Monday, February 10, 2014

The Winter Siege - D.W Bradbridge ~ Very fine first novel

"As winter closes in around the town of Nantwich, the civil war that rages across the yet to reach the town's gates." Just imagine the stress of daily life within enclosing earthworks, in a long ago time when life was difficult in normal circumstances. What begins to happen at that time is almost impossible to comprehend. 

I am very much hoping that the author is busily working on a sequel as this was a most  engaging read! A period I am very much interested in was brought to life by Bradbridge in this trip to Nantwich in 1643.
Daniel Cheswis, Constable, and his contemporaries are remarkably vivid and engaging characters, as are the times they are struggling through.

Violence is both within and without the town as Cheswis is called upon to solve crimes that seem to also come from without and within. What do a series of murders have to do with the Civil War that is tearing England asunder? Is someone stalking  innocent tradespeople or does it have to do with the political strife?  The citizens of Nantwich must carry on their daily activities, as well as taking their turn guarding the town fortifications, and caring for their families and friends.

 A very satisfying look at a busy industrious little town and town officials who had multiple roles to play. Nantwich had been a salt producer in Roman times, "wich"  denoting brine wells or springs. From the wich houses, eight of which are mentioned in the Domesday book, comes the salt to make Cheshire cheese and in tanning of hides from diary animals. Daniel Cheswis, Constable, cheese merchant and wich house owner was  a very industrious and likable character. 

The plot was well thought out and the mystery had quite complicated twist and turns. Daniel Cheswis and his family and friends had quite complex and competing elements going on in their eventful lives.  Another look at these folks and this place is essential. D.W. Bradbridge has presented an extremely fine and well written narrative in this tale. He indicates that an interest in genealogy and local history led him to realize this tale needed to be told, as well as providing a perfect environment for a crime story. I think I understand why I enjoyed it so very much! Recommended for history as well as mystery fans-in fact, just about anyone who enjoys a well written novel.

Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Electric Reads
Paperback; 488p
ISBN-10: 1492795712
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?

Buy Links

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

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.”
For more information please visit D.W. Bradbridge’s website. You can also find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Here is the tour schedule.
Monday, January 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, January 14
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, January 15
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Thursday, January 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, January 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, January 20
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, January 21
Giveaway at The Novel Life
Wednesday, January 22
Interview at Closed the Cover
Friday, January 24
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, January 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, January 28
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, January 29
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, January 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at To Read or Not to Read
Monday, February 3
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, February 4
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, February 5
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Friday, February 7
Giveaway at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Monday, February 10
Review at Reading the Ages
Tuesday, February 11
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Thursday, February 13
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, February 14
Guest Post at HF Connection

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