Thursday, February 05, 2015

Blood Divide

02_Blood Divide Cover

Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Lion Fiction
Paperback; 352p

Gripping, visceral, and accessible historical fiction.

The Battle of Flodden in September 1513 was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, in which James IV, King of Scots, and virtually the whole of his nobility and gentry were annihilated in an afternoon along with 15,000 soldiers. Five centuries later, the slaughter still occupies a core position in the Scottish nationalist debate and in the pantheon of heroic failures. This novel puts you in the heart of the action; you’ll feel the sweat and the fear, the curtain of red mist.

The narrative covers April through September 1513, focusing around a handful of key characters: John Heron, Bastard of Ford, swaggering, violent, and disreputable, the black sheep of a good English family; Sir Thomas Howard, leader of the English forces and skilled strategist; Alexander, 3rd Lord Hume, leader of the Scots, bold but impetuous; Isabella Hoppringle, Abbess of Coldstream, hub of a web of influential women throughout the Scottish borders, a woman of significant influence and charisma.

Laced with dark humor and fascinating period detail, Blood Divide reminder readers that political intrigue and human folly are timeless.

A cold and harrowing battle on difficult terrain. The fight is joined by seasoned and unseasoned warriors, those who will be utterly shocked by their new daily reality and plenty of noble people who are all of the above. Henry VIII of England is arrogant (imagine that) and James IV is determined that he must defend his country's pride (imagine that). Some plead for peace and others manipulate conditions into a war that they stand to gain from (a political game that many have been playing for some time before Flodden).

Perhaps the two shrewdest players in the war game are Isabella Hoppringle and John Heron, "Bastard" of Ford. Isabella has always been a survivor but the realities of this war will bring her many harsh epiphanies. John Heron is a bastard by lineage but his actions also generally fit this word quit well. Isabella is one of the few weaknesses in the reputation as a mercenary that Johnny has so carefully cultivated. If this were a Lucas film, there would be a Han and Leia cliffhanger here.

Told from many perspectives and pulling many emotions out. Educational, to say the least. Battle behind the scenes so complex that it deserves a second read for full understanding. I was once criticized for saying that a comphrensive war encyclopedia was beautiful....and I supposed I might be criticized by the same person for saying it, but the way this story is handled has much beauty to it....realism and simplicity with a smile here and there.

Definitively 5 out of 5 stars for me. This will be used for homeschooling in our later years. Thank you, Mr. Sadler.


Buy the Book

Kregel Publications

03_John Sadler Author


John Sadler is an experienced military historian, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the author of more than two dozen books. He is also a much traveled battlefield tour guide covering most major conflicts in the UK, Europe, and North Africa.

For more information please visit John Sadler's website.


Describe your first visit to the battlefield. 
I first went there as a boy aged say 13, early September and dank late summer, intimations of autumn in the air, perfect for atmosphere.

Do you think the outcome would have been different had the battle been fought on Milfield Plain as Surrey wanted? 
Surrey didn’t want to fight on Millfield Plain unless James abandoned the higher ground, he wanted James to come down onto the plain, he had no intention of complying. The English would probably have won the battle but perhaps less decisively. The superior English gunnery and the arrow storm might have still won the day.

We are homeschooling (and live in The States). What European battles do you recommend we study? Of the medieval era? I’d suggest Courtrai, Mortgarten, Bicocca & Pavia, plus someof the 100 Years war battles – Crecy, Poitiers, Najara & Agincourt (I began my re-enactment career as a page boy in a reply of Agincourt).

What authors, fiction and non-fiction, do you enjoy on the topic of the Battle of Flodden?
It’s underwritten, of non-fiction authors (other than myself) I recommend Niall Barr and Peter Reese.

What weapon do you find most interesting from this battle?
The English bill – an ancient hybrid from an agricultural pedigree yet proved decisively superior to the pike.

If you could sit down a few hours before the battle and give James IV advice, what would you say?
It would only need minutes – stay in Scotland. I’d tell him he was an untried commander of limited capacity with an army that was less strong than it appeared relying on untried tactics he failed fully to understand.


Blood Divide: A Novel of Flodden Field Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 27

Wednesday, January 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, January 30
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Sunday, February 1
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, February 2

Tuesday, February 3
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Thursday, February 5

Saturday, February 6
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, February 9

Tuesday, February 10
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, February 11
Review at Forever Ashley

Thursday, February 12
Interview at Books and Benches

Friday, February 13


Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner said...

Really detailed book review. My dad really enjoys reading battlfield type intrigue I will be passing this along. #growyourblog

Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona said...

I really like historical fiction as well. Right now I'm reading The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory. So far I'm enjoying it.

Shayna Keene said...

I really enjoy historical fiction and non fiction! Especially from this era. I will have to read this book soon!

Kaitlyn Abshire said...

Great review! I'll need to check this book out pretty soon!

Run with Sole said...

Great review and interview! My mom loves historical fiction and I'll be sure to tell her about this book. Thanks!

Amanda said...

What a great book review. Sounds exciting. I wish I had more time to read. I really should make time for it! Found you via the Grow Your Blog Hop.

Ima Mosier said...

I really enjoy historical fiction. I will have to look for this book.

bradleyontherun said...

This sounds like a great book. I love historical fiction, too - and I appreciate reviews like this! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to put a hold on the book at the Vancouver Public Library right now!

Runaway Bridal Planner said...

I also enjoy historical fiction, if I can walk away and not only enjoy the story, but feel as though I learned something it's a total bonus!
Great review! I have read a few books in the past like this where after I finish I feel it deserves another read through to fully understand and appreciate!
I also enjoyed your author interview!!
Thanks for sharing this great read!!!

Lisa @ Lisa Runs for Cupcakes said...

Thanks for sharing! I plan to forward your recommendation to my grandfather and hubby. They tend to be the historical fiction fans!

And, I admit that I have quite the stack of books on my nightstand that need to be read.

MB said...

Hi! Sorry, I had trouble navigating your site to find the post yesterday, so this is late. This doesn't quite sound like my cup of reading tea, but you definitely did a great job reviewing and I can see your passion!

Carol L. said...

I've read many books that referred to the Battle of Flodden. Always described as a disaster. I'm intrigued with different battle. I look forward to reading Blood Divide.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Donna said...

Great book review. I wish I had reviews like this before every book I thought about reading. Sounds like one I might enjoy!

Kayla Meyer said...

I'll have to check this book out. I always want to get into reading, but I go into Barnes and Nobles and get so overwhelmed! So many book, so little time! What will I like? What if I buy a book and don't like it? So I end up spending a good hour or so in there reading the first few pages of books that sound interesting. And sometimes still leave with nothing because it's so overwhelming lol

safari said...

Great review...very detailed!

:-) 2009-06-11 daily 0.5 2009-06-11 daily 0.5