Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Edi's Spotlight: Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure by Mark Lord


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].

My Expectations
I expected a short and entertaining story which gives a first impression of the English archer Jake Savage.

The Delivery

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.


Rosalie Skinner said...

Great review. Somehow reminds me, from your review, of Bernard Cornwell's Agincourt (Sp) That was an awesome but graphic book that didn't gloss over the horrors of war.

ediFanoB said...

Rosalie, thank you for your kind words.

I heard about Bernard Cornwell's Agincourt. So far I did not read a book by Bernard Cornwell.

when everything goes well I will finish Exiled: Autumn's Peril tonight :-)

Rosalie Skinner said...

Sweet... hope you enjoy it!! I watched all the Sharpe series with Sean Bean and then read all the books. They are great fun. Not fantasy, but wonderfully descriptive history. Even if slightly ficitonalised. It's allowed, if it makes history interesting and absorbing, isnt' it?

ediFanoB said...

Rosalie, I enjoyed Exiled: Autumn's Peril a lot. I left a first impression on GOODREADS. Full review will follow.

I googled the Sharp series. It hasn't been aired on German TV as far as I remember.

I have knack for archers. Therefore I put Cornwell's Agincourt on my never ending book list.

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