Sword of Justice (Chivalry)

Written by Christian Cameron
Review by Gordon O'Sullivan

In Sword of Justice, the fourth in his Chivalry series focusing on a 14th-century mercenary knight, Sir William Gold, and his demanding military, political, and personal lives, Christian Cameron has produced a slow-burning but ultimately satisfying read. This instalment is set in 1367 when Europe is a powder keg waiting to explode. Sir William will try to cut a safe path through a minefield of ever-shifting political alliances to benefit from an unceasing need for mercenary soldiers from the Holy Roman Empire, the Byzantines, Milan, and Venice. Sir William will attempt to remain true to his knightly instincts while keeping his men alive and finishing up on the winning side.

Coming new to the Chivalry series, it wasn’t straightforward to settle into the detail-packed story or to warm to this particular band of brothers. While Cameron’s storytelling in the novel is terrific, overlong descriptions of weaponry and military technique do slow the narrative down, on occasion. Conversely, that detail underpins the impressively handled battle scenes, which Sword of Justice delivers. In addition, the political infighting and the bewildering number of Sir William’s enemies are very deftly handled by Cameron, and there is also a great authenticity to the locales that the reader and Sir William travel through. The intriguing character of Sir William Gold is, however, the true strength of Sword of Justice: a mercenary with a fierce code of honour; a ferocious warrior but a subtle diplomat when required; a brutal killer and a devoted husband and father. His struggle to live up to his own personal code while fighting against those who have no moral scruples is the engine that drives this very enjoyable read.