Friday, March 23, 2012

"Devil's Charge" - a review..

Long overdue review...

I finished this a couple of weeks ago - it's the second book in the Stryker series, the first of which, "Traitor's Blood", I reviewed here

Either way, time has moved on and it now 1643, the second year of the (first) English Civil War - the armies are becoming more professional but still have a way to go..

As per the previous book, Stryker, who is a professional soldier and veteran of the continental wars (the 30 Years War), is fighting for the Royalists, and specifically for Prince Rupert.

The book opens at the siege of Cirencester where a successful Royalist assault follows the letting off of an enormous explosive device that destroys the somewhat makeshift defences. It turns out that the explosion is the work of a gifted "fire-worker" (explosives expert) in the pay of the Prince.

After the siege Rupert entrusts Stryker with a secret mission to discover what has happened to Lisette Gaillard (the French super spy working for the Queen who Stryker met and fell in love with in the previous book) and the man she was protecting - either way, events conspire to try and stop him doing this, and a trumped up charge of murder results in him being imprisoned, where he then escapes and proceeds on his mission as a way of evading capture...

He heads for Lichfield where after many adventures he is involved in the successful Parliamentary siege of the city - he then escapes his second imprisonment, and is further involved in the Battle of Hopton Heath (superb section of the book - Arnold is very good on English Ciuvil War battle experiences....)

Throw in a psycopathic Puritan religious nut (the delightfully named Major Girns) who is trying to kill the fire-worker and his brother (named the Blaze brothers would you believe - and both masters of artillery), as much as Lisette and Stryker are trying to save them and we have a cracking read....

Publisher - drop the stupid Sharpe comparisons - the books/characters stand on their own merits....  8 out of 10 and the English Civil Wargaming fires are stoked again....


  1. Thanks for the review, Steve.

    -- Jeff

  2. Ok How do you get different pages for your blog I add them and only get same page and only a new list of posts any suggestions

  3. Thanks for the tip and I'll get them both! I will be starting ECW army but I'll be going North of the story your reading under the command of a certain Montrose.:-)


  4. Christopher - GOOD choice.... a long time ago DG and I dabbled in a kind of DBA variant... it failed mostly because I couldn't get on with the scale (1/300... yuckkk) but my army was a Covenanter one... ECW with Highlanders what's not to like??? :o)

    VolleyFire - I'm no expert mate, but I checked your blog and it looks good... you have a lot of stuff at the top of the page, but the posts are there at the bottom??

  5. I've got Traitor's Blood in the unread pile so maybe I will start that least it won't make me buy ECW figures as I have hundreds unpainted anyway!

  6. Have not so far seen either of these and am always pretty dubious about "series" as like Sharpe and others they become formulaic to a massive degree.
    As a long standing ECW nut I may have to check these out.

  7. Andy - I'll be interested to know what you think.... I'm not particularly well versed in the war, I've read a bit as I have an interest, but he seems to have the period nicely......