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Fire and Sword

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  16 reviews
On the 11th of June in 1488, two armies meet in battle at Sauchieburn, near Stirling. One fights for King James the Third of Scotland, the other is loyal to his eldest son, Prince James, Duke of Rothesay. Soon, James the Third is dead, murdered as he flees the field. His army is routed. Among the dead is Sir Thomas Sempill of Ellestoun, Sheriff of Renfrew, whose son and he ...more
Paperback, 454 pages
Published September 27th 2013 by Hadley Rille Books (first published September 19th 2013)
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Marie Macpherson
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Set in a neglected part of Scotland during a neglected period of Scottish history featuring relatively unknown historical figures Louise Turner's novel, Fire and Sword, explodes the view that “nothing much happened between the Wars of Independence and the Reformation”. Scottish lords did not lay down their swords and take up gardening but continued to struggle for power and engage in bloodthirsty family feuds.
In 1488 James III’s murder at Sauchieburn throws Scotland into turmoil leading to a re
Karin Gastreich
Louise Turner skillfully brings to life the conflict-ridden world of 15th century Scotland. Based on the true story of John Sempill, the narrative takes us from near ruin to an uneasy but satisfying final triumph. Thomas is a wonderfully flawed character, not your typical knight-in-shining-armor, but a young man plagued by uncertainty, prone to dark moods, and keenly aware of the ax hanging over his head. Hugh Montgomery, at once John's nemesis and eventual ally, is simply delightful in his char ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Louise Turner's Fire and Sword was a natural choice for me. I've an innate affinity for Scottish history and though it is a work a fiction, I welcomed the opportunity to indulge that interest through Turner's debut.

John Sempill is a rather obscure personality even to those familiar with his story, but Turner used the void to her advantage and filled the gaps with a wealth of fact-based detail. Brilliantly recreating the hie
Carrie Slager
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

I have to admit that I know pretty much nothing about Scottish history so after reading Fire and Sword I can confidently say that I actually learned something new. Even better, most of it is accurate and based on the real life of John Sempill in a time of turmoil and civil war.

Although we do get to see a couple of different viewpoints, the main character is undoubtedly John Sempill. Poor John i
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
John Semphill finds himself in a world of hurt upon awakening on a bloody battlefield in the summer of 1488, Scotland. King James III went to over with his own son, Prince James. John’s father, Thomas Semphill, insisted they fight for the King; this pitted them against one of their decades-old foe, Lord Montgomerie. And King James and his armies have lost. Thomas Semphill is dead and John’s prospects of being a knight in good standing are looking slim indeed.

I really enjoyed the writing of this
AL Whitehead
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Early on in the book there is a pivotal battle. I was struck by how well this scene was written; confidently, with visceral detail. Straight away, in the aftermath of the battle, we understand the dilemma facing John Sempill. We see how he is affected not only by the battle, but its outcome, and I thought these scenes were very powerfully written.
Like John, all the other characters are written as real people; they sit well within their time, displaying the sensibilities of their age. I was gripp
Young John Sempill is pulled into a war by his father. But when his father is slain in battle, John’s troubles are just beginning trying to secure his inheritance. John finds a wife but soon learns that it can be difficult being married to someone who’s family was on the other side during the war.

I was looking forward reading this book because I haven’t read many books set in Scotland and not in this era. This was not fast-paced book but it was still very interesting through the book.

John is ver
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Here we are in late 15th century Scotland, James the Third is dead. Oh what dreadful times this was. I loved John right from the first page, is was hard not to root for him. The author has a wonderful way with words, whether it was feeling right in the middle of battle scenes or feeling compassion for those unjustly punished and even disliking certain characters, her words were quite visual.

Coming in at 454 pages it isn't a quick read but it was not hard to get lost in this story. Knowing very l
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Tours for an honest review

I really enjoyed reading Fire& Sword by Louise Turner. Because I didn’t know too much about Scottish history there were some parts of the story that were a little overwhelming. I thought it was interesting that the author alluded to many characters having the same first name, yes, this was also a little confusing.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. It picks up right away in the beginning. Although Thomas is the hero he is v
J.U. Flint
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An extremely well-written and researched novel. Enjoyable storyline, great central characters, and a good sense of place and period flavour. The book is also enhanced by various author's notes, which are helpful to refer to as you go along. Can't wait for a sequel! ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a thoroughly engrossing read. At first I wasn’t sure if John Sempill had the strength of the hero, though it wasn’t long before I enjoyed the fact that his strength of character had to have been more important at a time when most things were measured by a man’s aggressive involvement in physical retribution- ie the physical slaying of opposite clan factions. In such a time of political upheaval, survival must have taken many forms and I really appreciated the author’s portrayal of how t ...more
Nov 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Fire & Sword covers a tumultuous time in Scottish history. There are a lot of players just in and around the old and new king let alone out in the countryside. Add in the change of titles as the old guard falls to the new and titles switch from one to another and it’s enough to need a scorecard. And a scorecard I did need especially as the book switched quickly from place to place and character to character. At the start of the book it felt a bit like whiplash but I did finally settle down into ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an impressive debut novel. Contributing factors such as detail, an intriguing narrative, and the well developed characters build momentum in a balanced fashion. Usually a novel leans towards the driving force of narrative or character, however this novel is evenly written where all considerations are equal creating a rapid pace and enthralling read, you won't be able to put this down.

The detail is rich, and attention paid to the minute, enhancing the reading experience hands down. Turner
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
More detailed review later...
MC Chambers
I enjoyed reading it, though I soon gave up trying to keep track of all the conspirators. It was a good vacation from workaday life.
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Born in Glasgow, Louise Turner attended the University of Glasgow in the 1980s and early 90s, earning first an Honours Degree in Archaeology and then a Ph.D. in the same subject. She now works as a professional archaeologist in North Ayrshire.
Writing fiction has always been an important part of her life and in 1988, Louise won the Glasgow Herald/Albacon New Writing in SF competition with her short

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