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Publisher's Summary

England, 1346: For Thomas Blackstone, the choice is easy - dance on the end of a rope for a murder he did not commit, or take up his war bow and join the king's invasion of France. As he fights his way across Northern France, Blackstone will learn the brutal lessons of war - from the terror and confusion of his first taste of combat, to the savage realities of siege warfare.

Vastly outnumbered, Edward III's army will finally confront the armored might of the French nobility on the field of Crecy. It is a battle that will change the history of warfare, a battle that will change the course of Blackstone's life, a battle that is just the first chapter in the book of a legend - Blackstone: Master of War.

©2013 David Gilman (P)2018 Tantor

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  • 05-08-20

Winnie the Pooh and Richard Sharpe as Filibuster

Not for children but read as if to a small one. A tale of war written with the pacing of a brick-sized pulp romance novel. Skilled voice actors seem to take one of two approaches to reading books. I think of them as reading to a child or acting for adults. Reading to a child is characterized by melodramatic narration, rising and falling, slowing and speeding up; those things we do to let our children—who don’t have the experience to put a bedtime tale into context—how to feel about what they’re hearing: "be sad now", "now be afraid", and so on. In readings for children, character voice qualities are chosen to tell the child which characters are good and evil, tough and weak. Acting for adults I think of as usually having flat narration with most of the effort and vocal range saved to give characters distinctive voices the audience can separate and voices that match the characters physical qualities. RC Bray is a master of the latter, Gildart Jackson (this book’s reader) the former, and Patrick Tull the exception who masterfully did both at once (albeit into a mic made of string and can). I was not looking for the bedtime story approach Jackson uses for Master of War, and so I suffered for my mistake in small part because of Jackson, in large part because Gilman belabors every point, stretches out every scene, seemingly without an editor in sight to cut the fat. That belaboring conveyed via a bedtime parent was excruciating. The romantic musings of a teenage-minded author on a teenage character’s romantic musings was lemon in the wound. The main character’s inexplicable, often treasonous, behavior and thoughts and actions always portrayed as anything but made me wonder if Gilman had lost the plot, both figuratively and literally.

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