Warriors in the Snow (Arrows of Albion 6)

Written by Jonathan Lunn
Review by Chiara Prezzavento

The bitter winter of 1356 finds Martin Kemp captain of a company of mounted archers in Edward III’s brief and ill-fated Scottish expedition known as the Burnt Candlemas. Kemp’s captaincy proves a brief one, however, when a spell of bad luck puts him on the King’s bad side. And true, Kemp lost half his men to a Scottish ambush—but has no fault for the fire that destroys his billet. Still, stripped of his rank and taken prisoner, he must watch as the blundering and blustering Sir Alexander Bulchett, the man actually responsible for the fire, is made captain in his place. To top it all, when the retreating English army is attacked, Kemp is left for dead, half-frozen, injured, and manacled. Luckily his Gascon friend, the knight Nompar de Savignac, comes back to find him; less fortunately, the two fall in with half a dozen of Kemp’s less pleasant archers, led by Bulchett, whose personal agenda does not contemplate getting safely back to England. Trouble ensues, of course—in the form of horrible weather, Scottish reivers, stupidity, superstition, and a mystical quest.

Sixth in the Arrows of Albion series, Warriors in the Snow is full of action and perils. I must confess I found a few characters rather over the top, and the dialogue exposition-heavy on occasion. I like Martin Kemp, though, and even more his growing friendship with the (almost) unflappable, dry-witted, and honourable Nompar. Not perfect, but quite entertaining.