Calais, 1346. Berenger Fripper and his men are stationed in the ancient port city, a city under English control and surrounded by enemies. They are here to defend their newly won territory from the French and their allies, the Genoese.
Enemies are all about them, but there is also trouble within. Someone in the vintaine is leaking vital information to the French, jeopardizing not only the safety of the men but also the future of the war, and Berenger must find out who before it’s too late.
And when the vintaine is attacked at sea and captured by the Genoese, it looks as though their luck has run out. Can Berenger defeat the enemies that surround him and keep the English victorious?
Michael Jecks’s second installment in his Vintener Trilogy, Blood on the Sand, is a rousing tale that follows soon after the events of the previous novel. The English were victorious at Crécy, and Berenger Fripper and his vintaine of archers are tasked with defending their newly won territory as the long, drawn out siege of Calais begins.
The second story has a fast-paced, complex plot, but the character development is deeper than in the first and the reader is able to delve further into Berenger’s psyche. The English have numerous enemies to battle: the French, their Genoese allies, and a Scottish invasion on the home front. But there is an enemy within Berenger’s vintaine as well, feeding vital information to the French.
Blood on the Sand is filled with politics, intrigue, and the spy games of the Hundred Years’ War. The battle scenes are grim and brutal, the challenges of the siege of Calais well-depicted, the characters are memorable, and the research for the story is impeccable. This tale builds on the first in the series and leaves the reader anticipating the final installment in the trilogy.
Highly recommended, particularly for those who enjoy adventure, military history, and stories set in the Hundred Years’ War; recommended that this series is read in order