Blood On The Sand by Michael Jecks

‘Blood On The Sand’ is the second book in the Vintener trilogy by Michael Jecks. The first book was – ‘Fields of Glory’ and the third book (hopefully next year) is ‘Blood of the Innocents‘.

It is only a short time since the incredible victory by the English at Crecy and Berenger Fripper and the rest of his Vintaine are now stationed at Villeneuve-la-Hardie as part of the siege of Calais. Most of the old Vintaine is still together, along with some new members, as well as Archibold the Gyntour, Beatrice, Ed the Donkey, Grandarse and Sir John and they are soon joined by Marguerite and her young son Georges. But fairly soon it becomes clear that one of the group is spying for the French.

The Vintaine are a bit more travelled than would likely have been realistic in 1347. While in the harbour near Calais, they are taken hostage by the Genoese and later released. Berenger and his group are then sent to Northern England to deliver a message and get involved in an attack by the Scottish King David and the battle for Neville’s Cross. After their return to Calais, they are sent to capture a town that an informer has assured them is ready to come over to the English King. All of this instead of waiting out the siege.

There are some excellent descriptions of the end of the siege – with a last ditch failed attempt by the French to win back the town and the appalling state of the people of Calais who have been barricaded in their walled city for many months.

Jecks brings many of the characters to life. Berenger, an old man in his 30s, is starting to suffer from his injuries and is feeling remorse for many of the deaths he has caused. He sees a time when he will settle down and marry. Ed the donkey is a discontented boy in a man’s world and madly in love with a woman who is out of his reach. Many of the rest of the archers look set to go on fighting together.

There were some editing errors in the book with Berenger called Baldwin at least once.

There was much less focus on the life of an archer in this book than in the previous one. Probably the best descriptions I’ve seen of that life are by Bernard Cornwell in his Thomas Hookton books (see ‘Harlequin/ The Archers Tale’ etc).

This book could be read as a standalone novel but the character development through the trilogy is excellent. I’m looking forward to reading the third book.

 

Book Published 2015

 

See a full list of books by Michael Jecks

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical, Jecks, Michael, Series Fiction

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