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on 11 January 2016
As pretty much every reviewer states here, I have also been a Sharpe fan all of my life, owning every story, companion book and DVD etc etc. Not only that but I'm a huge fan of military history in general and of both non-fiction and fiction. I have to say that this book stands up there with the best. It reads very well and the plot is well written, entwined between some of the biggest characters of the Civil war. Historical accuracy seems to be well noted.

Currently in England, the English Civil war is not a regular fixture within the school curriculum. Remarkably, as a teacher, i've realised that shamefully, The English Civil War has been wiped almost completely away from the primary curriculum 'gold standard' topic of the "Tudors and Stuarts" and the subject rarely has a chance of recognition competing against 19th/20th century politics (Gladstone...YAAAAWWWWNNN, Disraeli....YAAAWWWWWNNN, Lloyd-George and his WW1 coalition government BIG YAAWWWWWNNN) in our secondary schools. A civil war divided our nation but from it's ashes our modern society was formed yet it's swept under the carpet in favour of Lloyd-Georges poor coalition or Neville Chamberlain waving his 'piece of paper'!

What is fantastic about this book is that it fills that gaping void with the stuff you want to know about. For example, how pikes were used, formation of armies, tactics of the day, how gunpowder and muskets started to influence battles in a serious way., spying, phoney war, how the army moved around, why Parliament and the Royalists fought etc etc. It's astonishing to find out how destructive and costly this long war was.

My reason for not giving this book 5 stars was because it was extremely familiar in structure to Sharpe and it did feel like it had been lifted from the pages of 'Sharpes Enemy' and that I had already read it in a way. Stryker is Sharpe, Skellon is Harper, Eli is Hakeswill/Major Ducos, Prince Rupert is Wellington and Essex is Napoleon. The fact that Stryker was imprisoned with Prince Rupert and saved his life (Sharpes Tiger and Sharpes Rifles) bears similar resemblance to Corwell's masterpiece and gave me a kind of disappointed feeling that maybe anyone could have written this... the era was just different.

Again though, for tackling a subject that is quite unknown, unpopular within our schools and I imagine; very difficult to research (and perhaps without bias) this book is excellent and you will not be disappointed with the intensity of the storyline and amount of action. Buy it!

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on 1 May 2017
like this author, a good read
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on 12 May 2017
Good read
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on 15 June 2017
Kind of straightforward adventure yarn, but that's what it says on the tin - or rather cover. Description of the Battle of Brentford was commendably accurate. Pedantic point - the Roundheads did not refer to themselves as "rebels". They thought the Cavaliers were rebels against Parliament. Also (spoiler) one of the villains is covered in brandy & dies in a fireball when the hero drops a match in it. Really?

I was put off by the expression " The Sharpe of the English Civil War" on the cover. I write novels ("Edmund Godfrey"series) but I don't call him the "Hercule Poirot of the Second Anglo-Dutch War" - but I might do now.
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on 17 August 2010
A first outing from Michael Arnold and his battle scared Roylist hero Captain Stryker,that soon had me page turning as the pace hots up in this adventure set in the English Civl War.The sticker on the front of the book proclam that he is the Sharpe of the Civil War and he certainly has all the ingredients to make that happen,but i will wait till we have more outings before i agree with that statement.Stryker is a veteran of the wars in the low Countries and with his small band of trusted men, including sometime actor Lancelot Forrester and Sargeant Skellen they set out to captured a dangerous spy in the heart of the royalist establishment,Stryker must journey across a country riven by bitterness and beset by marauding bands of soldiers in a race against time.Detail research and a passion for the subject puts you in the thick of the action and has you slashing and hacking at the barricade.Stryker back history is nicly filled in as he is not just fighting the Parliamentarian`s but also his nemesis Captin Eli Makepearce,the man who left him for dead and scarred him for life.In this adventure we not only get a hero,we also get a heroine in the lovely Lisette Gaillard who`s mission for Queen Henrietta brings her back into the life of Stryker.Lisette can fight and hold a sword with the best of them and for me is the Emma Peel of the 1640`s,and i hope we have more of her in the future.So to sum up,i do not think it will be long before we can righty say Stryker the Sharpe of the Civil War.Moor please soon.
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on 11 May 2011
I'm pleased I bought this.

I found the story of the main character a little unsettling at first, but found he was supposed to be mysterious and only learnt his first name near the end of the novel.

Stryker (as it says on the book - publishers trying to cash in on Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe - the Sharpe of the Civil War) is a good guy who I found rooting for, however, is fleshed out with a back story and will leave you wanting to know how he survives through the next one and beyond. His relationiship with Skellen and Forry needs to be fleshed out in the next one called Devil's Charge. I did wish that Edgehill was not dusted over, but by Brentwood we finally saw the pike and shot in full gory detail. The battle scenes were realistic and I felt as though I were there in the blood, smoke, screaming and desperation.

I know of Basing House and its an accurate depiction - one we'll no doubt see again - and of Old Winchester Hill - as Mike is also from Hampshire. I loved reading about this during the 1642 campaign.

A good read and well worth buying.

David Cook, author of Liberty or Death (The Soldier Chronicles Book 1) and Heart of Oak (The Soldier Chronicles Book 2)
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on 16 August 2010
Michael Arnold's 'Traitor's Blood' is a revelation. I was gripped from the first page of the prologue to the last page - who'd ever heard of the Battle of Brentford?? Most Englishmen would have reasons for joining both the Royalist and the Parliamentary cause. In my mind it's still not clear cut because I believe in a parliamentary monarchy - a bit of both. This book will not resolve these issues but there is much to enjoy - well-drawn, believable characters, skirmishes and engagements that tell of the confusion of battle amidst the blood, sweat and smoke and the comradeship of men under arms.

Do we really have to wait a year for the sequel, 'Captain's Blood'??

Michael's website is full of useful information about himself, the book and the English Civil War.
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on 23 December 2012
The biggest disservice for this book lies in its big red stamp on the front cover that says 'Sharpe of the Civil War', because Sharpe it aint.
The problem I have with this book is that it lacks any sort of depth or substance that could get the story off the ground and make it beleivable. The plot is racey and balls to the wall - all good if you have the flair and skill (and established fanbase) to fully engage the reader, but the end result for me was that the plot had no room to breath and there was no time for the characters to develop and the story line lacks any real rythym. The characters are wooden, one dimensional and the dialogue is both bland and, in terms of individual characters, lacks any sort of consistensy (in the 1st Chapter Sgt Skellen speaks the perfect Queens English, by the 5th Chapter he can't string a sentence without missing his t's and h's). The protaganist is portrayed as a battle hardened veteran of dozens of battles who has grown used to the blood curdling cries of the dying and the sights of dead men, women and children, yet throughout the novel he is given way to pangs of sympathy and regret when seeing dead or dying soldiers and in one instance feels sorry for a young soldier who gets a bollocking from a sergeant (not what you'd expect from a battle hardened soldier). End result - unbelievable.
For me it really came across that the author struggles to find his own style and he was trying too hard to emulate the style of other historical novelists (Cornwell anyone?). Cornwell has the ability and flair to tell a good ol' fashion yarn and blend it with an historical authenticity that is both informative and enjoyable. His storylines are grunty, his characters well rounded and his plots full of twists and his writing style is both in keeping with the period he is describing and entertaining. Because the author's tring too hard to emulate other writers, the end result for Traitors Blood is that it lacks any originality that could make the story stand out. 17th century England is a rich and vibrant world in its own right, and unfortunately the author exploits none of it. The plot is ragged, the storyline pretty predictable and by the end of it I was just glad to get through it. On the plus side, the battle scenes are solid and engaging, but nothing that I haven't read before.
The author really needs to find his own individuality and make his style his own, or otherwise he will only be remembered as a poor mans Cornwell.
I'm not normally given to writing negative reviews, however given the many exceptional reviews that Traitors Blood has received I felt that I should speak my mind. Its a shame, because I think the series and the author has potential, but after reading Traitors Blood unless I see the next book of the series in a charity shop there are better books for me to be spending my money on. Even then I'd think twice before getting it.
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on 4 December 2016
It is 1642, Captain Stryker is a former mercenary soldier who has served all over Europe in countless wars and uprisings, but has been drawn back by loyalty to his mother country, to be in the service of King Charles the 1st. Stryker is very imposing physically and never forgotten, a battle hardened veteran who has no love of aristocracy but surrounds himself with trusted men, ex-actor Lancelot Forrester and foul mouthed sergeant, Skellen amongst them. When a dangerous spy is discovered in the Royalist establishment after the battle of Edgehill, Prince Rupert chooses Stryker to apprehend him.

Stryker, accompanied by a small band of companions, must journey across England, avoiding large patrols of Parliamentarians and meeting all kinds of bitter angst in an attempt to reach the spy before he realises the game is up. However, there is a deadly enemy of Stryker, a man who savagely tortured and scarred the Captain most dreadfully, who also wants to meet the spy for unpatriotic reasons and who will stop at nothing to achieve his end. Stryker and his men have many exciting adventures on the way to the final, gut wrenching battle at the end.

This is the basis of an intensely interesting, plot driven, historical novel of superb quality, that is the first book of, hopefully, a long series of stories built around the English Civil War.
The hero Captain Stryker is a sort of "Sharpe" type character of the Civil War and I hope that this author has some of the rewards of Bernard Cornwall, the creator of Sharpe as he certainly writes with a similar quality. I enjoyed this gripping book immensely as it had a very intelligent and historically accurate plot and once I started it I found it very difficult to put down until the final pages.
Complimentary copy provided by netgalley.com for honest review
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on 31 August 2010
I must admit, I'm not normally a big reader, but I felt compelled to put a review on here having been unable to put the book down since it was delivered!

Traitors Blood is a book that, to it's credit, doesn't scrimp on the bloody detail of battle. I found this book to be a brilliant insight into a period in History I've never read much about (The English Civil War), that has just the right amount of historical detail/fact to keep the reader interested, while not getting bogged down in long narratives.
The intertwined sub-plots involving Stryker, his arch-enemy Eli Makepeace and the love interest, Lisette Gaillard kept me engrossed from start to finish.

Battles, skulduggery, heroism and romance all abound in this exciting first look at Captain Stryker's Chronicles, I can't wait for the next installment, I hope Michael Arnold is working on it as I type!
BUY IT, you won't regret it!
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