Wednesday 23 November 2022

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Drums of War by Michael Ward


Sharpe Books
August 2022

Thomas Tallant #3

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

London 1642.

The King has fled London with the drums of war ringing in his ears. Across the country, lines are being drawn and armies raised.

Influential royalist Lady Carlisle switches sides and presses spice trader Thomas Tallant and his partner Elizabeth Seymour into Parliament's service.

Soon Thomas faces double-dealing in his hunt for a lethal hoard of gunpowder hidden on the river, while Elizabeth engages in a race against time to locate a hidden sniper picking off Parliamentary officers at will in the city.

The capital also witnesses a vicious gang of jewel thieves take advantage of the city’s chaos to go on the rampage, smashing homes and shops, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. They hand pick their targets but refrain from selling any of their loot. There are more questions than answers.

When war finally erupts, Elizabeth is caught in the brutalising carnage of Edgehill while Thomas joins the Trained Bands in their defence of the city. As he mans the barricades at Brentford, in a desperate rearguard action to repel Prince Rupert’s surprise attack, he realises the future of London rests in the hands of him and a few hundred troopers.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth believes she has identified the jewel thief and goes underground to trace his hoard.

But all is not as it seems..

πŸ“– My Review ..

In this third book in the Thomas Tallant series of historical adventures we meet again with Tallant and his friend, Elizabeth Seymour, just as England is on the brink of civil war. It’s 1642, King Charles I has been forced out of London and there is much unrest in this changing world as people decide whether to support the Divine Right of the King or the will of Parliament. With the country in disarray and the echoes of civil war getting ever closer Tallant must keep his considerable wits about him as he is thrown headlong into chaos. Elizabeth also faces danger as she investigates a spate of jewel thefts and uses her skill and cunning to keep ahead of her enemies.

The author has developed this series really well and with such a strong sense of history it’s obvious that a great deal of research has gone into making both time and place come vividly to life. Mixing fact with fiction is never easy but Tallant fits comfortably with real historical figures and his first pitched battle at Edgehill in October 1642, and later at Brentford in November is described with a rich awareness of historical detail and with no scrimping on the effects of battle. There’s a definite sense of unease, after all the country was at war with itself, and this comes across in the confusion and disarray as both sides were ill prepared and badly equipped for war.

Whilst it’s possible to read each of the books in this series as standalone adventures there is much to be gained in getting to know Thomas Tallant and Elizabeth Seymour from the start of their friendship as that way their character progression becomes more meaningful and you appreciate just how much historical detail goes into each well written story.

🍷Best read with…a goblet of warmed wine

About the Author

Writing has been central to Mike Ward’s professional life. On graduating from university he became a journalist, working in newspapers and for the BBC. He then went into journalism education, teaching and researching journalism practice before becoming head of the UK’s prestigious Journalism School at UCLan. For the last eight years he has run his own content creation company.

Twitter @mikewardmedia 


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