Release Date: 16/09/10
King Louis of France is about to invade Egypt on his vainglorious Seventh Crusade. The Pope and the Emperor are at each other's throats. And where greed and ambition cross, blood soon follows. Caught in the middle of this is Petroc of Auneford, or Patch to his friends. After years aboard the Cormoran, a ship of relic-traders and adventurers, Patch has finally returned to living on dry land. Now a rich man, running a bank in Venice, life should be easy. But money and liberty are not the same thing - and all too soon, Patch is being called on by all sides to do their bidding in this deadly game of power and glory. As the rulers of Europe crush lives like beetles underfoot, Patch knows if he, his friends and his beloved Iselda are to stay alive, he must go to the blistering heart of the crusade, where zealot, infidel, mercenary and heretic fight to the death. He must outwit the cunning, outrun disease and death and find a way to true freedom. And all the while, cling on to a precious dream of home...
Historical Fiction usually fits into two subcategories, a love story or hard military, yet Pip’s latest offering defies both and is proud to stand-alone. Within the pages is a tale of love, there is also some double-dealing and with a main character who goes crusading to avoid the entrapment that politics tends to lead to shows that we have a savvy protagonist.
Not just content to make the adventure, Pip also demonstrates what whilst money may be the root of all evil, that it can accomplish some good deeds as well as proving that his pace is excellent with moment s of levity mixed against the harshness of war.
The combat within is acceptable but it is the lead character, Petroc, which really stands out. He is smart, he is handy but it is his sense of acumen that wins the day proving that brain overcomes brawn. A thrilling read and one that will have me seeking out more titles by this author when I want something different to the norm.