The Winter Siege by D.W. Bradbridge
1643. The armies of King Charles I and Parliament clash in the streets and fields of England, threatening to tear the country apart, as winter closes in around the parliamentary stronghold of Nantwich. The royalists have pillaged the town before, and now, they are returning. But even with weeks to prepare before the Civil War is once more at its gates, that doesn’t mean the people of Nantwich are safe.
While the garrison of soldiers commanded by Colonel George Booth stand guard, the town’s residents wait, eyeing the outside world with unease, unaware that they face a deadly threat from within. Townspeople are being murdered – the red sashes of the royalists left on the bodies marking them as traitors to the parliamentary cause.
When the first dead man is found, his skull caved in with a rock, fingers start being pointed, and old hatreds rise to the surface. It falls to Constable Daniel Cheswis to contain the bloodshed, deputising his friend, Alexander Clowes, to help him in his investigations, carried out with the eyes of both armies on his back. And they are not the only ones watching him.
He is surrounded by enemies, and between preparing for the imminent battle, watching over his family, being reunited with his long-lost sweetheart, and trying, somehow, to stay in business, he barely has time to solve a murder.
With few clues and the constant distraction of war, can Cheswis protect the people of Nantwich? And which among them need protecting? Whether they are old friends or troubled family, in these treacherous times, everyone’s a traitor, in war, law, or love.
When the Winter Siege is through, who will be among the bodies?
The book is set in a town called Nantwich during the height of the English Civil War. When a body is found tied with a red sash which links him with the royalist cause, constable Daniel Cheswis is charged to find who the murderer is. But the bodies start to pile up and the town lies in the path of the royalist army and soon the people have to work together to survive the siege.
I’m not familiar with the Civil War so this was all new to me and very interesting. But it also made me feel like I should know some of the people that was mentioned and that I missed the persons’ importance. The most interesting part of the book was seeing the life of ordinary people and how they survived during those hard times. Daniel was likeable character who took his responsibilities seriously and didn’t want to be seen as a hero. I would have liked to learn more about Daniel’s brother Simon, especially about his quest regarding some papers. It would have been interesting too see what happened there.
At first I thought there was too many storylines and stuff going on but at the end it all becomes clear how it’s all linked. The whole book is from Daniels point of view and I think it would have been nice to have someone else’s too.
Very entertaining and enjoyable read that makes me look forward for his next book.
Published: Electric Reads (2013)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
You can check the tour schedule here.
About the author
D.W. Bradbridge was born in 1960 and grew up in Bolton. He has lived in Crewe, Cheshire since 2000, where he and his wife run a small magazine publishing business for the automotive industry.
“The inspiration for The Winter Siege came from a long-standing interest in genealogy and local history. My research led me to the realisation that the experience endured by the people of Nantwich during December and January 1643-44 was a story worth telling. I also realised that the closed, tension-filled environment of the month-long siege provided the ideal setting for a crime novel.
“History is a fascinating tool for the novelist. It consists only of what is remembered and written down, and contemporary accounts are often written by those who have their own stories to tell. But what about those stories which were forgotten and became lost in the mists of time?
“In writing The Winter Siege, my aim was to take the framework of real history and fill in the gaps with a story of what could, or might have happened. Is it history or fiction? It’s for the reader to decide.”