- File Size: 1448 KB
- Print Length: 64 pages
- Publisher: Orion (August 23, 2012)
- Publication Date: August 23, 2012
- Sold by: Hachette Book Group
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00GU3AV96
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Hachette Book Group
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Tom Swan and the Head of St George Part One: Castillon Kindle Edition
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-from the "back cover".
Characters: As with all of Cameron's novels, we get characters out of history, not modern people in costume thrust into a different age. The characters' behaviors and actions are true to the time period and this has the effect of making the book seem more real. The book opens with Tom Swan as a helpless captive, and given his desperate situation, he immediately gains the reader's sympathy. He is a likeable, resourceful protagonist surrounded by an interesting cast of supporting characters.
World building: Cameron is unmatched when it comes to world building. He is both a historian and a reenactor and it comes out beautifully in his novels. Cameron has a wonderful way of adding rich details to his historical fiction, without sounding like a professor giving a college lecture. Tom Swan immerses the character in the world of late medieval France.
Engagement/Willing suspension of disbelief: This is not a fantasy novel, it is historical fiction. Given this, I expect realistic depictions of events while at the same time a story filled with enough action to keep me engaged. Again, Cameron does not fail. The fights are brutal and realistic, with genuine danger for our protagonist. Tom Swan is no Conan, able to charge into a horde of enemies. In fact, he reacts to surviving combat in a very human, realistic manner. At no point did I want to pull back in disbelief. Cameron kept me fully engaged in the story.
Writing/Mechanics: Tom Swan is a professionally written novel. Cameron writes excellent prose, but I'll warn you that he doesn't shy from historic terms for clothing and equipment, and you'll occasionally run into non-English words or phrases. But for me, this just adds to the richness of the experience. The context of the story tells us what the items are and what the words mean.
Impact: I read the novella in one sitting and loved it. Actually, it is not a novella, but one part of a serialized novel. And this is my one disappointment. Now I have to wait a month to be a part of Tom Swan's next adventure.
The era and locations in this book are not where I generally find my interest in historical fiction, so I can't, and won't, presume upon the authenticity of the depictions, and I've never read this author before. But so far, things are sitting quite well. There hasn't been any glaring anachronisms that make me frown (no Vikings wearing horned helms, and even tho this is ~500 years after the Viking era, the contrast is still valid).
Anyways, the book opens with a very confused battle scene, but don't take that comment negatively. I couldn't say for sure, but I figure the author is projecting the chaos of battle, and has done so quite well. Tom Swan is an opportunistic adventurer, who goes from being moments away from death to escorting a Cardinal, and meets an amusing cast of characters.
Editing was very sharp, always worth a mention. The writing style was engaging, and even tho the book is fairly short, it kept my interest without a struggle. I read this one in an evening, and had no problems deciding to order the second volume/chapter in the series.
I highly recommend and hope the series continues - Tom Swan is too young to stop the episodes!!
Christian Cameron has comes through again going someplace in historical fiction that authors don't visit very much. Starting in the aftermath of the battle of Castillion in 1453 (Henry V this ain't) His hero Tom Swan meets Cardinal Bessarion on the first page. And if you recognize that name, you're going to like this.
Without spoiling too much, there is adventure, intrigue, affrays and enough derring-do to satisfy anybody--all with characters that are of their time and culture--not the modern-person-in-costume that one too often sees in historical fiction.
Definitely recommended. Can't wait for the next installment.