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Summary

Six brothers, trained since birth to become great warriors, prepare to experience their first taste of battle.... The Norman/French border, 1033. The sons of Tancred de Hauteville are following in their father’s footsteps.

As knights, they have but one true purpose: to fight. But denied service with their Duke, they are forced to take employment as mercenaries: their unequalled battle skills are for hire to the highest bidder.

Victory and defeat, betrayal and revenge combine as the desperation to rule the wealthy Norman lands becomes an intense battle, testing even the strongest of ties.

©2008 David Donachie (P)2010 Soundings

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • N
  • 03-10-11

Gripping medieval history

by Nicolas, Hertfordshire, UK
This, the first book of a trilogy devoted to the Norman family that made such an impression on southern Italy in the mid-11th century, is well-researched and weaves interesting history with vivid main characters. The author paints a strong picture of the political and personal machinations of the time...and this is all heightened by Jonathan Keeble's expert delivery. He delineates the characters, pushes the story along, and explains clearly the (at times) complex politics and devious machinations as well as the dominating Norman military tactics. If only he had had a bit more help with pronunciation of the Italian and Norman names, it would have been perfect. In any case, I bought this, the first novel and immediately went on to the other two, spending more time in the gym than I had anticipated! In any case, he is a TOP reader.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul McMahon
  • 13-09-10

Conquest Trilogy - first book

A book well suited to the audio format. The reader is a neutral voice with good management of character and variation of tone; a very competent, enjoyable effort.

The tale is set just before the time of William the Conqueror and it evokes the day to day of that period without being bogged down in pointless descriptive detail. Many of the characters actually lived, and the events follow, to some degree, events of that time.

The book stands on its own, mostly. It finishes with a tease for ongoing action, but this doesn't detract from it being a pleasant experience for those who like lite reading of stories set in those days. But it is book one of three, so you may be committed to all to see how the longer story unfolds.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joakim
  • 05-03-11

Jättesspännade bok ja jag är svensk

Very nice book of real persons from history. There is a podcast by Lars Brownworth about Normans role in history. Episode 8 is about William iron arm who is the main character in the book. It seems to stay close to the real events. I will by the next book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bonnie
  • 08-08-11

History in the making

I love historical novels, Jack Ludlow has done his research, his time lines and characters (most of whom actually did exist) were written in wonderfully. Much description, and emotion. The narrator did a fine job, and I'm looking forward to the second book in the series "Warriors" .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Russell
  • 30-11-11

Good book - Good History

I had never heard of the author and got this book on a whim but I really enjoyed it. I thought it had a good mix of action, plot, and history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kristine
  • 29-12-10

Amazing

This is an EXCELLENT book the writer did an amazing job with this story and I look forward to getting the rest of the books in this series.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria
  • 28-08-12

Better Than I Expected

Read a lot of historical fiction. This was much better than other reviews led me to believe. But tried this any way. This story based in fact and interesting regarding a piece of Italian history of which I wasn't aware -the Norman influence in southern Italy. Good writing; good vocabulary-better than alot of historical fiction (HATE those "romance" historical fiction novels) Will read/listen to next two vol. of this as well as other writings by Jack Ludow. Similar to Barnard Cromwell-just as well written, but character development not quite as strong.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean McCrory
  • 18-05-15

Great!

A very good beginning to what I hope only gets better with each new book. As usual Jonathan Keeble is magnificent. This man could read my utility bills and would ask to hear more!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gadabout
  • 07-12-12

Great History Fiction

What did you love best about Mercenaries?

I liked this book so much I went right out and got the rest of the Trilogy. A very nice tale of History "based on" events. I'll also be acquiring more Jack Ludlow. This stuff is right up my alley.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 12-07-12

"I Told The We've Already Got One"

I love to read historical fiction. Especially if it is a great story that follows real history as close as possible. This does both. I know little about the Normans or the Lombards but apparently they both existed in some troubled times. In fact, the first time I heard about Norman it was Monty Python doing rasberries and caltipulting a cow at King Arthur.

This story follows the large family of a Norman lord. But because it is a large family he can't support them all so they go do what Normans did back then, become soldiers of fortune. The two oldest sons head to what is now Italy to join other Norman mercenaries already there. Their ambition is kindled while there and we will follow their quest for power and fortune in the next two novels.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LaKisha
  • 26-04-12

Fantastic!

If you could sum up Mercenaries in three words, what would they be?

Clever, engrossing, fascinating.

What other book might you compare Mercenaries to and why?

Perhaps Bernard Cornwell's series about Uhtread of Bebenberg. Its a great story that mixes compelling historical events with a family biography.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favorite?

William. Of course.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I was fascinated by the story the whole way through.