Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Extremely good but maybe too similar to Sharpe!
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!