BORDER BOOKWORMS (aka HADRIAN'S HUSSIES)
This is the first of three books from the Devilstone Chronicles by local novelist Richard Anderton. Starting off in Tudor England this rip-roaring yarn takes the reader on an adventure from the court of King Henry VIII to war torn Europe. It has all the right ingredients needed for a successful swashbuckler. Lots of action, tight scrapes and miraculous escapes, political intrigue, royal power struggles and a dash of romance. As the author explains on his website this book is not for readers under 15 because it's "full of battles, brothels and black magic". It's also full of historical facts, educating as well as entertaining.
Well written and engaging, the Hussies were drawn into the world of Thomas Devilstone as he tries to regain the power and influence he once enjoyed. Fleeing the Tudor Court he goes to Europe hoping to join with the supporters of the ousted House of York. In true epic fashion Thomas becomes embroiled in the Italian wars which raged across Western Europe. Time to refresh your knowledge of the great Hapsburg dynasty! Throughout the book the reader learns of the social and political history of the time. The logistics of war were particularly fascinating and the level of detail Anderton goes into is impressive.
All enjoyed this book although the incredible breadth of subject matter came at the cost of depth. The characters seemed a little under developed leaving the reader ambivalent to their fate. Lovers of the genre will no doubt enjoy this book and it will be interesting to hear how they feel it compares to works such as George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It's certainly widened the Hussies's knowledge of History and gets an all-round bravo from this reading group.
Such a positive response to last month's choice may have been helped by the warm and welcoming atmosphere at The Robin Hood Inn. This was our third visit and it was definitely third time lucky, a roaring log fire in the grate, tasty hot food, professional friendly service and quite good value (£14 per head including tip). An evening visit is definitely on the cards!