1643: This is year three of the English Civil War, and the third book in Michael Arnold’s ‘Stryker’ series. It is very similar to the earlier books which cover respectively 1641 and 1642, following the fortunes of the same captain and the same unit through the same war. The main difference this time is that Stryker’s theatre of operations has shifted from the Midlands to the West Country. Much of the action takes place on Dartmoor.
As with the earlier books the action is almost entirely military. The love interest is slight and the politics non-existent (Stryker is a mercenary so the motives for the war do not concern him greatly). There is, however, a ‘witch finder’ among Stryker’s enemies, which introduces us to the witch-hunting mania which still gripped much of England.
I liked the book rather more than its predecessors, perhaps because I am becoming used to the unrelenting violence. The battle scenes are uncomfortably good, especially the descriptions of real battles, in this case the battle of Stratton in Cornwall. The research is impressive and the narrative vivid.
If you liked the earlier books you will enjoy this, and you will be looking forward to 1644.