The King’s Captain, by Mark Turnbull

Leah Blundell

The new novel in the English Civil Wars series.
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Beginning in October 1645, The King’s Captain is set in the midst of the Civil War. It is a war which touches not just England. A seemingly endless conflict. A chance remains with the Marquis of Montrose, a Scottish commander who can help King Charles I secure Scotland. The story follows Captain Maxwell Walker, a passionate and courageous cavalryman.

Walker has been haunted, not only by the war but his wife’s murder too. The officer experiences conflicted loyalties to the monarch and what remains of his family. Walker is constantly surrounded by death and betrayal, and as his sons face their grief without him, his guilt forces him to desert his post. In his hometown, the soldier discovers twisted and surprising evidence, and his personal journey of revenge has much more in store for Walker than he could have imagined. The King’s Captain is forced to fight for what he knows is right and must face his enemy in a tense final battle.

Mark Turnbull’s insightful novella, although fictitious, is based on historical sources. The narrative features plenty of small details that even historians of the period may not be familiar with. Turnbull has a masterful way of weaving multiple storylines and characters into a cohesive narrative. The battle scenes are expertly put together. The build-up and violent denouement had me turning the pages.

The author jumps straight into the action and ends things in a similar dramatic fashion. Amongst the bloodshed, intrigue, and grief, I thought that Walker’s development rang true. The novella didn’t feature heartless warriors, jeering and jibing, or stock characters seen many times before. The soldier is nuanced, well-rounded character. Even for those not overly intimate with the story of the Civil War will find something to enjoy in this book – and series.