How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Poodle attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: "Turncoat's Drum" by Nicholas Carter

While I do like to encourage anyone to write any fiction about the ECW, I find myself struggling to like Nicholas Carter or his writing.

There aren't loads of novels set in the English Civil War, altho there are a bunch around, including some famous authors like Daphne du Maurier.  A shame since it is such a fascinating clash - a classic struggle of those who think a single or few people governing is better than "the many" governing.  And in the end realizing that both are equally prone to fall into evil.

Yes, Charles I was a mediocre to bad king.  But what parliament replaced him with was even worse - chaos and then Bloody Cromwell.  A hard choice between two unappealing ends.

History aside, a novel set in this struggle should be rich with passionate people who truly care about which side they put their lives on the line for, and take advantage of the many interesting characters that populate the history of this war.  Yet Nicholas Carter leaves us wanting.

His style of  prose leads one to the conclusion that he himself thinks little of his characters - who are his own creation.  It's the words that he chooses, the traits he emphasizes.  Nearly none have redeeming qualities or are even balanced people.  Who Carter brings forward as characters are not representative of the war's participants, they are the mediocrities of the lot.  Small, mean, churlish and often described with in negative terms regarding their thoughts, character, physical traits, etc.

What kind of author dwells on the negative qualities of their own creations?

In any event, this book is a disheartening read.  You have little or no reason to like anyone, in even small ways.  While their commonality should be enjoyable (this isn't a story about Lords and Ladies) and something to relate to, one doesn't really have much interest.  Unlike life itself, which has a an interesting mix of likable and unlikable people, nearly none of Carter's characters are endearing.   As very few people have NO endearing qualities, one realizes after a time that this is Carter's view of humanity - contemptible.  Since he doesn't present them as worthy of acquaintance, neither should we find his characters worthy - we should pity them and their cruel creator.

I recommend you give this and all his books a pass, and read Rosemary Sutcliffe, Jacqueline Lawrence, or Daphne Du Maurier's books on the ECW instead.  They at least have love for their own people.

Results on "Embarrassment of Riches" Post

Well, a fair enough question, and a bit of a rarity in the gaming world.  What do you do when you unexpectedly make some money on your gaming habit?  In any event, the poll wasn't very conclusive, so fair enough not everyone's liking to participate.  In any event, as the month ended and the bills came due, I "donated" nearly all but a few hundred to the General Accountancy & Bill Paying Fund.  In other words, to my checking account.  But it still felt good to be putting some money back into the bills FROM wargaming instead of the other way around.  And there's still a few hundred for when I get caught up on this project and am ready for more.  Probably the decisive point was realizing that I still have a bunch of 40mm stuff to work on without acquiring "more, More, MORE!"