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Honour and the Sword

(The Chevalier #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  32 reviews
It is 1636. As the campaigning season begins, the Spanish armies swell out of the Artois region of the Netherlands - flooding into King Louis XIII's France. The sleepy border village of Dax-en-roi stands in their way. Facing the overwhelming might of the Spanish forces, the Chevalier de Roland rallies a valiant defence.
Paperback, 530 pages
Published January 20th 2011 by Penguin (first published 2010)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  200 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
A really good read! Well written and characters well developed. Only drawback for me was the book was narrated by several characters and I found it difficult to engage in the story through the eyes of the main character because of this. This was a compelling read however and I look forward to reading more of the authors work.
Manda Scott
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great joys of having set up the Historical Writers' Association is that I am being sent a lot of books I wouldn't otherwise read. A great many recently have been entrants for the HWA/Goldsboro Prize for Debut Historical Fiction and for obvious reasons, I can't review them here yet (when the winner has been announced, I may well do).

And then there are the books that are simply sent by thoughtful publicists who want to bring their authors to my attention. Such was the package that arri
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Honour and the Sword had a lot of potential, but it never really pulled it off. The constant jumping between points of views (every couple of pages, if not faster, especially in fight scenes) made it really difficult to get into the story - first you get one point of view, then the POV is switched and another person goes back in time a bit, tells their point of view and then continues from where the other left off... and then the POV is switched again. Basically, even though the choice to tell t ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone! Especially those who like historical fiction.
What could I possibly say about this book, besides the fact that this is one of the best books I've read in a long time? It was wonderfully written, masterful even. The characters were unique and their personalities remained true throughout the story. They had such depth to them! The book is written with several characters narrating their accounts, each told in first person POV. I loved the way this was done because it gave me a better understanding of each of the characters. I loved each of the ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-reads, my-books
The title of the book - Honour and the Sword - is the shortest summary you can get which includes all you get.

In the tradition of Alxandre Dumas, Honour and the Sword offers with André de Roland the French answer to Robin Hood. Enter a time where honour was something completely different and the rapier the weapon of the nobleman.
Remember the time when you read first Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers. You can't turn back the time but instead you can read Honour and the Sword and feel young agai
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Idle Woman
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very occasionally, as a reader, you have the wonderful sensation of finding a book that might have been written especially for you. It feels as though the author has looked into your head, seen all your favourite things and put pen to paper with an indulgent sigh of, ‘Oh, go on then’. And this book did that for me. It’s a rip-roaring old-fashioned adventure story set in France in the early 17th century, full of courage, loyalty, duels, romance, dastardly Spaniards, impossible odds, hair’s-breadt ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took a while to get into this with story being told from various perspectives. But once I did I found it a compelling mix of adventure and history; almost a ‘boys own’ feel to it at times. The story didn’t hold too many surprises but it was well told and the characters well drawn and developed. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the follow ups
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title about sums up the subtext to this historical cracker. I went straight on a binge read and bought the second
P.D.R. Lindsay
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
One of my beefs with publishers is that in their efforts to put authors and their novels into boxes with a distinct label they can sell they actually deceive readers. Fatal really as readers buying a book in the expectation that it is a particular genre style read, but find it is not like the blurb at all, tend to bin the book and vow never to read that author again. A.L. Berridge’s book ‘Honour and the Sword’ has a title, cover and blurb which led readers to expect a jolly, all chaps together ‘ ...more
Jeez, where to start. I enjoyed this -- it's a long book and poorly typset but I read it in maybe a day and it was a pretty good time. Well-paced, interesting characters, and the action scenes are great. It's hard to write a good swordfight, and Berridge manages a bunch.

BUT. But. I have some problems.

It's set during the Thirty Years' War; there's a province on the French border that is occupied by the Spanish army, and the book is ostensibly about the local lord and his rebel army. All right,
Krystal Wolfe
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All readers.
I fucking worship this book. Absolutely mindblowing. I'm an exclusive fantasy reader but I picked this up in the library and couldn't pry my fingers off it. That means it's really, REALLY good. I bought a copy just to have it there. It's amazing.

The multiple viewpoints helped to give it the feel of a real historical manuscript. It was amazing how well Berridge did with their voices - you can always tell which person is narrating. The main character, Andre de Roland, is so impossible to not love
Nick Hazlewood
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book actually works a lot better than you think. The idea of using different characters to provide what appears to be different points of view isn't at all its actually a very good way of giving the writer and the reader different viewpoints of the story and AL Berridge really uses this writing tool or device to draw the reader into the world that the characters live in so your reading an "historical novel" set in France in 16 something or other but that doesn't matter because that is just ...more
Deborah Swift
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel is written as a series of interviews or memoirs from France during the time of the 30 years war and so includes a number of different voices put together by a fictional professor - Edward Morton. Sounds complicated? Perhaps, but it works brilliantly. Like a patchwork this method gradually builds up the picture of events from all the partisan points of view. Told in the first person present tense, some of it is written in very modern-sounding English but this has the effect of drawing t ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story and characters drew me instantly into the drama and carried me away in this epic historical fiction. Funny but I didn't know until halfway into the book that Honour and the Sword was written by a woman! My hat is off to her in taking on such a subject matter that probably only men attempt, though, I am no authority on historical fiction and those who write them. I am looking forward to more of her novels. I am usually not drawn to such books about sword play, battles and honour but the ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Presented as a series of transcripted interviews and extracts from memoirs or diaries rather than as a straight narrated story, and set in France during the time of the 30 years war (so, roughly the same timeas 'The Three Musketeers'), I can see why this novel has been described as a mix of Alexandre Dumas and Bernard Cornwell.

An enjoyable enough read, but not really a pick-up-and-read type of book: this one, I found, could be quite heavy going at times, mainly as it does require some serious co
Andrew Pessin
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sprawling" and "Epic" come immediately to mind -- but overall a very enjoyable read, with plenty of people getting skewered by swords and having their faces blown off -- more than enough to keep the pages turning, and the main character (the young, newly orphaned Sieur of Dax) is one pretty cool dude -- and the relationship that develops between him and his stable-boy aide, as they battle the nasty spaniards who invaded their town in the middle of the 30 Years War, is pretty engaging ... At mom ...more
I was hoping for much more from this book but it didn't manage to deliver.

I expected a story of adventure and history but instead got a bromance where they get in trouble that could easily be avoided if honour didn't have to be satisfied all the time. It made the characters unrelatable, not sympathetic and often annoying. Neither the story or the characters had enough depth to overcome these issues.

The choppy writing style wasn't conducive to a smooth reading experience, with many narrators and
Martin Green
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical, ibook
Thanks to goodreads people for this recommendation. When I read that the novel is told from the rotating perspectives of different people close to the action plus some letters and diary entries I must admit it nearly put me off. How glad I am that it didn't, this is hugely enjoyable, the tone is spot on, and the use of modern idiom just works. Dumas updated to the current day, and yes I do mean it as a compliment. Romantic historical fiction done as it be, but rarely is. I look forward to readin ...more
Ian T
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. I'm not a great fan of this era. A bit Three Musketeerish. After the first few pages I felt a bit bored but the author was just setting the scene and the story of comradeship against the odds could be as relevant today as it was in 16th century Europe. Ended up being a certainly good story and near the end I ended up reading over 100 pages a night.
Vicky Wells
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has completely surprised me, I cannot believe it is based around a real character, but indeed it is! This book has had me in tears, made my heart beat faster and has made me reflect on what it means to be human.

This book was beautifully written and at no point boring, cannot wait to read book 2. Loved it!
Теодор Тотев
I only did buy that book with the intention of improving my English vocabulary skills as English is not my mother tongue....but both the compelling story and the adorable creativity of the author - providing the book with everything that might be expected from a bestseller and even more, turned out to reveal me the real beauty of "Honour and the Sword". Definitely a Must Read !
Sep 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic
Didn't finish this one. Got about five chapters in and found myself too bored too continue. Didn't get the feel for different characters through the narration and it just didn't work for me. Oh well.
Dayo Johnson
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that it took me sometime to get used to the style of a multi narrative, but it was worth it and I'm looking forward to reading more of the authors work.
Good story based on fact. Excellent characters.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: market
Not sure about the multiple narrators though - too many viewpoint characters for my liking.
Ben Julien
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intricately crafted plot and sympathetic characters. Very impressive.
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent coming of age historical fiction about France and Spain during the 30 years war.
A really good action tale full of honour, love, determination and loyalty!
Brian Chong
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me fell in love with France and the beauty of the art of fencing.
Phil Barker
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2016
A story of the French resistance, but this is the 30 years war, not WW2. Nicely told as quasi oral history, but approximately 300 pages longer than my interest in it.
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A. L. Berridge worked as a teacher, a script editor, and a television producer before finally settling down as a full-time novelist. She inherited her love of history from her father, writer and Victorian specialist David Newsome, but her own passion is for military adventure, and the character and relationships of men at war. She is published by Penguin.

Her first novel, the epic HONOUR AND THE SW

Other books in the series

The Chevalier (2 books)
  • In the Name of the King (The Chevalier, #2)

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