I'll not bother to review the book itself - I'm sure others have already done so far more eloquently than I could have done. Also, I reckon I'd be tempted to write a book of my own in the process. Suffice it to say, I believe Robert Adams is one of the most under-rated authors of all time. The Horseclans series as a whole has been one of my most treasured and influential reads as a young adult (about 13-14 years old). I am currently building this series back into my collection, as well as Mr Adams's Castaways in Time series, to enjoy now for myself and also so that my son will be able to enjoy them as well.
Yes, it's a bit graphic, and gritty, and a little dark in places here and there... but I love every last shred of it. I first read the Horseclans series a little over 25 years ago when I was in high school - and I think I have measured everything I have read since against it to some degree or another. His characters are legendary and his depiction of action and swordplay is both awesome and believable. It's one of the few series I have read where I don't ever feel as though I'm reading through page-filling plot development and just waiting for the next bit of excitement. I genuinely devour every page from cover to cover.
For anyone who has never sampled Mr Adams books before - BUY THE HORSECLANS SERIES! You will not be disappointed. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to read the Horseclans Series. Thank you Robert Adams.