A Traitor’s Fate (2: Rebels and Brothers)

Written by Derek Birks
Review by Helen Hollick

A Traitor’s Fate is the second novel in a series and deals in depth with various battles and skirmishes that occurred during the political upheaval period of the Wars of the Roses. Fictional character, Ned Elder, is the main protagonist, along with his family and loyal supporters. The story is set in 1464 and there is peace regarding an ongoing family feud. But peace never lasts. There are twists and turns as the action and adventure continues – Ned on the run, marked as a traitor; his wife pregnant, with his sisters desperate to protect her; ruthless power-seeking; embittered fights; royal secrets… Ned is possibly more of a fictional hero than a believable real character – he does seem to survive battles with panache, but then, so do most heroes! Although second in the series (I have not read the first) I understood what was happening. The novel is well presented with its production quality, I did not find many typo errors or notice any incorrect text settings.

I would have liked more description of the characters and places instead of the relentless battle scenes, which might be off-putting to readers who are not keen on the nastier side of war. There were some historically inaccuracies which may irritate readers who know this period and setting of Northumbria. For instance, the narrative opens outside Bamburgh Castle, yet there was no descriptive detail of how it would have looked in the fifteenth century as compared to now. The author’s notes refer to sand dunes, but these are a recent feature, in the past the sea came right up against the rocky outcrop on which the castle stands. All minor details, however, if you enjoy novels of battles and fighting, but perhaps this is not one for readers who prefer the gentler side of a relaxing read.