To have a few days off is a great gift for me, my wife and of course for the blog. It gives me the freedom to read and write more than usual. I live in a different time zone than most of my readers. Last night I received a mail from Mark Lord who is a UK based writer and the mastermind of Mark Lord's Praeter Naturam. He offered me a free download of his new short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure.
I made mixed experience with short stories. But after reading the blurb I could not withstand and downloaded a copy. Then I thought by myself: "Hey, the night is young and you are full of beans. Open the file and read the story." No sooner said than done. It was a satisfying read and I slept well afterward without nightmares.
When I woke up this morning I thought by myself it would be a good idea to review Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure now. I changed the review style a bit and this is the result.
Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:
Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure (eShort Story , September 2011)
"A single silent knight armoured in black plate defends a narrow bridge in the hills of Auvergne, blocking the path of a band of desperate English soldiers. On the bank defended by the knight is a pavilion where sits a French noble-woman, who taunts the English. Cold, wet and hungry, Jake and his comrades discover that the knight and the lady prove to be more difficult opponents than they imagined. " [Source]Additionally you should know that this is the first in a series of stories featuring Jake Savage an English archer thrust into the horrors of war during the Hundred Years War in Fourteenth Century France [Info from author].
I expected a short and entertaining story which gives a first impression of the English archer Jake Savage.
Be warned! This is a violent story and not a Sunday afternoon tea time read.
I don't know how familiar you are with Hundred Years War. It was a horrible time full of blood, violence and disease. In the end France lost half of its population.
Mark Lord delivers a story which has nothing to do with an adventure an average reader would expect. I have been surprised too. I'm not addicted to violence and I think the story would not work on the way it does without all the violence. Mark Lord gives a very intense and painstakingly depiction of the horrors of war. The setting is an unexpected one and the supernatural sparkle intensifies the atmosphere a lot. The description of the surrounding is well dosed and fit. The story delivers one more example which you find so often in military history:
Arrogance combined with power does not always win the day.
Jake Savage seems to be a good archer. Compared to his comrades he acts cautious. Beside that he does something which one should not expect from a common soldier: He think and reflects his situation.
The pacing is excellent and Mark Lord does not waste a word too much. The end is a tricky one. It is not an expected one and it delivers not the 100% solution. But it is as satisfying as the story itself.
Thumbs up or down
I hope there will be more Jake Savage stories (a full novel would be great) soon.
Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure satisfied my craving for historical fiction with a mystery touch which is taking a greater part within my reading comfort zone of epic fantasy, steampunk and space opera.