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5.0 out of 5 starsMagnificent, simply thrilling
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2018
I waited until I had read three before writing this review so I would have a more complete understanding of the story. Based-on what actually occurred during this period of the Hundred Years War, Gilman projects a broad and deep picture of key events, those actually performing them and the results which set the continuation of the story. The principal characters are strongly developed, to the point of feeling real in the mind of the reader, to anticipating what they will do next. This series is right there with Cornwall at his best. Thank you!
5.0 out of 5 starsSuperb Storytelling in a refectory developed historical context
Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2018
This series has everything. A hero who despite his flaws is purely and humanly heroic. The historical details are perfectly integrated into the story and are not, as us too as Is too often the case, the reason for it. The character development is exceptional combining both predictably and unpredictability in credible proportions. The violence is perfectly orchestrated and fits seamlessly into the story. The unpredictability of the mystery at the center of this volume is perfectly concealed and revealed for maximum impact. Happily on to the next book in this series.
I read a lot of historical fiction. This series has dark under tones and evil butchery a plenty. Blackstone has a life wroght with violence and danger. The storyline merges people and places in a skillful way. Kept me wanting to know "what can possibly happen next?". Great read for the time period and the archers are my favorite. Will read next installment.
Thomas Blackstone is a soldier without a war. Now that the hostilities have for the time being stopped between England and France and his family has left him he has nowhere to go but in search of another war.
He and his men find employment in the Italian city-state conflicts but a desperate messenger from England tells him he has been summoned home.
This book continues black stones it ventures. Another excellent historical fiction tale in a great series. I’ve already bought the next one.
5.0 out of 5 starsGate if the Dead...Master of War sries
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2017
The Master of War series has been the best historical fiction concerning the Hundred Year War I have ever read.The characters are fascinating,the intrigue intense,and the battles are brutal.The books show that period of history for what it truly was,a constant struggle to survive.It will disabuse the reader of any ideas that war held any glory as the price was exorbitant for both the victor and vanquished alike.I hope to see another book soon as Thomas Blackstone has become one of my favorite literary figures.
3.0 out of 5 starsworth reading once but doubt its worth a second go
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2017
Still not as good as the first volume but no worse than the second. Its a dungeon crawl as Blackstone is led from encounter to encounter. The characters don't change. The background doesn't change. Its a fun light read but if this were the first volume I would not have continued in the series. As is I just purchased volume 4 because after 3 books I'm somewhat invested in the character. To use a comparative, its as good as most of the later 16xx books but not as good as Ringo or Cherryh or Stirling.
Average writing. Plot very dependent on unbelievable coincidences. Good historical detail. The wife character is unbelievable in her 20th-century like capability to put her own ego needs as more important that the fate of her family. I ultimately thought this book emotionally tedious. Although it did make me grateful i am not living in France in 1358
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 29, 2016
Like the preceding books in this series, the combination of historical accuracy and rollicking action is brilliant. In this, the third of the series, there's even more of both. The complex politics of these turbulent times is woven into the plot extremely skilfully and, although I'm sure that the eyes of many will glaze over at the national and familial links that so clouded this era in history, for me it just made everything seem so much more 'real'.
This time, there's even more action and Blackstone and his crew hardly have time to sleep between bouts of cutting a swathe through hordes of opponents. Also as before, the English archer is lauded here although, after a while, the almost superhuman prowess of some of these archers becomes a little tiresome and the phrase ' a bodkin tipped yard of ash' gets a bit overused.
Although there aren't too many surprises in the plot and you don't have to be genius to guess who the mystery assassin really is, there are some deaths that shock a little as, by then, the reader will have decided that these characters are too important to kill off. But die they do!
The end of the book seems to be a little rushed, as though this episode had been finished now and David Gilman just wanted to set his hero up for the next book. So, spoiler alert, there will be another book and that means that Blackstone must return. Minor grumbles aside, I'll be buying it.l
I am a little behind in David gilmans master of war series and have a little catching up to do but with a series as good as this that won't be a problem. The story follows Thomas Blackstone, a former archer and a leader of a war band on his many adventures through France, Italy and England. The action is non stop, and at times quit gruesome but historically accurate. This is a well written series and Gates of the dead comes highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 starsJaw dropping, gut wrenching, heartstoppingly brilliant!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2019
I've never read a book so fast. Couldn't put it down. Considering this is the third book inn the series, the author took the excitement to another level.
The intrigue, deceit and betrayals had me guessing, second guessing and more throughout this tale and tied in with all the action and chaos of the events of the time, this was truly one of the most enjoyable reads.
God help Thomas Blackstone's enemies in the next instalment!!
5.0 out of 5 starsthese books are absolutely amazing, I also know it is a bit of ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 4, 2018
these books are absolutely amazing, I also know it is a bit of punt on a new author and my heart dropped when I saw that the publisher was called "Head of Zeus" which sounded like an 1980s porn film, but the narrative was gripping bought the whole trilogy (there are actually four in the series) and will buy the last in the series when it makes it to hard back.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2016
T homas Blackstone, a Stonemason archer turned Knight on the battlefield has satisfied my bloodlust for the last three books! A greta attention to detail in Social, political and historical makes this series as compulsive as Simon Scarrow's Cato series. This last book palled a little and I was upset at the death of two excellent characters, David Gilman, though, shows an excellent grasp of the times and weaves a good story - almost a novelised story of the great British condottiere John Hawkwood.