Michael Jecks has written many medieval mysteries featuring a defrocked Templar set in the early 14th Century. I have read about a dozen of those mysteries, the last one about five years ago. So many books, so little time! A few years ago, Mr. Jecks branched out to write novels about other historical events but in the same general time period– the 14th Century. I have just finished one of those books– Fields of Glory. If you are a student of this period or just want to know a little more about it, READ THIS BOOK!
The time is 1346. Edward III sits on the throne of England and he claims he is the rightful King of France as well. He launches what became known as The 100 Years War. Included in that series of battles between the French and the English are the Battle of Crecy, the Battle of Poitiers and the Battle of Agincourt, three great English victories in medieval warfare. You probably remember hearing the term “the 100 Years War” but not much else about this lengthy struggle. Jecks wraps up the package in a very readable way so that the causes become clear.
Fields of Glory describes the events leading up to the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The main hero is Fripper, an archer leading a troop of 20 archers in Edward’s army. Other important people are a cannoneer; a young, orphaned French woman (whose martyred father was a gunpowder maker); a young, orphaned boy (called The Donkey, for the services he offers the archers– fetching and resupplying); a knight in charge of Fripper’s band (a real person who died at the age of 106!); Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince. The Battle of Crecy is notable for at least three reasons:
- The French outnumbered the English by at least three or four to one. But the English leaders chose the location at which they wanted to fight and that suited its army’s abilities and manpower.
- Second, the British had thousands of long-bow archers. That weapon had a greater range than the French crossbow and the arrows could penetrate armor at a couple of hundred yards.
- And third, the English had cannon. Crude yes, but devastating when fired at close range.
Jecks’ descriptions of camp life and military action are superb. In my mind’s eye, I could see and feel the hardships and the blood lust of the characters. Thankfully there are additional titles in this series.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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