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Dec 10, S.

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And yet when I think about what I know, all I could really tell you is that it went on for decades and that it ended at Bosworth Field in with a Welshman with a big nose and a cruel hunchback searching for a horse. Well, a little more than that, obviously, but you get my drift. Feud is the debut novel by Derek Birks and the first in a four book series.

Was it going to be a bloody battles historical novel, or a family saga? Well, simply it is both. The book follows the … well, the feud, obviously… between the Elder family and their neighbours, the Radcliffes. In retrospect, given the size and scope of the book, I expect Derek took the deliberate decision to cut down on early chaff. Driven from his lands and with his family dead, captive or scattered, Ned Elders sets off on a mission to put things right in the face of insurmountable odds. And as the story follows his journey, as well as those of his sisters, his friends and his enemies, the tale interweaves with the events of political and military manoeuvering and warfare leading up to the dreadful battle of Towton in Firstly, let me say that this novel is an indie published work and is at the very top of the quality scale.

It is exceptionally well written and polished. Apart from the fairly precipitous beginning and a perhaps over-complex web of events that led me to regularly think back and work out where everyone was, everything I found about the book was good. The writing is descriptive and immersive, yet driven along by the characters at a surprisingly swift pace.

Those characters are well rounded and quite believable. There is nothing superman about them. They are human, with flaws and feelings, and they struggle through bad times. The battle scenes are bloody and action packed, and the many scenes of individual derring-do are excellent. Moreover, there is a sense that this feud that forms the backbone of the tale is rather unnecessary. The characters are not black and white on the whole, but grey.

The Radcliffes actually contain good people in the end, and the actions of the Elders at times can be a little questionable. Although there can be no doubt that Edmund Radcliffe is definitely a slimeball! The landscapes here — and the book stretches from North Yorkshire to Wales, to Shropshire and London, and back north again — are well painted, and some of the area is local to me, so I could visualise the places well. The first novel deals with the feud and achieves a good, finite ending on that family squabble, yet we are still left with questions about the future of the family during these tumultuous times.

And so this book took me to and left me wanting to read the other three, which I presume will gradually bring me to Bosworth field and the end of the Wars. In short, an excellent debut with some memorable characters and a good swift pace. I could not have picked a more appropriate time to read Mr.

Birks' "Feud" really. This book takes place in the throws of the War of the Roses in the s. Just last week, Richard III's, one of the kings of the era, body was identified as really being that of the infamous king. The body was found under a car park in Leicester, England. It was definitely an interesting coincidence! It was very cool to be reading about Richard's time period when his body was identified.

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This is the stuff of a hist I could not have picked a more appropriate time to read Mr. This is the stuff of a history lovers' dream! It was so interesting to me to see how far people would be willing to go in order to extract a little bit more land. As Birks points out in the historical note section of the book love when authors include these sections; I'm always interested in a good backstory behind a book , because rule of law was sort of not really present during the war, a lot of these little skirmishes between various families were allowed to get totally out of hand, which is exactly what happens between the two families in this book.

Through all of the fighting, we get to see how rough a lot of people had it while the War of the Roses was going on. It was not a glamorous time to live. Some of the things that happen to some of the main characters are a little hard to read poor Ellie having to go to the horrible convent where she's basically jailed in a building that is falling apart.

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The grittiness is not overdone or gratuitous. You definitely get a swift dose of reality in this book. Birks' eye for detail is so great in this book! There are a lot of battle scenes in this book. And for me, they were very long and some of them were very complicated to follow, which kind of took me out of the book a little bit.

I also wish that we got to know some of the characters a little bit better. Overall, this is a great book for anyone who is interested in how people's lives were during the War of the Roses years if you were not directly in either the Lancaster or York parties. At 69p this was well worth it as a cheap read on Amazon. But as a book in competition with other works on the same period in the Bernard Cornwell style it was both ok and also forgetable. I resisted putting a review on Amazon because low ratings three and below affect sales, and this writer deserves sales for his Sunday afternoon 'bash and grab' historical fiction, aptly titled, as it is one battle after another.

A Commando book remember them boys! It en At 69p this was well worth it as a cheap read on Amazon. It entertained well enough, but lacked a little content, character and depth for me what caused the fued? But I believe it to be a first book, so I'm sure the writer's skill will develop through subsequent titles with time and practice. Feb 24, Mercedes Rochelle rated it really liked it. I tip my hat to anyone brave enough to tackle the Wars of the Roses.

At best, this is a confusing, complicated, puzzling era, where you practically need a score card to keep track of wandering loyalties and changes of fortune. Our author Derek Birks has added the treacherous angle of a dynastic feud, where the unscrupulous winners take advantage of the chaos and seek to totally destroy their rivals.

One son, at least, survived the initial ambush, though his sisters were abducted and his manor wa I tip my hat to anyone brave enough to tackle the Wars of the Roses. One son, at least, survived the initial ambush, though his sisters were abducted and his manor was looted, leaving him the unenviable task of wreaking revenge, rescuing the women, and salvaging his heritage.

All this while young Edward of March, heir to the murdered York, goes about recovering his own heritage and, ultimately, the crown. The battle scenes are spectacular and extremely well written; I was able to follow the action and I could really feel the pain and frustration of the Yorkist side. There are times when I had to suspend my disbelief—Ned and Will were almost superhuman in their killing abilities and recovery from near-fatal traumas—but in the spirit of heroic fiction I went along with the ride.

As for the women, I have to say there were just too many beatings and rapes and tortures for my stomach to take. It was relentless. However, this was a violent age and maybe villains like Radcliffe really could have gotten away with his transgressions.

I think more attention to the warfare and less attention to the abductions might have made a stronger novel. Plunged straight into the heart of the action, the reader is carried along with the characters at a breath-taking pace as the story unfolds and keeps pages turning long after lights out time. With it's rich panoply of characters and vividly described scenes, this seems less a novel, more a first hand account.

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The characters are three dimensional and the emotions described realistic and much research has gone into making the setting true to the era and the historical facts accurate. Reviewed for Good Book Alert This book drew me in from the first page. Overall, this was a great action historical fantasy. The biggest drawback was that you never find out exactly what sparked the feud between the two families.

There is a lot of carnage in the book—whole families get slaughtered. Happily, at the end the author included a historical note which said this book was a fictional account of the War of the Roses See ht Reviewed for Good Book Alert This book drew me in from the first page. But I do think that there needed to be more information about the underlying factors at the beginning of the book.

There were great scenes of action so real that I could imagine them happening. I loved the character of Birches, and the brave women Amelie and Eleanor and Emma. Ned was harder to like, but I rooted for him, too. My favorite character was Will, whose quiet bravery and two-sword manner of fighting made the passages with his character really stand out from the others of the book. While a lot of historical accuracy was put into this, the characters often used modern language, specifically swear words. This did not bother me, but it may bother some readers who prefer historical novels not to stray from the language of the time.

I will also mention this is not a book for those opposed to violence. There were more scenes of carnage in fighting than all other scenes combined in these pages, much of it very graphic and bloody. In summary: A great action adventure, with some very real historical facts to horrify the reader. Parents: Language: Swear words Adult Content: A lot of descriptions of carnage and some rape, the latter not in a positive light Violence: a lot of violence, including graphic depictions of hand to hand fighting in battles with various weapons.

I generally love historical fiction, but here I felt the plot and timelines were very jumbled and in some places difficult to follow. The story focused on two specific families and their allies, but the characters were not particularly well developed. Further, the whole background of the book as the title suggests is a feud between the two main families but you never have any idea what the feud was initially about.

Perhaps with that information I would have been drawn into the conflict more. Apr 07, Garry rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. I really liked this book. I like the whole "War of The Roses" history and found this to be a good read told from a knight's perspective on the York side. It follows some of the major battles in the Ferrybridge, Towton era and includes a most villainous villain Edmund Radcliffe who you love to hate think Ramsay Bolton from GoT evil.

I appreciated portrayal of Warwick and making him a bad guy, who I've always held in very high esteem after reading Iggulden's series. All in all, very gor I really liked this book. All in all, very gory all the way through right from the opening pages through to the last page. Looking forward to following this series Feud This is the best book of action that I have read in a long time.

When you read this book, it is so real that you feel so close to the characters that you can touch them, and in the battles you get the impression of been splash with the blood. It's like watching a 3D movie!!! With a diplomatic lull following the 1st Battle of St. Albans back in , the action hots up and this is probably the most the turbulent and bloodthirsty period of the war, covering the battles of Blore Heath, Ludford Bridge, Northampton, Wakefield where we loose Richard of York , Mortimer's Cross, 2nd St.

Albans, Ferrybridge and Towton. The author clearly knows his history of the age and demonstrates his extensive knowledge of medieval warfare, the depiction of the different battles, both within towns and on the muddy plain, is superb.

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The terrifying aftermath of battles, when the victorious run riot for spoils as the vanquished flee in despair, if they are lucky, is also brilliantly portrayed. Although we should be, as readers, faithful to the White Rose, careful consideration as been given to the unavoidable fates of people on both sides and the death of Owen Tudor stand out as a special tribute. Intertwined with the 'big Fued', we have the 'little Fued', where we have the Elder family of Elder Hall, recently recruited to the Yorkist cause, battle against the Radcliffes of Yordale Castle, long established supporters of the King Within the first couple of pages we are thrown into the action in this bitter family rivalry, with the death of the patriarch of the Elder family.

The playing out of this is truly action packed with strong individual adventures for our hero, Ned Elder, his sisters, Emma and Eleanor, and eventually the love of his life, Amelie. There is also an extensive cast of supporting characters who all have their roles to play. The protagonists are good, albeit somewhat fallible on occasions and the antagonists are almost always really, really bad. There is an incredibly varied interaction between the warring parties throughout the breadth of the country, with a pretty high body count so, be warned, don't get too fond of anybody.


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It is so busy that on occasion you have to step back and take stock of the situation, although I wouldn't consider this a criticism, merely an appreciation of the complexity of the tale. With the dramatic conclusion at and near Towton, we are able to close the door on the current crisis but are fully aware that it will all come back to bite the Yorkists and the Elders very soon.

Where the 'big Fued' and the 'little Fued' really come together is with the parallel positions of Edward of March and Ned Elder, both of whom loose their fathers and are suddenly required to step up to the plate. Their initial meeting is an exceptionally poignant piece of writing giving rise to a special relationship in the future. I already have the remaining three books in the series queued up on my Kindle and look forward to continuing this incredibly series when 'A Traitors Fate' hits the top of my reading pile.

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It has the perfect mixture or action, adventure, and romance. It was interesting to read the story from the different perspectives of the nobility, servants, as well as men and women. Where birch gave way to beech, Ned pulled up and listened again: the sounds of struggle were fading.


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  4. He walked his horse on through a labyrinth of green shadows and hazy shafts of light until he emerged into a broad sunlit glade. Dazzled by the September sun, Ned stopped, shading his eyes. He thought he saw movement on the far side of the clearing and squinted at the trees. A horse wandered towards him, its rider slumped forward over its neck.

    Ned looked long and hard at the lone horseman, harnessed for battle but wearing no helm. He nodded and rode into the clearing. When he saw Ned he simply gave a weary smile and came to a halt alongside his younger brother. Ned scarcely recognised the gaunt face but took his outstretched arm with relief. From somewhere in the wall of trees behind Tom came a shout of triumph. He glanced back. The tired mare reared up in outrage, throwing him to the ground.

    Through the mottled curtain of leaves behind them thundered a mounted knight, encased in black, burnished steel. Two men at arms tracked behind him on foot, breathing heavily as they struggled to keep up. Tom, dazed by the fall, staggered to his feet and drew his sword. Another arrow shot past him. Now, ride! Ned glanced at Will who gave a sharp nod; they were not about to leave Tom having just found him again.

    The blow caught him on the neck, cutting him deeply. He cast a despairing look at Ned and fell to his knees, dropping his sword. He was a week past nineteen years old and had never drawn his sword to spill blood. The men at arms hesitated but, hearing the knight returning, they stood their ground. Will rode at them hard, great shanks of red hair flying behind him. He drove between them slashing down with his sword and left one of the pair clutching his bleeding face.

    Both stumbled away into the bracken and Will turned to meet the oncoming knight, closing on him fast. Wrestling his horse to a standstill, Will sat trembling in the saddle. His hands shook so much he had to sheathe his sword to avoid dropping it. He was about to follow the knight but then, remembering the arrows, he dismounted and approached the trees with caution. The early fallen leaves whispered softly under his feet as he crept between the grey shafts of beech. A few yards in front of him some drooping stems of bracken wavered and there was movement in the undergrowth to his right.

    He took a deep breath and slid the narrow steel blade silently from its scabbard. Tom tried to speak. Another horseman rode into the clearing, armour glinting in the sun. Ned growled in anger, laid Tom gently onto the ground and got to his feet, snatching up the fallen sword. He was a year younger than Will and equally untried, but he lifted the blood-stained weapon high and held it steady in front of him, as he had done a thousand times in practice. He willed himself to focus on the steel-clad rider pounding towards him with a short-handled pollaxe in his hand.

    Something cracked, the bone joint snapped and the knight cried out. The axe slipped from his hand and thudded into the long grass at the forest edge as his frightened mount bore him back into the trees. Ned rammed the point of the sword into the ground and stood motionless, then his shoulders drooped and he laid his hand on the sword hilt once more, for someone else was coming.

    When he looked up he saw with relief that it was Will, emerging white-faced from the trees, wiping the blood from his sword. Emma watched Lynton, the elderly estate steward, trudge up to the top of the small, stone gatehouse to see who was making such a clattering. She had been cutting the last of the lavender in her small herb garden — one of the indulgences her father allowed his seventeen year old as a reward for managing his household.

    The blue flowers of borage and lavender were past their best now, she thought as she got up and went to the gate, still clutching the bundle of lavender stalks. She brushed some broken lavender stems from her robe and pushed a stray lock of black hair under her wimple whilst Lynton slowly dragged one of the gates open. Before he had done so, however, it was given a hefty shove from outside as Robert Radcliffe rode through, his horse knocking Lynton to one side.

    The old man tumbled back onto the cobbles and rolled on to his knees, cursing. Lord Robert dismounted. She had not seen him for several years. He was a powerfully built man in his late forties though his dark shock of black hair was beginning to reveal flecks of grey. Time, she decided, had not been generous to his once handsome face.