Saturday, June 15, 2024

Traitor's Arrow by David Field (The Medieval Saga Series Book Two)


Publication Date: 
April 25, 2022


222 pages


I have always been interested in what really happened in the forest all those years ago when King William Rufus mysteriously died from an arrow wound. His brother Henry racing to Westminster to seize the royal treasury seemed like a cold hearted act to me. Field portrays this from a new perspective using some real historical people and facts and some fictional ones as well. While no one can ever be sure what really happened, Traitor's Arrow manages to give an entertaining story of the rise of Henry I due to the demise of his wicked brother, while also portraying him as a sympathetic character, only doing what he needed to save England and usher in a new era of stability.

Will Riveracre, or as he is now known in Book Two, Sir Wilfrid de Walsingham, having been knighted and land bestowed to him, is content to live out his days with his family. The current King William Rufus has other plans for him and needs constant support to field off his enemies in foreign and domestic entanglements. Wilfrid is unable to have a moments peace when William is king and longs for the day he can finally be left alone in his advancing years. Trying his best to walk a line between his family and his loyalty to the King, he eventually finds himself a prisoner for two years, scared and alone and far from home. When William Rufus meets his demise in the forest with the mysterious arrow and Wilfrid is brought before the new King Henry, he is amazed to discover he has been tasked with Henry's request of finding out what happened and clearing Henry of any wrong doing in the death of his brother.

As he sets out to unravel the truth, Wilfrid must contend with uncomfortable realizations that implicate important nobles of the day and what he believes are innocent others caught in the scandal. 

Intertwined throughout the story is the day to day life of Joan, Wilfrid's wife who is frustrated, feeling forgotten by her absent husband as she struggles to raise their children and his grown son Thomas, on crusade with Stephen of Blois. Will Wilfrid be able to give Henry the answers he is looking for? Will he be reunited with his family, Thomas safe, and Joan still trusting him? And until he can satisfy King Henry, will he be safe or thrown into captivity again?

My Thoughts:

Field has once again taken a true story and added his historical fiction touch to create a great tale that teaches as well. I enjoyed his theory as to what really happened on that fateful day in the forest and he added information he researched that I'd not heard before. His desriptions of William Rufus and his decadent court were scandalously portrayed. By the time he dies, you are thankful. Field is clearly sympathetic to King Henry and believes he is innocent in the death of Wiliam, although not sorry he is gone. 

I have grown fond of Wilfrid and his family and back story. He is portrayed as a man with great character who stumbles but adds enough color to the book as to not make it boring. I didn't care much for his wife, Joan. She often comes across as a bit nagging and weak but Wilfrid loves her despite that. Their family and the nuns they live with are an interesting side note to the battles and court intrigue. 

I will be reading all of Field's books if I can fit them in the next couple of years. I contacted him through Facebook to tell him how much I am learning and enjoying reading them. He was gracious and replied which was really nice. While I am probably finished with this particular series for now (the middle books on the Anarchy, Henry II and Richard I are topics I don't need more study of right now), his new mystery series, Australian sagas, New World Nautical sagas, and Tudor dynasty series are sure to be excellent. He also has two Victorian era mystery series he published before his historical fiction books. Quite a library to choose from!

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