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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Tuesday 29 July 2014

The Ottoman Cycle - 2 & 3

Holiday travel enabled me to read the next two books in S.J.A.Turney’s, Ottoman Cycle.

The first was the ‘Priest’s Tale’, where our ‘hero’ Skioros leaves Crete (Candia) on his journey of revenge against the Sultan’s brother Cem, who is an exile in the Vatican. He blames him for the death of his brother. His ship is captured by Ottoman pirates and he and his comrades are taken to Tunis to be sold as slaves. They escape and make the long land journey with Tuareg traders across North Africa and then across the straits to Spain. The story ends with him being separated from his companions by accident and ends up with Columbus sailing for the New World.

In the second book, ‘The Assassin’s Tale’, he has returned from the Americas and rejoins his companions who agree to help him in his quest. They join a Condottieri lance commanded by one of their group and fight their way across Italy, before being engaged by Cesare Borgia in the Vatican. This gives them access to Cem, albeit with the complication that the French King has his own plans for him.

It’s difficult to badge this series as its not a conventional swashbuckling historical fiction in the Cornwell mode. The characters are very well developed and the historical research is evident. The second book brilliantly covers the complex machinations of 15th Century Italian politics. Perhaps more importantly, its a great read with lots of twists in the tale and certainly no shortage of action. I particularly like the way the main character develops across the three books. Recommended.

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