Thomas Page was not finished being hanged when a would-be campaigner bought his indenture and saved his life with the condition that he join his band of mercenaries on the Continent. Page not only excelled at pillaging, he became the leader of a company of plunderers—known as the Wolves—who made their living sacking castles and towns from Navarre to Burgundy. Enter the Raven, a black haired Spanish courtesan with a grudge toward King Pedro of Castile. Page and the Raven are lethal pair but are compelled to stay one-step ahead of Hugh Calveley who is determined to avenge Page’s killing of his cowardly cousin, William Calveley, the misguided general who saved Page from the gallows.
The Half-Hanged Man is a fine story told in the format of eyewitnesses relating their tales to a well-known chronicler. There are three parts and points of view that come together in a jarring climax. The context is the fourteenth century Europe and David Pilling’s knowledge of contemporary terms and trappings is impressive. He transports the reader to the time and place with his excellent prose and use of language from the late 1300’s. All fans of history will enjoy The Half-Hanged Man.
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