‘Blood of the Innocents’ is the 3rd novel in Michael Jecks’ Vintener trilogy. The first in the series ‘Fields of Glory’ focuses on the battle of Crecy, the 2nd ‘Blood on Sand’ focuses on the siege of Calais while this novel, set in 1356 ten years after the battle of Crecy, culminates in the battle of Poitiers.
Berenger Fripper left the army to run a bar in Calais. He married and had children and was happy. Then his family, like many others, was wiped out by the plague. He then led a band of mercenaries who rampaged around the French countryside. He also drank excessively on a regular basis. Eventually his band (urged on by Will) threw him out and tried to murder him.
Now he is back in the army and hoping to seek revenge against Will. The army is led by Prince Edward. Berenger is back with his old friends, Sir John de Sully, Grandarse, Dogbreath, Clip, John of Essex, Archibold, Ed and Beatrice.
Much of the story is about the destruction that the army left in its wake. Their goal was to deprive the French people, proving that King John, their king, could not protect them. So they pillaged, burnt, raped and murdered through France.
There was also a serial killer in the story who raped and crucified pre-teen girls. Many wanted him dealt with while others didn’t see his crimes as much worse than anything else the army did.
Eventually, the English manage to engage the French army at Poitiers. They were vastly outnumbered and cornered in a terrible location, but once again achieved the impossible. There were horrific losses on both sides.
With so many friends lost and revolted by senseless death, Berenger now feels that there is only one thing that he can do with his life.
This was another very gruesome but very engaging story. As a bit of a romantic, I hoped for a different ending, but the end was fitting for the story.
I have enjoyed this series immensely with Michael Jecks’ amazing ability for bringing history to life and giving it a personality. I will miss Berenger and his friends.
Book Published 2016