"I love this series. I guess this is because I tend towards colourful rogues as main characters and no-nonsense women as their counterpart. But, in this instance, it is also because of the wonderful descriptive writing, and the totally believable characters - indeed I was somewhat shocked to discover that Ms Logue had completely made up Hollie, Luce, Het, Thankful Russell and the motley troop of ruffians. They are far too lifelike to not have been real people!"
(An Uncivil War Book 2)
Military / Fictional Saga
17th Century / English Civil Wars
"February 1643. The beginning of the English Civil War and for once Captain Hollie Babbitt thinks his luck's turned. After a typically daredevil assault on Prince Rupert's elite cavalry troop, he's presently in favour with the Army of Parliament's commander. He's also personally in favour with Luce Pettitt's fragrant Auntie Het. And although they haven't managed to break Luce of the poeting habit, he's turning into a competent and capable officer. But what seems on the surface to be a minor promotion to a quiet backwater posting, sees Hollie forced to confront the demons of his past...."
I love this series. I guess this is because I tend towards colourful rogues as main characters and no-nonsense women as their counterpart. But, in this instance, it is also because of the wonderful descriptive writing, and the totally believable characters - indeed I was somewhat shocked to discover that Ms Logue had completely made up Hollie, Luce, Het, Thankful Russell and the motley troop of ruffians. They are far too lifelike to not have been real people!
But while the characters are made up, the events are not. The battles are graphic (as is some of the language), the hardship, the fear, the doubts, the sheer weariness of the hard slog of enduring the dreariness of a siege, the mud and filth of being on the march with the army, or the aftermath of battle with the inevitable result of losing dear friends to the sorrow of death, or the pain and discomfort of recovering from dreadful wounds. All of it brought vividly to life within these page-turning pages - but don't get me wrong, this is not a gruesome or difficult read, it is merely realistic, and in places extremely funny, for the characters populating this novel - this series - are ordinary men and women involved in extraordinary circumstances.
From where I live in North Devon my eighteenth-century farmhouse overlooks the Taw Valley and the main road from Exeter to Barnstaple and Torrington, where on the 16th February 1646, a decisive battle of the south-western campaign of the First English Civil War was fought, the outcome marking the end of Royalist cause in the West Country. I am a little disappointed that Babbit and his troop were situated in the North, Midlands and Essex area, I would have liked to imagine them making their way along 'my' bit of the valley!
Aside from the addictive charm of the leading characters, the delight of this series is that because of the meticulous research you do not realise that, as you read, you are taking in the bare-bone little facts of the history of the English Civil War, the where and the how, but not the political machinations of the why... the answer to that is often a mystery to even the soldiers involved. They are there to do a job, they are soldiers fighting on the Puritan side, not for the Royalist Cavaliers. These are men on the 'other' side... and that makes Babbit and co., refreshingly different to the majority of English Civil War novels which write of dashing cavaliers and loyalty at all cost to King Charles I. I've never really considered the buff-coated men of Cromwell's New Model Army as 'heroes', always believing myself to be a Royalist supporter. I hope Ms Logue will be delighted to learn that she has totally converted me.
I am now eagerly delving into book three... and four ... and five...
© Helen Hollick
(note: these novels contain explicit language)
click here to return to home page 'Bookshelf' then scroll down for more items of interest