Monday, December 2, 2013

Honour And The Sword by A.L. Berridge

Honour And The Sword

by A.L. Berridge

It is 1636 - the height of the Thirty Years War, one of the bloodiest and most destructive conflicts Europe has ever seen. As the campaigning season begins, the Spanish armies swell out of the Artois region of the Netherlands – flooding into King Louis XIII's France.

The sleepy border village of Dax-en-roi stands in their way. Facing the overwhelming might of the Spanish forces, the Chevalier de Roland rallies a valiant defence, but in vain – his household guard no match for the invaders. There is only one survivor as the Roland estate is razed to the ground, one soul who escapes the Spanish brutality: the lone heir to the Roland name, the son, a young boy by the name of AndrĂ© de Roland, the new Sieur of Dax . . .

Upon this young nobleman's shoulders all hope lies. He alone must bear the honour of the Roland name and, with it, the fate of his people.

What could I possibly say about this book, besides the fact that this is one of the best books I've read in a long time?  It was wonderfully written, masterful even.  The characters were unique and their personalities remained true throughout the story.  They had such depth to them!  The book is written with several characters narrating their accounts, each told in first person POV.  I loved the way this was done because it gave me a better understanding of each of the characters.  I loved each of them  (except for Destrada's man).  I would highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Jonathan Oliver.  He brings the stories to life and narrates each character so that their personalities shine through.  I'd say that one of the things I loved so much about the book was his narration.  Many people found the format confusing, but with the audiobook it is easy to follow as each of the characters has their own unique voice.
There was so much suspense in this book!  I felt like absolutely anything could happen at any time and just when I thought I knew how a situation would end...BAM!  Everything would change.  Just like real life, nothing is certain.  The suspense nearly killed me.  In a good way, of course.  My heart was pounding, I wanted to either duck and cover or go fight someone.

I don't know much about the Thirty Years War except from what I read in the book, but it has spurred me on to learn more.  The author wrote in a way that I could easily imagine the setting and the atmosphere of the place.  It felt real.  I wanted to be out there, fighting alongside the French defenders.  The desperation, anger, grief...I felt it all keenly.
I loved every moment of Honour And The Sword.  Finishing the book was like losing a very good friend.  Nothing I write in this review could possibly do it justice. So read it!  Do it.

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