Author(s): Michael Arnold
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.
'Captain Stryker ... is being pushed as "the Sharpe of the civil war", but Stryker is a character well able to attract readers on his own merits ... The novel ends with the Battle of Hopton Heath in the spring of 1643. Many of the most famous engagements of the civil war are still to come, and the enigmatic Stryker's involvement in them promises much entertainment' -- Sunday Times 'A dark-hued romp, livid with the scents, sounds and colours of a country on the brink of implosion ... impressive' -- Daily Express 'Michael Arnold's Civil War Chronicles have the makings of a fun, Sharpe-like series' -- History Today 'If you love Sharpe, you'll be knocked out by the 17th-century civil war adventures of Captain Innocent Stryker ... at times this one-eyed veteran makes Sharpe look rather civilised' -- Peterborough Evening Telegraph 'Arnold is at his best describing real events ... if you like Cornwell you will like Arnold' -- Historical Novels Review 'Heart-thumping action ... Arnold brings the English Civil War to colourful life' -- Lancashire Evening Post 'A thumping good read. With considerable skill, Arnold has reached back in time to create a living, breathing depiction of 17th century England. From his vividly described battle scenes to the richly drawn descriptions of everyday life, from the earthy vernacular of its characters to the precise details of military equipment, every last part of this book oozes authenticity. Fans of Cornwell's Sharpe novels will love Captain Innocent Stryker - he's uglier, meaner and cleverer than Sharpe. Tremendous!' -- Ben Kane, bestselling author of The Forgotten Legion Chronicles 'A swashbuckling novel which I did not want to put down! Arnold's series of 'Stryker Chronicles' are "must-haves" on my birthday and Christmas lists. Along with Cornwell, Samson and O'Brian, Arnold seems to have been an eye witness to the events he describes' -- Battlefield 'Mike Arnold has created a fascinating cast of characters ... I have no doubt that Hunter's Rage will count among my favourite reads of 2012' -- forwinternights.wordpress.com 'Has the makings of a fun, Sharpe-like series' -- BBC History Today 'Arnold throws us into his most vivid and thrilling book yet ... Crackling with the sound of musket fire and punctuated with the roar of cannon, this book brings the Cromwellian conflict to life in an intense battle of wits and weaponry' -- Press Association
Michael Arnold lives in Petersfield, Hampshire with his wife and young son. After childhood holidays spent visiting castles and battlefields, he developed a lifelong fascination with the Civil Wars and is a member of Earl Rivers' Regiment of Foote in The Sealed Knot. Traitor's Blood is the first in The Civil War Chronicles series featuring the unforgettable Captain Stryker and is followed by Devil's Charge (a Sunday Times Historical Fiction Choice of the Year), Hunter's Rage and the forthcoming Assassin's Reign, all of which are published by John Murray. You can find out more about Michael Arnold, Captain Stryker and The Civil War Chronicles by visiting www.johnmurrays.co.uk, Michael Arnold's website www.michael-arnold.net, his facebook fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-Arnold/103711729671003, or by following Mike on Twitter www.twitter.com/MikeArnold01.