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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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Saturday 13 March 2021

Shake Loose the Border

 This is the third book in Bob Low's trilogy set in the Scottish borders in the 16th century. The 'Rough Wooing' conflict with England is coming to an end with Henry VIII's death, but that rarely stops conflict amongst the border reivers. 

Our hero, the wonderfully named Batty Coalhouse, accepts a commission to recover an old friend captured by English raiders. This should be a simple matter of paying the ransom. However, he has been sold on to a rogue warlord, Nebless Clem, on account of his nose being sliced off. Neb being old English for a nose or snout.

Batty is captured by Clem, who doesn't want to ransom his friend, and goes further by whipping Batty. Needless to say, this sparks a campaign of vengeance while capturing his friend from Clem's band. There are more than a few twists and turns, but I won't spoil the story.

As with the other two books in the trilogy, this story captures the feel of border warfare. Small bands of light cavalry skirmishing on both sides of the border. There are a few mercenaries still around from the English army that made extensive use of such units. In this book, they include a group of Albanian Stradioti. Not sure if such a unit made it to Scotland, but it gives me some further options for games.

Stradiots in 15mm and 28mm from my collection.


  1. Sounds like a good book and the option to have colourful troops always gets my vote:)

    1. And mercenary Stradiots wore some pretty outlandish colours in this period, probably copied from the Landsknechts. Make my Albanians look positively bland!