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.

 

A story finally finished and two more to write.

Hello,

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What you have just seen is the prelude to one of the greatest fights I have ever seen. Lego Darth Vader vs Lego Cheeky Monkey. Well, the greatest fight I’ve ever seen if I had seen more than this quick snap. Honestly, I can’t remember what happened but the result is that both are now standing at the edge of my desk ready to welcome anyone that comes into the spare room/office. I think it was a draw but I hope the cheeky monkey won.

Anyway, hello again.

Following on from last time, I have been doing a lot of catching up on the Reading, Writing and Discussing front. Here’s how it broke down over the last week:

READING:

I’ve been moving along nicely with God of Vengeance by Giles Kristian (http://gileskristian.com/books/god-of-vengeance/). I have always enjoyed the pace, language, wit and style of Giles Kristian’s prose. This book has kept that going as it tells the story of how the Vikings who are marauding around in Giles Kristian first three books, Raven: Blood Eye, Raven: Sons of Thunder and Raven: Odin’s wolves (http://gileskristian.com/books/) came together and specifically how their Jarl Sigurd became their Jarl. As much as I like movie prequels I enjoy them even more in written form. Remembering an old but good book is always cool when I’m reading a new and good book.

WRITING:

My latest short story has finished! I had started the story before I had to start my revision for my exam and the dam revision got in the way. Though the story was almost finished, the revision-imposed break allowed me to come up with an ending for it. I did not count on taking a break from writing my own stories and instead writing notes would give me a full formed ending. Right there, as I was walking to work, and in the freezing cold no less, which meant typing a note into my phone was annoyingly difficult.

So, the story centers on a young couple who survive an attack by the huge rock worms a la Gears of War 2 (http://gearsofwar.wikia.com/wiki/Riftworm). Now, the worms aren’t as aggressive or mean looking as the ones from Gears of War 2. They are intelligent and just want to find a new place to live after their home planet got exploded. They found Earth and let us know what they wanted. We naturally tried to destroy them so they retaliated. The young couple survives and then find themselves face to face with the chief rock worm. In shock, they try and figure out their next move. This could potentially change the course of mankind. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while but the ending was something I’d hoped to get to as I was writing the story, which is usually the way my endings appear. I have now finished one story and as I turned the pages of my notebook I found two post-it notes with ideas for two more. Two more stories I will write in the not too distant future. Once they have been planned out. Pfft. Notes and more notes.

 

 

DISCUSSING:

My discussions have mostly been around two things with the odd blog post comment thrown in-between: Wrestlemania 32 and my work exam. Even though the exam has been and gone those of us in the office who sat the thing have been going over what we did write and what we did not write and slowly sending each other crazy. I am glad the chatter has gone silent now when it comes to the exam. Though I have thoroughly enjoyed studying for it, I am glad to have a break from it. At least for now. There also was the little matter of Wrestlemania 32 to contend with. I enjoyed the event and the match quality was up there with some of the best Wrestlemania’s I have seen but as for the results? Only liked a few of them. Most of them did not make much sense from a fan who is looking at what the result will do for the progression of the storylines between the wrestlers involved. Hopefully, new stories will be written off the back of them so I can try and forget how, in some cases, the results were meaningless. It has also been nice to talk to my friends who aren’t wrestling fans and try and get them on board. It will happen one day. I will keep trying.

Right, well I’m going to go back and finish my notes for my next story. I hope you all have a good week.

Bye!