About Westcountry Books
Online Catalogue | History Of Britain and Ireland | The English Civil War - Fiction
Inspired by a grisly discovery in the nineteenth century, The King's General was the first of du Maurier's novels to be written at Menabilly, the model for Manderley in Rebecca. Set in the seventeenth century, it tells the story of a country and a family riven by war, and features one of fiction's most original heroines. Honor Harris is only eighteen when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless - and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, Honor remains true to him, and finally discovers the secret of Menabilly.
England 1642: a nation divided. England is at war with itself. King Charles and Parliament each gather soldiers to their banners. Across the land men prepare to fight for their religious and political ideals. Civil war has begun. A family ripped asunder. The Rivers are landed gentry, and tradition dictates that their allegiance is to the King. Sir Francis' loyalty to the crown and his desire to protect his family will test them all. As the men march to war, so the women are left to defend their home against a ruthless enemy. Just as Edmund, the eldest of Sir Francis' sons, will do his duty, so his brother Tom will turn his back on all he once believed in...A war that will change everything. From the raising of the King's Standard at Nottingham to the butchery and blood of Edgehill, Edmund and Tom Rivers will each learn of honour, sacrifice, hatred and betrayal as they follow their chosen paths through this most savage of wars.
Rebel Tom Rivers has been rejected by both his family and his commanding officer. But spymaster Captain Crafte sees in the young hothead a fearlessness that could be used to strike at the very heart of the Royalist cause. Renegade Raw with grief at the death of his father, Edmund Rivers has rejected the peace talks between Parliament and the King. Now he leads a band of ruthless marauders against the rebels. However, Prince Rupert, recognising a kindred spirit, has other, no less daring plans. Huntress Heart broken by the deaths that surround her, Bess Rivers bravely leaves her infant son and Sheer House to go in search of the one person who might help her douse the flames of her brothers' fury...
A hardened veteran of the wars in the Low Countries, Stryker has come home to England to seek revenge on the man who left him for dead and scarred him for life. Stryker is driven by loyalty rather than conviction to serve King Charles's cause. He has no truck with aristocracy, preferring the company of a handful of trusted men, including sometime actor Lancelot Forreseter and his foul-mouthed sergeant, Skellen. But when the existence of a dangerous spy at the heart of the Royalist establishment is discovered, it is Stryker whom Prince Rupert chooses to capture the man before he realises the game is up. Lightly armed and with only a handful of men, Stryker must journey across a country riven by bitterness and beset by marauding bands of soldiers in a race against time. But unbeknown to Stryker, someone else is also closing in on his quarry, someone whom Stryker has sworn to kill: Captain Eli Makepeace, his nemesis, the man who nearly destroyed him ...
England stands divided: king against Parliament, town against country, brother against brother. For Captain Stryker, scarred hero of a dozen wars, the rights and wrongs of the cause mean little. His loyalties are to his own small band of comrades - and to Queen Henrietta Maria's beautiful and most deadly agent, Lisette Gaillard. So when Prince Rupert entrusts him with a secret mission to discover what has happened to Lisette and the man she was protecting - a man who could hold the key to Royalist victory - nothing, not false imprisonment for murder, ambush, a doomed siege or a lethal religious fanatic will stand in his way.
Posted to the hostile territory of Dartmoor, Captain Innocent Stryker and his men are attacked by an elite cavalry unit commanded by the formidable Colonel Gabriel Wild and suffer heavy losses. Stryker has already clashed once with Wild, and the Roundhead has sworn to seek his revenge. After the attack, Stryker is faced with the annihilation of his company as he is hounded across the moor, eventually seeking shelter on an isolated tor populared by an enigmatic former priest who harbours no love for the King's cause. Colonel Wild is assisted in his revenge by Osmyn Hogg, Parliamentarian Witchfinder, who shares his own deadly history with Stryker. To save his honour and his life, Stryker must lead his men to glory from the protection of the lonely granite-topped hill. Into this atmosphere of intrigue and danger comes the beautiful but mysterious Cecily Cade. Stryker comes to her aid, unaware that she carries with her special knowledge that may prove the key to Royalist victory. The battle between Stryker and his old foes takes him from the bleak isolation of Dartmoor, through the war-ravaged lands of southern England and finally to Stratton, where the bloody battle between Cornwall and Devon will decide the fate of the south-west.
The forces of King Charles are victorious; their Parliamentarian enemies in deep crisis. In the west, the crucial port city of Bristol has fallen, and Royalist eyes fall quickly upon neighbouring Gloucester. Its walls are weak, its garrison under strength, and its governor - Sir Edward Massie - suspected of harbouring sympathy for the King. Stryker and his men are with the army as it converges on Gloucester, still reeling from the loss of a close friend at the bloody Battle of Stratton. Ordered to infiltrate the rebel city on a mission to discover whether Massie will indeed surrender, Stryker reluctantly embarks upon his most desperate mission yet. But Gloucester's defenders are more resolute than any had imagined, and catastrophe soon befalls him. With his life seemingly forfeit, Stryker is spared by an unlikely saviour; Vincent Skaithlocke, his former commander. The mercenary has returned to England to fight for Parliament, and offers Stryker his protection. As old friends adjust to life fighting for opposing sides, Stryker begins to question his own loyalties ...but a chance discovery makes him realise that all in Gloucester is not what it seems, for a hidden menace threatens his own life, and that of King Charles himself.
Autumn 1643. As an increasingly bitter war rages across England, Captain Innocent Stryker leaves Oxford with orders to recover a lost treasure, vital to the success of the Royalist cause. But a seemingly simple mission to the remote Scilly Isles is soon jeopardised, for enemies lie in wait. A formidable Parliamentarian agent has been sent ahead of Stryker's force, intent on defeating Royalist plans. Feared by ally and enemy alike, he is a man whose determination is only matched by his hatred for Stryker. The quest for the gold takes Stryker across storm-ravaged seas, through enemy territory and finally to the Royalist stronghold of Basing House. And it is there that Stryker will face his most dangerous challenge yet.
July 1644. Five armies converge outside York. It will be a battle for honour, glory, and the fate of three kingdoms. And it will pit two great leaders - Oliver Cromwell and Prince Rupert - directly against one another for the first time. It is a day that will change the course of history. Into the cannon fire and musket smoke marches Major Innocent Stryker, battle-scarred hero of the Royalist cause. He must not only lead his men through the bloody horror and outwit his Parliamentary enemies, but uncover foul treachery on his own side. He will need every shred of experience and determination to survive. Marston Moor will be the decisive turning point in the British Civil Wars.
Summer, 1643 England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters. The country is consumed by bloodshed. For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn. When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the king's cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomas' background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford. On arrival, Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable code is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the king's betrayer and prevent the violent death that failure will surely bring.
Spring, 1648. When Thomas Hill, a bookseller living in rural Hampshire, publishes a political pamphlet he has little idea of the trouble that will follow. He is quickly arrested, forced on a boat to Barbados and condemned to life as a slave to two of the island's most notoriously violent brothers. In England war has erupted again, with London under threat of attack. When news of the king's execution reaches the island, political stability is threatened and a fleet commanded by Sir George Ayscue arrives to take control of the island for Cromwell. The threat of violence increases. Thomas finds himself witness to abuse, poison, rape and savage brutality. When a coded message from Ayscue to a sympathiser on the island is intercepted, Thomas is asked to decipher it. A disastrous battle seems inevitable. But nothing turns out as planned. And as the death toll mounts, the escape Thomas has been relying on seems ever more unlikely.
The king's coronation brings hope. Until a murderer strikes. Spring 1661. After years of civil war followed by Oliver Cromwell's joyless rule as Lord Protector, England awaits the coronation of King Charles II. The mood in London is one of relief and hope for a better future. But when two respectable gentlemen are found in a foul lane with their throats cut, it becomes apparent that England's enemies are using the newly re-established post office for their own ends. There are traitors at work and plans to overthrow the king. Another war is possible. Thomas Hill, in London visiting friends, is approached by the king's security advisor and asked to take charge of deciphering coded letters intercepted by the post office. As the body count rises and the killer starts preying on women, the action draws closer to Thomas - and his loved ones. He finds himself dragged into the hunt for the traitors and the murderer, but will he find them before it's too late?
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