Publication Date: December 8, 2014
For the King by Evelyn Tidman is a story of the English Civil War and a people standing strong against Cromwell’s army to hold King’s Lynn for the King. It’s also the story of Roger L’Estrange and the choice of love or loyalty.
The author, Evelyn Tidman, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
For the King is a story of great risk without the promise of great reward. Tidman has clearly done extensive historical research in the crafting of For the King. The history of the novel rings as true to the reader (and in fact is) while the author fills in blanks to enhance and educate. There’s a lot to like in this story set in seventeenth-century England.
For the King is an entertaining historical novel that sometimes reads at points like the best Errol Flynn movie. Tidman’s historically based characters are distinctly and fully defined. A bond is illustrated between Sir Hamon L’Estrange and his younger son and companion, Roger L’Estrange when the two go into battle and the elder beseeches the younger to care for his lady mother should the elder not return. Without elaborate proclamations, Roger L’Estrange knows that this is a compliment to what his father perceives to be his skill and is fitting with the historical setting. No one is swallowing a word-a-day calendar against all believable odds in this work. These are people who are straightforward with clear goals and while surviving by wits oftentimes in the piece; they are wholly authentic in feel.
There is a point in the novel when Cromwell’s men are seeking entry to King’s Lynn and the guardians at the gate are stalling. At first, the byplay struck me as silly but after consideration, they lived in a time of great violence so would they want to take peaceful occupation if they could? At another point, there is a warrant for arrest and the house isn’t searched because the officers don’t really want to arrest the people they’re charged with taking in. At a time where communication is slow as is help, the value of peace is immeasurable so why wouldn’t it be believable?
The plot is written well and flows nicely following Sir Hamon from prominence to running from Cromwell’s men in disguise. I loved the undercover scenes with characters covered in dirt and sporting fake accents. Tidman writes them in such a way that as frightening as the time may have been, they seem to be having fun confident of flying under the radar. There are many high-points in For the King and Tidman maintains a logical realism throughout. The sub-plot featuring Roger and his Puritan love (and the accident that led to their meeting) could have gone to a very cheesy place. I have read many books and watched many movies featuring excellent historical times of conflict ruined by a bad love story. This is not the case in For the King. Tidman maintains her style and willingness to surprise the reader in the love story and this reader was delighted. The story chronicles Roger’s life and love is, indeed, a part of life.
Despite history been a man’s game, Tidman does not skimp on the female characters or their toughness. From Lady Alice skinning rabbits to Lady Anne questioning the men on matters of legality, these are tough and fully unique female characters.
For the King is well-written and intriguing from start to finish. If you like historically based or action novels, you will love For the King. Pick this novel up today and let me know what you think.
Read an excerpt and pick up For the King by Evelyn Tidman today on