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Knights of the Hawk by James Aitcheson

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Manda Scott
Posts: 81
Joined: July 2010
Location: Shropshire, UK

Knights of the Hawk by James Aitcheson

Post by Manda Scott » Tue December 3rd, 2013, 4:18 pm

Battle books comes in all shapes and sizes - there are the shooty-stabby (thank you to outstanding ECW author, Mike Arnold, for that phrase) books of the civil war and on, of which Robert Wilton's Treason's Tide is one of the most outstanding, and then there are the FFF (fighting, fornicating and passing wind, in the censored version) Roman/dark age books that pit Boy's Own heroes against impossible odds and they sweep the bad guys' heads off with a single twitch of a blade six inches long, proving that it's not what size it is, it's what you do with it (in your dreams) that counts.

And then there are the good, solid, well-researched, battle-fests with solidly rounded characters and a strong narrative drive: think Ben Kane, Tony Riches, Harry Sidebottom, Simon Scarrow… and James Aitcheson, who's latest book, 'KNIGHTS OF THE HAWK, has recently launched. Set in 1071, this continues the story of Tancred a Dinant, a Breton knight of the invading, occupying Norman force that is slowly trying to bring England to heel. Tancred is increasingly his own man, setting himself at odds with the king and his lord - and against the rebel Hereward, whose death forms one of the by-plots in a novel that sees Tancred breaking free of his political bonds and following his heart to its logical (and tragic) destination.

Nobody else is even endeavouring to explore this era: James Aitcheson has it all to himself and he's taken the bad guys - the enemy, the people we all fought against in our inner imaginings of Hastings and beyond - and has made them the good guys. Well, some of them are good. Some of the time.

It's a great achievement when we can root for people we've loathed since childhood - and we do. What higher praise can there be? Well written, brilliantly researched (it does help to be a proper historian: not all historians can write fiction, but when they can, it's fantastic), and fast-furious-blood-filled-manic. Perfect. And I love the cover.

Bestselling author of
Boudica: Dreaming. INTO THE FIRE out in June 2015: Forget what you thought you knew, this changes everything.


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Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK

Post by EC2 » Fri December 6th, 2013, 2:30 pm

I'm reading this at the moment and really enjoying it. I'm not anti Norman though :-) I see it as all part of our rich history. I think the author is one of the best out there on the fight and adventure orientated circuit at the moment. I've just got as far as Dublin in the novel and Tancred's meet up with Magnus.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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