Shake Loose the Border (Border Reivers Book 3)

Written by Robert Low
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

This is the third in the Border Reivers series. It is 1548, and Batty Coalhouse is considering his future. As England’s war in Scotland is ending, there are few options for a veteran mercenary and explosives expert. Coming from the Scottish-English border, where raiding against other “named” families was the norm, he could return to bounty-hunting – even though his family and friends are diminishing and his enemies increasing. He’s tasked with the recovery of one of his old comrades, carrying a ransom if needed. Nothing is simple, though, for the old soldier. The feuds and rivalries among the violent raider-families makes his travelling in the region dangerous.

Low manages to run a thread through the chaos of the region and period. His aging yet canny protagonist is likeable yet saddening: Batty is beginning to wonder if someone as steeped in blood as himself can ever retire before he dies. He is good at what he does, but so many people want him dead. This book is well-written, and descriptive of both the country and the characters which made up the region’s violent past.