Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Countenance of War by J.R. Tomlin

Post Reply
User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Countenance of War by J.R. Tomlin

Post by Rowan » Tue September 2nd, 2014, 4:08 pm

Fourteenth-century Scotland suffers under the heel of England's King Edward, but James Douglas refuses to submit to the conqueror. Above all else, James fears that his life and his own dream—of a free Scotland—might be lost to Edward's lust for conquest. As James wages a guerrilla war to drive out the invader and reclaim his birthright, Edward brings a vast army to crush the Scottish resistance. In the midst of the brutal war, even the woman James loves is threatened by his implacable duty.

In a conflict poised to reach its bloody finale, the Scots and English cross swords in a reckoning that will determine Scotland's survival.


This is the follow up to the book I previously reviewed, A Kingdom's Cost. The narrative picks up exactly where the first book ended, making me wonder if the author wrote a big sweeping epic novel that was cut into three parts.

For a good portion of the narrative, James Douglas is on his own, away from Robert the Bruce, working to take back his own lands from the English. He begins this, by yet another sneak attack on the castle that is the main stronghold of the Douglas lands. This time, though, he means to destroy not only the castle, but the nearby village as well. He does so with the full knowledge and cooperation if its people, believing that he will still be able to care for them as winter approaches.

The story is mainly full of these guerrilla-style attacks on various castles as the Scots work to drive the English out and unify their own country. Edward Longshanks dies in this story, of course, leaving his son to pick up his mantle and continue the fight against the Scots. Edward Caernarfon does indeed pick up the mantle if only to keep the focus on Scotland and away from his problems with the major barons of England.

The action naturally culminates with the Battle of Bannockburn in which Scotland was victorious over England.

While the story itself was an interesting one and held my attention consistently - unlike others I've purchased via BookBub - I have to say that the errors in this one really grabbed me and I found myself marking them on my Kindle version. The biggest one for me was when she consistently used 'rude' when 'rood' was the word intended. Petty, I know, but there you have it.

As a side note, my latest (July) edition of BBC History magazine had an article about this very battle and said that it was just as much a civil war as it was a fight with the English, which I didn't realise. Robert was still battling those Scots who were angry that he'd murdered John Comyn at the same time he battled the English.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3557
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue September 2nd, 2014, 5:10 pm

Sounds interesting Rowan, thanks for the review. I have A Kingdom's Cost on my kindle, maybe I should pick it up again.

Too bad about the mistakes, but why don't you email the author with your marks? I know that Louisa Locke had several mistakes (not more than the usual professionally published book, but jarring all the same) and as various readers pointed them out, she was able to fix them and the files were updated on everybody's kindles (if they had turned on that function.) If an author is a good storyteller, it's a shame to let the talent be marred by poor editing, which is a different skill entirely. In this new world of ebooks, however, we have a new possibility-- editing by the cloud!

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Post by Rowan » Tue September 2nd, 2014, 9:45 pm

Never thought of doing that, MLE. Just assumed one would have an editor that knows what he/she is doing and would've caught the mistake if it was repeated often enough.

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Tue September 2nd, 2014, 10:19 pm

[quote=""Rowan""]Never thought of doing that, MLE. Just assumed one would have an editor that knows what he/she is doing and would've caught the mistake if it was repeated often enough.[/quote]

Even editors from big name publishing houses miss stuff. Like my current book envelope was used instead of envelop. I still giggle over one of Julie Garwood's romances where both the H and h's names were misspelled, and in the same chapter at that.

I might be in the minority, but I'm not comfortable contacting authors about anything like that unless I've interacted with them on a board like this. Too much cray-cray out there these days just for saying I didn't like it. Or the person who recently commented on an Amazon review (said review was written by the mother of the author). The author hunted down the commenter's phone # and called her at home.

I think I tried one book by Tomlin and didn't make it past the first chapter. Don't recall why, might have been the wrong mood.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

Post Reply

Return to “By Author's Last Name R-Z”