Warriors by Jack Ludlow

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Warriors by Jack Ludlow

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Meghan Burton
Reviewed by Meghan Burton
Summary: A fast-paced novel about a band of determined Norman knights, Warriors lacks emotional pull in its characters but delivers an exciting and unpredictable story of conquest.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Allison & Busby
ISBN: 978-0749007553

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Arduin of Fassano is paid by Michael Doukeianos, a young Byzantine general, to keep the peace in Apulia. Arduin is a Lombard, however, and secretly plans to revolt and take Apulia for himself, hiring a group of Norman mercenaries to help him do the job. These Normans are William de Hauteville and his brothers, famed warriors with their own conflicts and a desire to gain titles and wealth for their sons. Even if Arduin and the Normans could take Apulia, there are no guarantees that they could hold it in a land full of treachery and bribes.

Warriors is the second in a series. I had not read the first, but still found it fairly easy to follow. The characters are all introduced well and the backstory is explained where appropriate, which makes nothing feel strange or unexpected.

I do have to wonder, though, if having read the first book would cause the reader to feel more attachment to these characters, because this is the biggest flaw in the book. It's very hard to care about any of these men. The brothers do very little but fight amongst themselves when they aren't fighting on a battlefield. They are all shallow and have no emotional resonance; they seem to exist just to conquer lands and kill other people. I had hope for William, who does have a mistress that he seems to care for, but this angle is hardly explored.

It's not even worth mentioning the women. There are only two female characters in the book who warrant more than a few paragraphs. The first is William's mistress, who quickly grows to desire and love him even though she hated him when they first met, and the second is his wife, who also hates him but then weeps for him later on. I could see nothing appealing about the man, so their behavior perplexed me, and made it clear to me that this is a book for men who enjoy action but no genuine emotional relationships to bog down the plot.

The action, however, is very very good. The book is fast-paced and land and titles pass through hands rapidly as various characters die or lose battles. The book also contains a lot of medieval politics and treachery, which livened things up and made it more than a book full of battles. I enjoyed reading about the medieval preparations for war and the way that battles were fought. The book even includes a melee tournament and underscores the danger of that game.

Overall, Warriors is not a brilliant book. The characters suffer from lack of depth and emotional intensity. They can fight well, both verbally with one another and on the battlefield, but they have little else to them. The battle scenes, however, are very good, as is the political manouevering throughout the book. I would have to recommend this to someone who enjoys action but doesn't feel the desire to be at all moved by a book.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy to the Book Bag.

For another story full of warfare, try The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane.

Buy Warriors by Jack Ludlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Warriors by Jack Ludlow at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Warriors by Jack Ludlow at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Warriors by Jack Ludlow at Amazon.com.


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