred of Stryker. It is inevitable and fitting that the siege of Basing awaits them all.

With no doubt at all, the Stryker Chronicles is my favourite Civil War series, responsible for sparking an interest in me in this period of history that is so strong I now seek out the places in the books to visit. I can't think of another historical series that has brought the past so immediately to life for me. Warlord's Gold exemplifies the reasons why I love these books so much. Despite the constant theme of the Civil War, each of the books is different, with familiar characters coming and going, sometimes absent for an entire book, then returning as fascinating as ever. Here, Stryker is more of a victim of circumstances than he has been in previous novels. He is vulnerable and near helpless during the scenes in the Scilly Isles and because we know him so well by now these are truly painful chapters to read. What the poor man must go through... His relationship with Lisette is never an easy one - how could it be during these uncertain, dangerous times? - and it undergoes a severe test in this novel. We are given more time with Forrester, just as in previous books we have spent time with others among Stryker's men. It is time very well spent.

The Stryker Chronicles have the most excellent villains and in Warlord's Gold we have more than one. Tainton is a terrifying, deadly individual but we know his past. The War creates monsters just as it also nurtures monsters already born. Several of the characters in the book are physically scarred but because both Tainton and Stryker have had their faces horrifically altered, while Kovac has his itch, it is no simplistic indicator of moral right. As with the other novels, Warlord's Gold stresses that there is good on both sides, evil on both sides. Two best friends face each other as leaders of the opposing armies. There is division among both sides, even more so here as Parliament makes its deal with Scotland, something not all Roundheads are happy with. While Lisette is a close servant of the Queen, there is never a sense that Stryker is committed heart and soul to his king. For Stryker what matters is what's right, his men and Lisette. People swap sides, civilians are killed and victimised, property is destroyed. Nowhere is safe, not even on the Scilly Isles, and no castle is invulnerable, not even Basing House.

Michael Arnold is a fine writer who brings history alive while populating it with living, breathing characters that the reader loves or loves to hate. His in depth knowledge of the Civil War, both politically and militarily, is more than obvious and it enriches each episode of Stryker's tale. Arnold never loses sight of the adventure - this is extremely exciting writing! - but he fills it with inspirational historical detail. Assassin's Reign, the last in the series, was a marvel but with Warlord's Gold it has met its match. I'm very grateful for the review copy.
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on 12 July 2014
Like a very good wine,the longer it goes the better it is,and the 5th outing of Stryker is not only a full body adventure of the Civil War,it has now become a smooth we`ll develop series that now walks beside another class act,that of Sharpe.They need to change the sticker on the cover from Sharpe of the Civil War to Stryker the main man of the Civil War.Once again Michael Arnold has produced a cracking adventure that has you in the heart of the action,we`re you can smell the gunpower and hear the battle cry`s as Stryker,Forrester and Lisette come up against a old foe from the past,a foe who has a passion to reap revenge on our heroes,and comes very close to achieving his goal.Michael Arnold brings his passion of the period on to the page and along with great research ,has produced another gem to sit along side the other four gems in the series.I can not wait for the next outing of Forrester,Lisette and the main man of the Civil War Captain Innocent Stryker.
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on 4 July 2014
So this is book five in Mike Arnold’s civil war series and I’ve been reading and reviewing since book 1. What can I say that I haven’t already said?

This series is promoted as the ‘Sharpe of the Civil War’. In truth, though I love my Bernard Cornwell series, we are rapidly approaching the point where dear Captain/Major/Colonel Sharpe is actually the ‘Stryker of the Napoleonic Wars’. For me, Captain Innocent Stryker has now become one of the quintessential characters that define modern historical fiction. Macro and Cato, Alan Dale, Valerius, Hatton & Roumande, Two-knives, Raven, Jack Lark, Orm… and Stryker.

Arnold was unpredictable, I feel, in his first three books, in that though each one was an engrossing and rivetting read, they varied between books that were breakneck action, complex hunts, character-driven pieces and so on. By book 3 he had largely hit his stride of combining every stunning aspect into one novel. Book 4 (Assassin’s Reign) was a superb masterpiece of the genre and showed that he had crested the wave and could be relied upon to keep up the standard in every way. Book 5 confirms that.

Warlord’s Gold not only hits the spot in every aspect of historical fiction, it is also Arnold’s tightest, well-resolved and yet most wide-ranging plot yet. Our story begins with two distinct threads (ignoring bad guys that we know are going to converge with one or the other), with Stryker in the Scillies and Forrester (my personal fave character) heading south from Oxford on a special mission. For a lot of the book I presumed this was going to be the way of things, with two stories being told concurrently, each with their own heroes, villains and plots. And yet Arnold seamlessly joins them during the tale, bringing them together into a siege situation the like of which a lover of Zulu would enjoy.

Enough on the plot and writing style. Suffice it to say, the plot is extremely well-crafted, while the writing style is so comfortable and enticing that it is easy to get lost in the tale. Even with a busy life and demanding children, I finished the book in 3 days.

Since my era of choice is Rome, this Civil War series teaches me something with almosy every chapter, and I come away after a Mike Arnold book more insufferably knowledgable than ever I was before. Even just in the use of language (sotweed, dragooners, lobsters and so on.)

But for me, no matter what else good I can say of this series, Arnold’s strength that makes him stand out among peers is his characters. He is capable of creatin such vivid characters that even half-way into their first scene the reader can thoroughly visualise them in their head. Stryker and Forry are prime examples of this, and carry from book to book, with Stryker being easily one of the top 3 most memorable characters in the whole genre for me. But even one-shot villains or supporting characters in these books are so vivid and clear that they steal the stage from one another at every turn. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Arnold creates the most impressive complete nutcases in the literary world! In this particular book we meet a thoroughly disreputable and enjoyable smuggler-turned-privateer, a misshapen vengeful lunatic (though you might know him), a zealous Balkan killer, a reluctant military commander with the heart of a lion and more. It really is a treat to read in terms of character.

The less said about the plot the better, for fear of spoilers, but it will be giving nothing away to those who have read the first four and have seen the book’s title that this one revolves around Cade’s missing treasure and its recovery. In fact it is something of a race between two parties to deliver the gold to their opposing masters, with action all around the south coast this time, ranging from Basing House in Hampshire to the Scilly Isles. One thing for sure is that you cannot predict the path of the plot, so don’t try.

In short, Arnold has become a master of his art, and this book just shows it. This review is redundant for anyone who’s read the rest of the series. If you’ve read books 1-4, you’ve had book 5 on pre-order anyway, I’m pretty damn sure. If not, then you’ve not read any of these. WHY???? Go out and buy them all at once. Don’t waste time where you might have to wait for the next book to be delivered. Take my advice and get them all now.

A thoroughly absorbing masterpiece that deserves to hit the top and stay there.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 July 2014

Reading Innocent Stryker is always a pleasure, I'm not even going to try and lead up to is this book any good, It is, its Bloody good. I had one more day left on my holiday, i got up took the little one to nursery, came home made a cuppa and sat in my sunny conservatory. The next eight hours were a trip back in time, a dark revenge fueled mission for a man from Strykers past. Can Stryker survive the violent world of Civil War England? will his past catch up and kill him? will his weaknesses and hidden compassion's cause his ruination.

From dark Scilly isles shrouded in storm and misery, through to the wild rides and action of Basing House, a story jammed with every type of action and emotion, the book is a truly exhausting roller-coaster of emotion and action.

There are very few authors and subjects I can read for 464 pages and Michael Arnold is very much one of them, When you get an writer with the skill and ability to blend sublime and realistic characterization with superbly researched plot and that fictional flair to make the story race along and fire the imagination, that's when you have a winner and a book and writer that not only should be on the best seller list, but very much has earned the right to be there.

This book as you might have guessed will be competing come December for the Parmenionbooks book of the year, what ever happens its easily going to be Top 5.

I don't think i need to say anything else, because if you're not convinced to buy this by now you never will be... go buy it and read for your self.

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 October 2014
I too have read all the books in the series and am starting to think of Innocent Stryker as an old friend, albeit a somewhat violent one. The period of the English Civil War offers rich pickings for many writers of historical fiction, and Michael Arnold stands comparison with the best of them.

This book begins with Stryker and a few chosen members of his company on board ship heading for the Scilly Isles, their task is to retrieve a considerable amount of treasure, hidden there by a supporter of the Royalist cause, and if recovered by Stryker will add considerably to the strength of the Royalist forces. Of course the Parliamentarian side have also got wind of the treasure and are sending their own men to foil Stryker's plans and claim the haul for themselves.

As with all the Stryker books the plot continues at a pace, with many twists and turns, and not a little violence, though never of the gratuitous kind. The story is well thought out and all of the characters are well rounded and plausible. The one annoying thing I find with these books, and it may be just my age taking effect, is that from time to time I become confused with which character is on which side, Royalist or Parliamentarian. Come to think of it much like the people in the book. Apart from that I enjoyed the series immensely and this book in particular.
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