Author: D.W. Bradbridge
Publisher: Valebridge publications
Type of book: England, 1643-1644, war, Nantwitch, salt business, cheese business, Parliamentary cause vs Royalist cause, town siege, survival, chaos, mystery
Year it was published: 2013
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 main character is Daniel Cheswis who happens to be a bachelor and in the given circumstances is trying his best to discover the murderer, keep order and figure out what's going on in the town and why things are degenerating from within, (minus the war.) Daniel is best described as heroic, brave, determined and loyal to friends and family and even an old love. There is also his younger brother Simon who has something odd going on, Colonel Booth who does the best he can to protect the town, and he relies greatly on Daniel and so forth. Great deal of focus was on Daniel Cheswis, while other characters seemed to flit throughout the novel.
Nothing is what it seems
Most of the book is written in first person narrative from Daniel's point of view, and maybe 5 percent is from a third person omniscient narrator, when the author feels its necessary to focus on the bigger picture. (Although when its bigger picture, the chapter is italicized.) The story is gripping and the language style is perfect: that is its an easy read and unpredictable. I barely even noticed the length of the book.
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.”
For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
Buy the Book
First of all, love the cover! This book is quite different than what one would expect. While it does involve some nobility, most of the focus is on the common man, a cheese merchant as well as what goes on in the town. The nobility play a background part so to speak. The author is pretty good at making you feel back in time while at the same time not alienating the average reader. He explains the situation well as well as being extremely meticulous with research. I think because I wanted to know how a specific event tied to the bigger picture and how they got from point A to point B, I was confused by the history aspect, although I enjoyed learning about the salt trade and daily life in 1600s. I really can't find a single thing to complain about, which is a rarity for me.
This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Monday, April 7Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, April 8Review at Must Read Faster
Wednesday, April 9Review at Staircase Wit
Friday, April 11Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Monday, April 14Review at Princess of Eboli
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)