Read Winter Pilgrims by Toby Clements Online

winter-pilgrims

'An enthralling adventure story, honest and powerful. The Wars of the Roses are imagined here with energy, with ferocity, with hunger to engage the reader.' Hilary MantelFebruary 1460In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory.In fear of their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict.For this is the Wars of'An enthralling adventure story, honest and powerful. The Wars of the Roses are imagined here with energy, with ferocity, with hunger to engage the reader.' Hilary MantelFebruary 1460In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory.In fear of their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict.For this is the Wars of the Roses, one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history,Where brother confronts brother, king faces king,And Thomas and Katherine must fight - just to stay alive ......

Title : Winter Pilgrims
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781448183333
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 270 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Winter Pilgrims Reviews

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2018-11-18 02:16

    This book has thrilling characters, brilliant battle scenesand well established historical foundations. The opening is immediate and swift. From early on in the book we know what to expect, as a reader, and from the ending of the book those expectations are met. The two central characters in this book are very well rounded and exciting. Their lives are believable which helps to express cultural issues of the time. Both Thomas and Katherine were both members of a priory and strongly religious. When they are trust into the midst of the wars of the roses, they're forced to develop and learn to survive. This allows for them to grow as people and allows for heaps of character potential.The battle scenes in this book are confusing. This is, of course, not a bad thing. The confusion illustrates a battle and represents the panic of the men. The battles are narrated through the eyes of Thomas who is a common foot solider. This confusion is appropriate with his interpretation of the events: he does not know everything that is happening, very little in the grand scheme of things. This way of narrating a battle really captures how the foot solider would have experienced it, and is remarkable in evoking the emotions of the men. The author can easily be compared to Ken Follet, the author of The Pillars of the Earth. This is not in terms of writing style, but in the approach taken to reporting the events of a historical novel. Historical figures such as the Kingmaker (Earl Warwick), Margret of Anjou and The Duke of York provide a setting for the novel to take place in; a back story if you would like. This allows the author to focus upon his characters, but also at the same time relate their lives to real history. I find this technique very effective as it gives history a personal, intimate, touch.This is the first time I've felt physically sick, from reading, and had my stomach churn. In this, hats of to the author, your descriptions of medieval surgery are brutally real and scary, very scary. I would not have wanted a fistula in the wars of the roses, or at any other time to be honest but you get my point!Toby Clements is an author to watch out for; this is only his first published novel and it is already very accomplished. I shall be reading the rest of this series and keeping an eye out to see what else he may come up with in the future. This book comes strongly recommended by me. I have read several interpretations of the wars of the roses, in fiction, and have found this one to be both innovative and stimulating. It is tremendous to see such historical turmoil through the eyes of a man who is so shocked by it, like the reader themselves.

  • Ben Kane
    2018-12-13 21:29

    Clements’ debut novel is, in a word, magnificent. Every historical novelist tries to pitch his reader into the time about which he writes, but few succeed to this degree, or with this degree of skill. This book oozes historical authenticity, yet the details are subtly painted, softly delivered. Through the various characters’ lives, we learn about the religious, the peasants and ordinary soldiers, and the nobility. We see that the existence of most people in the 15th century was short, sharp and brutal. These details aren’t what makes this novel wonderful, though. It’s the story. Writing with verve and panache, Clements paints us two sympathetic but tortured main characters, Thomas and Katherine. Their journeys, both external and internal, are perilous and complex, but because of their very humanity, appealing. The battle scenes are wonderfully, if brutally, described. Few writers indeed can paint a struggle as filthy, as gory or as gripping as Clements does with the climactic fight at Towton.The War of the Roses wouldn’t normally be a period to interest me, but Kingmaker had me enthralled from the first page. I am a picky but passionate reader, with little spare time in which to indulge my hobby. Suffice it to say that I could not put this book down. I read it in less than a week. By my current standards, that’s superfast. It’s a mark of a book’s quality when I find myself counting how many pages are left, because I don’t want to finish it – I was doing this with Kingmaker from about halfway through.This book is an historical tour de force, revealing Clements to be a novelist every bit as good as Cornwell, Gregory or Iggulden. Kingmaker was the best book I read in 2013 ― by some margin. I loved it. Bravo, Toby Clements! Now, where’s book two, please?

  • Bettie☯
    2018-11-20 03:15

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • Vivian Blaxell
    2018-11-19 22:26

    Boring and thoroughly predictable, rich in set piece fight and battle scenes that too rarely do anything to develop character or move the narrative forward. Full of cliche, stock characters pilfered from the history as televisual melodrama genre: the girl dressed in boys clothes; the anonymous and irrational giant; the unaccountably evil feudal lord, all set in the inaccurate filth and stench of the late Middle Ages as imagined by those who've never looked at the scholarship on daily life in 15th century Europe. Structured with an eye on film/TV rights. Rubbish.

  • Samantha
    2018-11-15 23:28

    Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims is a unique look at the Wars of the Roses among a large supply of novels focused on this era. Rather than following the addled King Henry VI, ambitious earl of Warwick, or the illustrious earl of March, our main characters are the accidentally paired Brother Thomas and Sister Katherine.The opening scene of the book places these two together through life threatening circumstances thanks to the lawlessness of Henry VI's England. Though they have been living at the same Priory, they have had much different experiences. Katherine has lived with the nuns of St Mary for as long as she can remember, the abused and neglected servant of the prioress. Brother Thomas has enjoyed the monastic life and never considered leaving until he had no choice. He loves the quiet life of the scriptorium where he demonstrates skill as an illuminator.Katherine and Thomas wind up on a twisting adventure together as they struggle to redefine themselves, survive, and extract revenge upon the man that has caused their upheaval. Thomas continues to long for a return to his life as a monk, while Katherine has no intentions of ever being a nun again. I appreciated the diverse and balanced look at religious life. When they wind up in the service of Sir John Fakenham, their lives take turns they never could have expected.What was different about this novel was the details on little things: regular camp life, medieval surgery, the difficulties of travel, and crime that went on with war as a cover. Some readers will find these descriptions too long, but I appreciated the level of historical research required to write some of the detailed scenes that Clements includes in his writing. The Battle of Towton serves as the drama for the final chapters of the book with detail that is gory, realistic, and heartbreaking.Several hints are dropped regarding a continuing story and the final scene leaves the reader wondering about many things, so I look forward to reading Kingmaker: Broken Faith.

  • Annet
    2018-11-26 21:13

    This is a really well written, solid and very interesting history book about the War of the Roses. A period I haven't read a lot about yet. The story is rather complicated, I had to look at the historic 'organisation chart' (the heritage tree) in the beginning of the book regularly. Who is who, who is connected to who. Weird, the English fighting the English...the Yorkist faction against the Lancastrian faction. Anyway, the story starts in 1460 with Thomas, a monk and Katherine, a sister, who are attacked by riders outside their priory and unjustly accused of crimes, they have to run. In fear for their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict, going from battle to battle, becoming archer and general/medical aid. Katherine has to dress as a boy and is renamed Kit, to survive the rough world and to make sure they are not identified as they fear they are followed from the priory to be found. The only thing I had to get used to were the complete battle scenes, described in much detail, rather tough material, however, interesting to read how those battles were organised. This book must have come pretty close to the situation of the times, it feels very authentic all the way through. It's also a love story, but very delicately included in the history story, does not overdominate.It's just right. It's a long story and it doesn't read away easily. Takes some time, but it is well worthed. For those who are interested in history books, this is a good one!

  • Bubu
    2018-11-15 04:17

    2.5 starsThis is what I've been doing most of the time in the last few weeks: listening to audio books. I'm still very new to them which means I can't really compare it with other narrators. That being said, I enjoyed Jack Hawkins' narration. As for the book itself: It was okay. It covers the time from 1460-1461, ending with the Battle of Towton, won by the Yorkist faction, making Edward of York king and dethroning Henry VI. who had turned out to be a weak monarch, unlike his famous father, Henry V. Although, Henry VI was believed to have a frail mental state of mind. Anyway, what makes this book entertaining is that it's told from the commoners' PoV, giving an idea how little the lives of those who were indentured truly mattered, never mind the hardships they had to endure on a daily basis without having to suffer the entitlements of kings, dukes, earls and lords. I can't say how historically accurate the description of life for the little man/woman is, but I do know that it wasn't as clean, innocent and romanticised as it's often portrayed. Also interesting is the role of the church and religion in general. I'm an agnostic at the best of times and it always baffles me when I come across deeply religious people. I'll admit that part of me is always a little jealous because their religion seems to centre them in a way that I've never found for myself. Reading/listening what life was like when people still believed the world to be flat and God's word absolute was the most interesting part of the book. One big weakness of the book was the lack of character depth which doesn't come as a surprise. Our two main characters, Katherine and Thomas, have quite a journey - literally - ahead of them with lots of side characters, long battle descriptions and one very detailed 'surgical' removal of a fistula. The bad guys are really - reaaaaaaallllyyy - bad which added to the character simplicity. The plot is predictable, so are the twists, and one name-dropping moment and I knew where at least one plot line would go. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have read this as a book-book. I'm not a fan of long winded battle scenes and I would have skipped quite a bit. As an audio-book, however, it was truly entertaining while I was busy doing something else. So much so, actually, that I'm already half way through the second book and I'm really enjoying it. I think much of it is thanks to the narrator. Even the long battle scenes are conveyed so adequately that I could imagine the adrenaline rush, the chaos and the fear of the men fighting the wars of the privileged few and ultimately the helplessness and resignation in those men.It's good entertainment with solid historical information that adds to the entertainment rather than suffocating the actual story.

  • Susan
    2018-11-12 20:28

    This sweeping, historical novel , is set during the Wars of the Roses – although our two central characters are not really aware of worldly matters when we first meet them. Sister Katherine is a young nun, left at the Priory of St Mary in the County of Lincoln as an infant. Brother Thomas is a young monk, who spends his time thinking of the manuscripts he works on. However, one cold morning in February, 1460, their lives change forever. Sent out in the snow to release a fox from a trap, Brother Thomas is disconcerted by hearing a scream. Sister Katherine and another young nun, Sister Alice, are caught outside by a corrupt knight and his retinue. Thomas rushes to help, but, later, Sir Giles Riven appears demanding Thomas be punished; while Katherine is accused of wantonness. The two escape and find themselves forced to flee together into an England where Brother Thomas wishes to seek clemency in a land where law and order has broken down. During this novel, we follow the adventures of Thomas and Katherine (who disguises herself as a boy). Thomas turns out to be a natural born soldier, while Katherine is more than ready to leave vows she did not make of her own accord and discovers that she has a gift for healing. Along the way, the two meet Robert Daud of Lincoln, a pardoner, who leaves them with a treasured book; although neither of them are sure of why it is considered so valuable. They later join forces with Sir John Fakenham and his son Richard. The two travel in their retinue to France and back to England, taking part in many battles and quests along the way. For while Thomas has a grudge against Sir Giles Riven, he is also the enemy of Sir John and a great baddie, who changes sides at a moment notice and whom Thomas has sworn vengeance on.This is a book of mysteries and secrets , a love story and it contains a realistic sense of how people lived and how they survived. Katherine’s medical skills lead to some rather gruesomely described medical procedures and there was also a lot of fighting – probably a little too much for me. However, I imagine that readers who enjoy novels by authors, such as Bernard Cornwell or Conn Iggulden would love this. It is brutal, bloody and violent, but you also care about the characters and the book is well plotted. The book makes sense as a single volume and I enjoyed the ending – although there is obviously a sequel in mind. If so, I look forward to reading on and discovering what happens next.I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, for review.

  • Matthew Harffy
    2018-11-16 01:28

    I have to confess to knowing next to nothing about the Wars of the Roses, and have never been overly interested in the period. I am always amazed that people can get so het up about whether Richard III was a good king, or a ruthless despot. So, despite having heard great things about this book, I had put off reading it for longer than I should have. In the end I picked up the audio book on Audible, and I cannot believe I waited this long to "read" it.Story:The blurb on the book is as follows:February, 1460: in the bitter dawn of a winter's morning a young nun is caught outside her priory walls by a corrupt knight and his vicious retinue.In the fight that follows, she is rescued by a young monk and the knight is defeated. But the consequences are far-reaching, and Thomas and Katherine are expelled from their religious Orders and forced to flee across a land caught in the throes of one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history: the Wars of the Roses.Their flight will take them across the Narrow Sea to Calais where Thomas picks up his warbow, and trains alongside the Yorkist forces. Katherine, now dressed as a man, hones her talents for observation and healing both on and off the fields of battle. And all around them, friends and enemies fight and die as the future Yorkist monarch, Edward, Earl of March, and his adviser the Earl of Warwick, later to become known as the Kingmaker, prepare to do bloody battle.Encompassing the battles of Northampton, Mortimer's Cross and finally the great slaughter of Towton, this is war as experienced not by the highborn nobles of the land but by ordinary men and women who do their best just to stay alive. Filled with strong, sympathetic characters, this is a must-read series for all who like their fiction action-packed, heroic and utterly believable.Review:Following my admission that I was not interested in the period in which the story is set, the audio book got off to a shaky start with a rather clunky introduction that set the scene of who was fighting who, but it seemed very forced and there were too many names mentioned in a couple of paragraphs making it impossible to really follow, unless, of course, you already knew the history. But then why would you need the intro? I would much have preferred a historical note at the end of the book, but alas, there isn't one.After the short introduction, the story started and to my dismay, it was in the present tense. But it happened hundreds of years ago, I said to myself! How can this be in present tense? I was all prepared to give up on the book then, almost before it had started, but of course I didn't. And you know what? As if some magic spell had been cast on me, the tense the prose is written in ceased to be an issue for me as, within minutes, the book leapt to glorious life. The immediacy of the writing, the rawness of the characters, the details of the historical context, the gory battles, the touching relationships, the jeopardy, the horrors of war... After those initial moments, the book was almost perfect.I couldn't stop thinking about the story when I wasn't listening to the book. I felt that I knew the protagonists and I shared in their anguish as each terrible incident befell them. When I got to the end, I was desperate to know more and immediately bought the second in the series, Kingmaker: Broken Faith.My verdict?An astounding novel. A gripping, blood-soaked trek along the muddy tracks of fifteenth century Britain.Narrator:Jack Hawkins adds a near perfect narration to a near perfect book. I don't often think that a book benefits from being narrated, but in this case, I think it does. Hawkins hits just the right note of earthiness and solidity in his delivery. He manages to give each character a distinct voice and accent without overdoing it. The only slightly weak accent was for the Welsh characters, but they seemed to improve as the book progressed.Overall rating: 5 stars

  • Robin Carter
    2018-12-04 20:40

    I have Ben Kane to thank for this fantastic read, When an author of his calibre posts about a book “‘Magnificent. An historical tour de force, revealing Clements to be a novelist every bit as good as Cornwell, Gregory or Iggulden. Kingmaker is the best book I’ve read this year ? by some margin.’ Ben Kane” You have to sit up and take notice.What I didn’t expect was the scope and style of the book. Having just read excellent Stormbird by Conn Iggulden, set in roughly the same period, i had some expectations set for how a War of the Roses book should play out. Toby Clements took those expectations and stood them on their head. Instead of a book driven by the power houses of history, a book lit and led by the great and the powerful, Toby starts in a humble monastery/ nunnery, and from their takes the reader on one of the most down to earth profound journeys I have been privileged to read in this genre. Thomas is a man living the life of a monk, a man with skills and education, but a man who finds out he has depths he had not explored, skills he didn’t expect to have or use, and that life is more than just the walls of a Monastery, and a people are more than they seem, life isn’t black and white, its many shades of grey.Katherine, living in a nunnery, but slightly apart, a young woman with a missing past, and an uncertain future, one that isn’t helped by the continual abuse from her superiors.One day, one event, one action changes both their lives, and slingshots them on a journey of exploration, self examination and adventure. But none of it is glorified, it is set at the coal face of life, and battle and history. Surrounded by the blood and butchery of every class of man, buffeted by the changing politics of the times and changed by the havoc of war, killing and death surrounding them. At 560 pages its not a small read, but I could have read 2060 pages and not been bored, is series has so much to offer and so much promise of more. As its a 2014 title it will not feature in my books of 2013, otherwise it would be winner of the top spot. The established order will need to work very hard to beat this in 2014.Very highly recommended(Parm)

  • Kiwi Begs2Differ✎
    2018-11-14 01:15

    This is a well written historical action/adventure novel. Sure, the storyline is predictable, some of the secondary characters one-dimensional and even the main characters conveniently versatile (view spoiler)[e.g. Katherine is an illiterate nun raised in a isolated environment, but she manages to becomes a skilled surgeon after reading a book, a wise military tactician, an astute political advisor and to pass for noblewoman (hide spoiler)], but overall it is an engaging adventure tale. The aspects of medieval life are particularly well done, for instance the descriptions of the soldiers’ armour and weapons, their condition during the campaigns and the grim daily life for the commoners and peasants left to fend for themselves in the wake of wars. The action in battles were exciting but the parts focused on the protagonists were equally engaging.I enjoyed the author’s writing style, definitely richer than most historical novels, but, although this book ends with a cliffhanger, I will probably not continue with the next in the series because this historical setting is not among my favourites. Recommended to people interested in the War of the Roses period. 3.5 stars

  • Brian
    2018-11-25 02:29

    They say you should not judge a book by its cover. Nor by its first few chapters. At first, I thought I'd made a mistake when I bought this book. However, I persevered, and gradually the story took over. By the end, I was wishing the book was a lot longer.It is basically an adventure novel. There are a few things that made my historical pedant meter twitch - for example, I doubt very much there was a 'Prior of All' or that the friars acted as a kind of ecclesiastical military police. But if you shut these little quibbles out of the mind, the novel is a delight. There are some undoubtedly very realistic descriptions of medieval battles, at times quite gruesome. In style, it is much more like reading Bernard Cornwell than Sharon Penman.There are some pretty dreadful novels out there for this era, but this particular one is well worth a read and I look forward to getting my hands on the sequel.

  • James
    2018-11-28 22:26

    There is gritty and then there is an in depth account of a 15 century operation on a fistula. In The "Winter Pilgrims" the fistula of infamy is light relief from the buckets of gore and by far not the most revolting thing I read in the book. But here is the thing, it never seems gratitous. Itfelt to me that as life in this time during the War of Roses was nasty, brutish and short the author in love with non sugar coated historical detail just let loose the viscera cannons. I loved it just as much.

  • Stephen
    2018-12-03 04:18

    interesting read historical fiction about 2 people a former nun and monk who end up in some of the early battles of the war of the roses (cousins war) with mortimer's cross and towton. will read with interst the next in the series

  • Renata
    2018-11-13 21:27

    Yet another great book on the War of the Roses. I completely agree with Ben Kane's review of this book, it is utterly "Magnificent". Beautifully written story centering on two characters who lead "common" - if somewhat tortured - lives, experiencing the grim fallout of the fighting between Yorkists and Lancastrians around the years leading up to 1461. I appreciated the battle scenes written from a foot soldier/archer perspective, information about Church practices/priories, and unflinching medieval medical descriptions. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series, although I do wish they were sold here in the U.S.!!! Highly recommended.

  • Nathalie
    2018-12-06 21:26

    Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims a fast-paced highly entertaining historical fiction novel set in the infamous English War of the Roses.We follow two main characters, Katherine and Thomas. Their friendship grows throughout the book and at the end of this novel you have really come to love these two characters.Toby Clements is a fantastic writer. He paints such an accurate picture of Medieval England, the grittiness, the horror but also the fellowship and the brotherhood. If you like historical fiction this is a must read for you!And oh my goodness the cliffhanger! I need to get a hold of the next book in this series asap.

  • Keesje Crawford-Avis
    2018-12-03 23:16

    Great book, completely immersed in the era. Very sad it's over can't wait for the next one!

  • Sam Draper
    2018-11-15 21:31

    I think this is the first historical fiction I have ever, ever read. Winter Pilgrims caught my eye on a give one/take one bookshelf in a hostel in Mt. Cook, New Zealand. Always a sucker for a well designed cover and reeling from the miserable The Sympathizer I longed for something to give in order to take. Alas backpacking left little room for paperbacks, and so it took seven months until I finally got round to reading it.Winters Pilgrim is the story of a young monk and nun who flee their respective orders following a series of unlikely mishaps. The book then follows them across England as they intersect with various major battles and events during the War of the Roses.Having lead characters that aren't the main players in any of these events is a nice trick, letting them discuss the historical bits the reader knows as though they are hearsay and rumour, making one feel as though they are in history and all that. The downside of this is that the ridiculous chain of events that leads to two ordinary people popping up at so many important battles and surviving against all the odds wore a bit thin by the book's conclusion. The first time an arrow hits a would-be murderer at the last second its a bit of fun- by the fifth near death escape my eyes rolled all the way round into my head.The story is unashamedly Hollywood though, history with one eye of Game Of Thrones, the book handily split into seven sections that would each make for one episode of an HBO series. And I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, other than my ability to suspend belief is hampered by all the historical shit. On one hand I'm expected to treat all this as real life, and on the other a monk rises from nobody to lead 1000 archers into battle in a matter of months.This is a hard review to write, because I enjoyed reading it more than it seems- as a throwaway story of daring escapes and romping across the countryside it more than did the job (although I could have done without all the graphic details of Medieval surgery, especially the ten pages given over to the removal of an anal fistula). Good but not great, I will probably read the next book in the series at some point, and hopefully enjoy it more now I know what kind of nonsense I'm getting into.

  • Shaun Kellett
    2018-11-18 21:23

    Disclaimer: This review is of the Audible version of this story.When I first started on Winter Pilgrims I didn't get on with it. It had been the book selected for our final installment of the Super Duper Book Club, and I wanted nothing more than to love it. Sadly though, I couldn't get over the present tense writing and found it a jarring read. That said, I recognised this as my own personal taste and decided to make a switch to the Audible version about an hour in. This version, expertly narrated by Jack Hawkins, lent itself so well to the writing style that I was able to completely ignore my own gripe, and the whole piece became a lot more enjoyable for me.Winter Pilgrims is Historical Fiction, playing fast and loose with the events during the War of the Roses; there are battles, deaths, intricate and unbarred descriptions of wounds and surgeries. We follow two central characters, Thomas, a Monk, and Katherine, a nun, who make for an unlikely duo throughout the course of events. Generally, where ever these two go there is action laying in wait, and perhaps thats Kingmakers flaw. What is unusual, is that I find it easier to suspend my disbelief with a true work of fiction, be it Fantasy or Sci Fi, than I do something which aims to be set in our own history. The actions of our two central characters, and the situations they find themselves in, often errs on the side of unbelievable; they're always in the right place at the right time, or have a major impact into events far beyond their station. There are that many last minute saves, those hail Mary's going right, that the suspense of many scenes is taken away; I never feared for the main characters despite the looming presence the antagonist has throughout. That criticism aside, it was still a very enjoyable novel and it moved from beat to beat quite seamlessly once it got going.What is reflected here is a fantastic depiction of Medieval battle. Clements writes with a real passion and knowledge for the period. His description of everything from clothing to weaponry is beyond impressive and only helps to add weight to the setting of Winter Pilgrims.I found myself enjoying Winter Pilgrims a lot more than I expected, it's certainly written with some skill and it kept my attention throughout the whole ride. Despite the length of the last paragraph my criticisms are fairly small. I would gladly recommend Winter Pilgrims to anyone looking for a spiced up War of the Roses, with action and brutality throughout. If you can overlook the sensationalism, you're in for a good ride.

  • Carlos Silva
    2018-12-11 20:33

    Um livro com um começo maravilhoso principalmente porque não sabia praticamente nada sobre ele, apenas que se passava durante a Guerra das Rosas na Inglaterra, o que foi bom, mas que durante o virar das páginas certos acontecimentos foram me irritando demais, entre eles uma insistente "interferência divina", personagens secundários cegos em todos os sentidos, e outras coisas que não valem nem a pena comentar, lerei suas continuações apenas pelas referências histórias de uma época que em muito me interessa, apenas isso, esperando muito que tenha uma mudança significativa no desenrolar dessa história paralela...

  • Simon Harris
    2018-12-05 22:37

    3.4Kingmaker was the last book in season one of the book club I’m in, so I was hoping it would allow us to go out with a bang before our hiatus. Unfortunately, because of this, I built this book up as something it’s not, I made the expectations a bit too high and it fell short. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book, it was, just not great. The story was good and the setting was different to what I’ve previously read, following a young man through a volatile and war ridden England and his rise from nothing to someone while seeking revenge for the greater good. The detailed descriptions of battles where very good and left you with an overwhelming sensation of what it would have been like in the middle of one. The character building was good and you get a real connection with them but nothing was really a shock. Most of the book was predictable, but this didn’t take anything away from it, I still enjoyed Kingmaker and it was a good pick, just not the big bang I was hoping for.I’d recommend it to people but I wouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops either.

  • Roger Neilson
    2018-11-14 20:36

    Superb, what detail and what plotting. A great panorama and looking forward to the next one.

  • Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
    2018-11-25 21:23

    What a magnificent read! This was another one of those books that I just couldn't put down. It started just like any other piece of historical fiction these days but rapidly took on another life as the cold snow and mist enveloped it. Suddenly it became brutal and dangerous and then calmed down a little as we scrambled back onto safer ground. A monk momentarily forgets himself and acts spontaneously, saving the lives of two nuns. In the aftermath he is almost killed but, perhaps through a mixture of pure chance and a rough upbringing, survives (aided in part by one of the nuns, Katherine). From then on we follow Thomas, the monk, and Katherine (who, for safety's sake takes on the guise of a boy, Kit) through the interlocking pieces of jigsaw in what becomes what must be called their adventure. It is the beginning of the Wars of the Roses and the violence that escalates in a brutal world. Thomas becomes an archer-cum-soldier while "Kit" assists their adopted lord. Normally all this would take on an air of having to suspend some disbelief but here, in this story, the process takes on a degree of verisimilitude. Like tangled threads lives are twisted together in co-operation and hate, in blood and violent death, but also in love and affection. Throughout, Toby Clements is able to build a world that is dirty and grubby and nasty,, inhabited by homicidal and decent people, by down-to-earth soldiers and arrogant lords. The mud oozes and the ice cracks. There are times you smell the shit and the blood, and shiver with the cold, and none more so that at that brutal climax, the battle of Towton. We are immersed in the butchery and chaos yet also the peace of silence and fatigue, moments of active, bloody, fighting in the chaos of the melee sprinkled with instances of detachment, of merely observing. It's rare when you come across a writer who captures what one can accept was, is, the experience of battle - and when you do you never forget it.I have one minor complaint. Throughout, Toby Clements writes in the present tense. Sometimes that feels a little too false but at other times it has the impact of maintaining a sense of drama. Loved it.

  • Wulfheashod
    2018-12-07 22:23

    Honestly....this book wasn't my cup of tea. It doesnt mean this is a bad book at all but alas i struggled both with the writing style (very fast paced and set in real time which many people would like however I really struggled to immerse myself in the historical backdrop which the author was describing) and also with the perception (which I could not shake off) that the writing was aimed with a television deal in the crosshairs (which for me personally makes for superficial reading - again not necessarily a bad thing for some but I am just pandering too my own tastes and preferences in which I look for in a book). Having said that I felt compelled to write a review as I believe the author - in which Winter Pilgrims is his first novel - has potential and what I did enjoy from the novel is both his descriptive writing in which he evokes a very visceral portrayal of certain aspects of Medieval life and his abundance of historical knowledge. As a huge fan of Historical Action-Adventure I feel it is important to get behind new authors of the genre and while many other novelists of the genre attempt to simply emulate Bernard Cornwell 'the Master himself', Toby Clements has obviously found his own voice and style and though I wont continue reading the series I hope he goes far.

  • David Stringer
    2018-12-01 02:30

    This book was passed to me by a family member who enjoyed it, so thought I'd give it a try, and I'm glad I did. It is an engaging tale of two characters (Thomas and Katherine) travelling and surviving a lawless and war ravaged 15th Century England. I did on the whole enjoy the detail, the descriptions and research that clearly has gone into the book which made it really easy to imagine what life was like that back then. The grim, the mud and the cold. Although I'm now going to contradict myself by saying that likewise at times, this got a bit much, and I felt bogged down or even tired reading it all.The battle scenes are well written, and adequately gory enough for the readers out there that enjoy that side of a historical yarn. I myself, like some things to be left to the readers (mine) imagination. I also felt, especially at the end, this book is clearly the first of a series, leading to more books, so was reading towards the end knowing....it wasn't going to be the end, which normally does disappoint me. Do like stand alone books.So a nice, steady 3 stars out of 5. I liked it.

  • Jim Dudley
    2018-12-08 03:24

    I'm hooked, I'm going straight in to the next book which is rare for me. A brilliant cast of characters, real dialogue and immersive descriptions make this the best escapism read I've had in years.

  • Carolyn
    2018-11-17 22:41

    A sweeping, dramatic, gritty look at The War of the Roses from the perspectives of a monk and a nun, both apostates and in the eye of the storm of the most bloody, hard-fought battles. Thomas and Catherine (disguised as a teenaged boy) bump shoulders with the Kingmaker, Lord Riven, Lord Hastings and other important figures of the period while Clements avoids using the typical aristocratic view of the civil war. I would recommend this highly readable, well-written, and well-researched first novel in a promising series to all who love history, historical fiction, and even those who enjoy high fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire as it reads much the same...except no dragons.

  • Marion Husband
    2018-11-24 04:37

    Full of action and details, very pacy.....enjoyable, but a tiny bit lacking in depth, especially with regard to character, but then this is a very fine action book, I suppose the characters don't have time for reflection, too busy fighting battles and there were very many battles, lots of death and horrible injury. I would read the sequel if, as it seems by the ending of this novel, there is to be a sequel

  • Manda Scott
    2018-12-12 00:25

    As has been said, this is a scorchingly good book on all levels: the characterisation is excellent: different, engaging, unique (which is something in this crowded market) and clever. The plotting is perfect, plausible, engaging, exciting, and the sense of history couldn't be better. This isn't 21st century in drag, this is the real thing... definitely worth a read.

  • Deborah Pickstone
    2018-11-16 20:32

    This read well mostly but got rather angsty in parts and I looked at the second in the series and it looks even more angsty than the first so I think I'll leave the series at having read just this one. Also, for me, there is just too much need for willing suspension of disbelief à la Cornwell - the dust jacket comment likening it to him was accurate; sadly it was credited to Manda Scott :(