My holiday fiction reading has been a catch up of Bernard Cornwell books. I can remember the day when I would buy hardbacks of his books as published. However, these days I have been a bit slow, not because his writing isn't still superb, but simply because there is so much good historical fiction that has followed in his wake.
My first catch up was with the ongoing saga of Thomas Hookton, the English archer in the Hundred Years War, in '1356'.
Essentially this is about the Poitiers campaign, possibly the least well covered of the three great English longbow victories of the conflict. Perhaps also forgotten, that in this battle the men at arms played a big role.
Our hero starts the book commanding his Free Company on mercenary duty in France. He falls foul of the church authorities and gets involved in a search for a sacred relic, the sword of St Peter, la Malice.
As always, damsels have to be rescued and great characters come and go before we reach the climax at the battle itself. This is classic Cornwell, written at great pace, strong characters and nearly impossible to put down. And I wouldn't have, had it not been for the distraction of Montenegro.
My second Cornwell book was Death of Kings
. This continues the story of Uhtred, a pagan Dane, sort of in the service of King Alfred the Great at around 900AD, during the off and on conflicts with the Vikings. Again, it has all you would expect from a Cornwell book. Our hero is of course an anti-establishment figure as much at war with the church as with the Danes. More damsels to be rescued, much treachery, all culminating in a big battle scene. All inspiring me to get the SAGA boards out before my holiday ends.
My non-fiction read was 'Realm of the Black Mountain'
by Elizabeth Roberts an excellent one volume history of Montenegro. My holiday companion as I toured the country. More details of that trip will be on Balkan Military History
when I finish writing it up.