disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned for the purpose of review
Today I’m joining in with a blog tour to celebrate the recent publication of Wolves of Winter by Dan Jones. This is the second book in the Essex Dogs series of historical fiction set in the early years of the Hundred Years War.
The year is 1346, and we meet up with the English group of soldiers known as the Essex Dogs in Northern France, following the battle at Crécy as they head towards Calais and the siege of 1347. They fight for King Edward and Queen Philippa, and the King has decreed that the English will not leave the besieged city until they have climbed the city walls and the French have surrendered.
It’s clear from reading Wolves of Winter that some of the band of soldiers had been killed in the first book in the series, and that those remaining are haunted by the sights they’ve seen and the losses they’ve incurred. Loveday Fitztalbot, Scotsman, Romford, Tebbe, Millstone and Thorp remain. There’s also mention of Captain throughout the story who was once part of their group, but had disappeared some time before.
The group of Essex Dogs end up making their home in a brothel in the wooden city called Villeneuve that the English build in sight of Calais itself. The brothel is run by a Flemish female soldier called Hircent, who has become the drinking partner of Scotsman, one of the Dogs.
Each of the men are fighting their own demons and Wolves of Winter thrusts you into the grime and gruelling lives of these medieval soldiers and their reality. There will be a bloody fight ahead, with the hope of returning to England at last, a light in the distance.
I think it would definitely help to have read Essex Dogs before reading Wolves of Winter, to understand more fully the dynamics of this group of men, and those that have been lost. I felt it took me a while to get into this novel because of that but once I’d overcome that, I become immersed in the siege and invested in each of their men and their stories. Jones certainly brings a realism to the events and helps the characters to come to life.
It’s a period of history I don’t know much about, and Wolves of Winter and has left me wanting to know more.
You can find out what others thought by following the blog tour – details below: