Review published on June 8, 2017.
Viper’s Blood is the fourth book in the Masters of War series by David Gilman. This is good news, as there are three to catch up on! The latest can, however, be read as a standalone novel, since enough of the backstory is included to keep the reader up to date.
The Masters of War books are set during the reign of Edward III and the Hundred Years’ War. The hero is Sir Thomas Blackstone, a mighty warrior, and his band of loyal “chosen men”. The author has clearly carried out extensive research on the period, and his detailed knowledge of weapons, military strategy and the dismal living conditions of the English army makes for gripping reading. En route to Italy he saves the life of Aelys, who is to be burned as a witch and, although he does not wish to become involved with another woman, she manages to cast a spell over him in more ways than one. Not only is he reluctantly attracted to her, she can also foretell the future, which is more of a curse than a blessing.
The book is absolutely gripping (although it amounts to some 493 pages) and I can thoroughly recommend it to both individual readers and book groups with an interest in history, as well as fans of Bernard Cornwell. A superb read. I look forward to the next episode.
Ruth Ginarlis 5/5
Viper’s Blood by David Gilman
Head of Zeus 9781784974466 hbk Feb 2017
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