FeaturedHistorical Fiction

A Time for War


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Legends become myths when the last combatant dies. The rise of Archibald Douglas is based on true events.

Medieval war fiction set in the 14th century abound, but few are told from the Scottish perspective. Meticulous research creates a vibrant description of the Scottish landscape, wildlife, and weather and how it affects a knight in armor. 

Sir Archibald is an uncommon knight. He is quick-thinking on the battlefield and in his interactions with French nobles and other clan leaders. He serves his cousin, Lord William Douglas, though their rivalry lingers in every interaction.

Guilt plagues him for the betrayal of his adopted father and he seeks counsel from the clergy and he asks them to pray for their immortal souls. He's not sure his soul can be saved. Perhaps that's why he's so bold in battle?

The lowland clans come together to push the English out of the disputed border. They agree to help their French allies fight for gold and ransoming nobles.

The battle descriptions are vivid showing a rich understanding of tactics needed before, during, and after a battle. The month-long battle for Berwick-upon Tweed was a highlight.

He spares the reader the lengthy journey through France in favor of a tourney where Sir Archibald jousts with Bertrand de Guesclin. 

The botched battles at Breteuil and at Poitiers showed the sharp contrast in command styles that the French nobles still used. Mercenaries and pikes were no match for the English archers with their dreaded long bow. 

There is much to learn. I had no idea that 200 hundred Scottish knights fought in the Battle of Poitiers; or that a garron is a breed of horse.

Tomlin uses touches of French and Scots dialect to give flavor to the dialogue yet be understandable to modern readers. 

I wanted more scenes with Will Ramsay and Archie’s squire because I wanted to know more about their lives. Maybe they will have more moments in the rest of the series.

Reviewed by

I read everything but high-level science and engineering textbooks. When I write on Medium, I write mini-memoir, poetry, and book reviews. I'm working on an urban fantasy series. I produce and do interviews for a podcast called "STOMP! with Debbie Walker." I am open to feedback.

Chapter 1: July 1355

About the author

I am the author of twenty historical fiction novels. I have lived and traveled extensively in Scotland, not surprisingly since my father was a Scot. My travels have also taken me to much of the rest of Europe, Japan, and the Pacific rim. I now live in Oregon with my westie, writing and hiking. view profile

Published on February 14, 2023

60000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Fiction

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