Schism is the fifth volume in the Crusader Chronicles (last 2 reviews here: Master of Mayhem & Castellan). This is a series of books (with a final one to come) about the crusades conducted in the Baltic States by the North European Christian kings against the pagan countries bordering the south and east of the Baltic - these took place around the same time as the well known crusades in the Middle East. The main characters have progressed from teenagers thrown into the conflict, against their will, as young novice members of the Sword Brothers, a military Christian Order who fought for the Pope. In this book, time has moved on considerably, numbers of the original group have thinned due to years of fighting and the main characters have risen through the ranks to be near the top of the tree within the Sword Brothers.
- Peter Darman
This book is primarily about the struggle between the military Orders who were doing the majority of the fighting on the Crusades and those representing the Papacy who thought they were getting too big for their boots. It adds a different perspective to the conflict from the previous books in the series and, as such, adds a richness to the back story.
Peter Darman has, yet again, come up trumps with a historical military novel that combines the gritty reality of historical fact with a flowing tale that grips the reader. His background within Defence Intelligence and previous military non-fiction writing experience shine through in the same way one gets with Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series - you really get a feeling for the way of life and can picture the scene vividly. Readers who enjoy the Crusader Chronicles series should also read the Parthian Chronicles, set in Roman times in a middle eastern kingdom (see reviews passim).
The book is available on Amazon here for £2.40 on Kindle (you can also get it in paperback). It is a real sign of success that, what started as Kindle-only fiction series, have graduated to hard copy and deservedly so.
Although sad that there is only one more volume to go in this series, I am excited by the prospect that this means a new series will hopefully follow in due course.
4 Mushroom Heads - a good summer holiday read!