Fields of Glory

Written by MICHAEL JECKS

Edward III of England is determined to enforce his right to the French throne, but so far the French king has not been of a mind to give him battle. To provoke the French into action, Edward launches a devastating raid, the likes of which France has never seen, leaving only death in its wake. Left with no choice but to fight, the French raise a huge army, and finally Edward gets the battle he wants on ground of his choosing at Crécy. The French have the numerical advantage, but Edward has the devastating Welsh and English bowmen on his side. Who will prevail on this field of glory?

Some years distant from his Knights Templar books, Michael Jecks has written a brutal book to start this new series. As the English cut a swathe through Normandy, medieval warfare is shown with all its intendant ferocity as they murder, rape, pillage and burn all around them. Populating this hellish scene and using the structure of a vintaine, a group of 20 archers, Jecks has created realistic and varied characters, including the wonderfully named Grandarse. Using multiple viewpoints, both male and female, the reader sees not only the destruction inflicted on the French populace but also how the English are damaged by their own brutality. While Fields of Glory is very good on the beliefs and superstitions common to the time, it is the battle scenes which drive this book. Jecks is endlessly inventive when it comes to warfare, and the Battle of Crécy, which ends the book, is superbly depicted with the main characters in the thick of the action.

This is a highly recommended start to this new series.