Book Review: The Bleeding Land by Giles Kristian.

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Synopsis (taken from Giles Kristian’s official website at http://gileskristian.com/books/the-bleeding-land/):

England 1642: a nation divided.

England is at war with itself. King Charles and Parliament each gather soldiers to their banners. Across the land, men prepare to fight for their religious and political ideals. Civil war has begun.

A family ripped asunder.

The Rivers are landed gentry, and tradition dictates that their allegiance is to the King. Sir Francis’ loyalty to the crown and his desire to protect his family will test them all. As the men march to war, so the women are left to defend their home against a ruthless enemy. Just as Edmund, the eldest of Sir Francis’ sons, will do his duty, so his brother Tom will turn his back on all he once believed in…

A war that will change everything.

From the raising of the King’s Standard at Nottingham to the butchery and blood of Edgehill, Edmund and Tom Rivers will each learn of honour, sacrifice, hatred and betrayal as they follow their chosen paths through this most savage of wars.

Hello,

I purchased Giles Kristian’s first book, Raven: Blood Eye, in 2011 for no apparent reason. I just walked past the book, had a brief scan of the synopsis, and thought ‘Why not?’ Since then, his books have been and still are a constant source of enjoyment and inspiration for me and my writing. This past Thursday, I finished reading his 4th book, The Bleeding Land and wanted to provide a review. It won’t be too long as I don’t particularly like long winded reviews. If you are considering reading a book like this, I hope that this review can help you to make your decision.

For me, the best things about Giles Kristian’s books are the battles scenes (really well described. Using most if not all the senses to put you right in the heat of the battle) and the dialogue (solid mixture of humour and relevance so that no word is wasted. EVER) and The Bleeding Land continues this trend.

As the synopsis above shows, this book has a lot going on. A country at War and family are torn apart by it. The characters, mainly Edmund ‘Mun’ Rivers and little brother Thomas Rivers, become the main points with their family members and war comrades providing good quality support. Each main and supporting character is allowed to grow and develop well and at no point did I feel that any of the characters were there just to make up the numbers. Each character had a use to move the story along and help another or their own character’s story.

The scene is set very well to allow this to happen early on. You are introduced to the River’s family and the impending conflict of the country around them. This all builds to the Civil War beginning and the brothers taking opposite sides (Mun fighting for the King and Tom fighting for the Parliament. I won’t tell you why). Once this happens, the story moves along and does not allow the Civil War around it to engulf it, keeping the River’s family at its core very neatly. Along with the men of the River’s household, the River’s women are very well represented with the mother and sister of the family, Mary and Bess, shown as strong characters in their own right.

The battle scenes throughout the book are very well described and again using all five senses, helped me to drop into the battle. Sometimes, I smelt the odours of War far too well for my liking. But, that just shows in my opinion how good an author Giles Kristian is. In particular, one of many Battles, where the Rivers women, having been left to defend their household whilst the men are away at War, become part of the War as the parliament ‘rebels’ fight to take their home from them. This spans a few chapters and is not just about a battle. There are many other things going on which made it so compelling.

The only downside I could find was that some of the descriptions went on for too long and I found myself skipping past them. In most cases, it was the descriptions of the clothing that each character was wearing. Though very clear and informative, I felt that these could have been shortened to keep the pace going.

In conclusion, a brilliant read with rich characters and a good story, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an action adventure and historical fiction novel to read. You will not be disappointed.

 

An excerpt from my story The Searcher’s Want.

Hello

As you may know I’ve been editing my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel The Searcher’s Want throughout November and into early December. I had always planned to share some of the story with you and here some of it is.

I’ve always liked writing action scenes so I’m going to share part of one with you. It has only gone through one edit so keep that in mind if you’d be so kind. The Searcher’s of my novel have been searching and killing demons across the planet for years. And after years and years of the demons having their way the searchers started to slowly take them apart. The demons have now gone from having underground palaces in freedom to having to live in sewers in fear. All this led up to a great battle between a collection of demons, mostly made up of the ripper demons that desired destruction more than any of the other three types of demon, and the searchers looking to stop them. Aaron Watch is our hero along with some searchers close to him Abraham Smith and Breaker Smart. Aaron is still only a few years into being a searcher whilst Abraham is the second oldest of all the searchers and Breaker is second in command to the Searcher General.

Any feedback is welcome as long as it is constructive. Thank You in advance.

“Searchers! Form the line.” The general shouted as the fight was getting into full swing. Each searcher had been called in after research had showed a herd of rippers was approaching Manchester. Aaron and a few others had searched the demons out and led them to an old field on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre. They had managed to stop the rippers from killing anything up to that point.

“Searchers! You have nothing!” the lead ripper growled as his herd stood behind him. They were all twitching and itching for the searchers to bring the fight to them. The general was not the type to fall into a trap easily. The searchers had now formed two lines opposite them in contrast to the randomly placed rippers. The only one of them in any kind of position was their leader.

“This line doesn’t move until I say it moves. Once I give the order, take them all out.” The general ordered. All the searchers cried out in acceptance of this and stood side by side with their great swords up before moving them back behind their shields. The searchers numbered around three hundred from all over the world to the rippers five hundred. They braced themselves and Aaron remembered what he been told some two weeks before. ‘Rippers get annoyed easily and will attack after long’ Abraham had said to him. He stood in front of Aaron on the first row of the line.

“Watch them searchers. They are quick.” The general said. Aaron had been a searcher for six years but had never seen this many rippers on mass. How the local police hadn’t noticed them was beyond him.

The ripper leader was the only one stood still. He was scanning the two lines of searchers and looked to be trying to locate a weak spot. The two lines were tight together and nothing was going to move them apart. Aaron glanced around and saw that some of the searchers around him were complete strangers. The only thing he knew about them was that they had had the same training he had. He stared forward at the rippers the length of a football pitch away.

Suddenly, one ripper broke from the herd and charged at the searcher lines. Wild and completely out of control the ripper was picking up speed and storming towards them. The ripper leader didn’t even flinch. As the ripper drew closer to them Aaron looked to the general who was calm and collected. Then in one swift movement the general launched his great sword at the ripper, piercing its brain through its jaw. The ripper’s body slid toward him and stopped at his feet with the sword handle pointing upwards. The general then calmly removed his sword, cleaned it on the clothes of the dead ripper, and returned to his stance in the line.

The ripper leader lifted his arm and the herd went quiet. He held this for a few seconds before throwing his arm forward towards the searchers. The ripper herd let out a collective raw and charged. Aaron noticed that the ripper leader did not move.

“Why does he stay?” He said. A few people looked to Abraham for the answer as they were thinking the same.

“Because he likes to see how the battle is going before he enters it. When we start winning he’ll disappear. He’s does it all the time but that coward can hide. He can hide well.” Abraham said keeping his eyes forward. “Focus searchers.” He shouted as the lines tightened slightly.

Aaron wasn’t gripped by fear but by a heightened sense of things. He was aware of his feet and arms more so than usual. He gripped his great sword and watched as the rippers came closer.

Thanks for reading.

Bye