This year is the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden between the forces of James IV of Scotland and Henry VIII of England. After Flodden by Rosemary Goring is the dramatic story of what happened after the battle on 9 September 1513. Well written, well researched this is a compelling and powerful book, bringing the characters and the Edinburgh and Borders of 1513 vividly to life. Once I started reading the book I didn’t want to stop. I read it quickly, devouring the pages, completely involved in this dramatic story.
I was swept away with the action, re-living the scenes through Rosemary Goring’s vivid descriptions €“ the court at Edinburgh, the wild Borderlands, the violence of the battle scenes and the interaction between the characters. It’s a brilliant book.
Louise Brenier is determined to find out what happened to her missing brother Benoit, was he killed in action, or was he captured? Interspersed with the story of Louise’s search for Benoit Brenier, her brother, are flashbacks to the Battle as the two sides gathered together and engaged in warfare, the political intrigue and danger always present.
There is Patrick Paniter, James’s secretary and right-hand man – full of remorse at the death of his king, and tormented by memories he would rather keep buried. Louise appeals to him for help, and when he tells her that Benoit must either be dead or a prisoner she sets off to search for him. Soon Gabriel, Viscount Torrance, a courtier and advisor to Paniter, joins her in her search, which takes them deep into the Border country, the stronghold of the Crozier clan and the retribution that Thomas Dacre, the Lord-Warden of the English Marches has vowed to impose.
After Flodden is due out in June 2013. I read an Advance Proof Copy supplied by Lovereading.co.uk.
I’ve written about Flodden Field before, after our first visit to the Flodden Monument. The monument was erected in 1910 at the place where it was then thought that James IV fell in battle. However, more recent opinion is that this happened further south of the village, in the shallow valley close to the road at the foot of Branxton Hill.
There is a programme of events to commemorate this battle that led to the death of 15,000 Scots and English soldiers, 100 noblemen and the Scottish King, James IV. For more information about the battle and the Ecomuseum go to Flodden 1513. As the website explains the Ecomuseum links ‘together 12 sites from across north Northumberland, the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh, which have an intimate connection with the story of Flodden. These sites are all existing attractions, where access and interpretation are already available. They include churches, bridges, castles, museums and of course the battlefield itself.‘
Also have a look at Remembering Flodden 1513 – 2013, where the Stop Press News is that the One Show on BBC1 is featuring Flodden on Tuesday 30th May at 7pm – showing presenter and historian Dan Snow’s visit to the battlefield and castles of the borderlands.