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Mercenaries  By  cover art

Mercenaries

By: Jack Ludlow
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
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Publisher's Summary

Six brothers, trained since birth to become great warriors, prepare to experience their first taste of battle.... The Norman/French border, 1033. The sons of Tancred de Hauteville are following in their father’s footsteps.

As knights, they have but one true purpose: to fight. But denied service with their Duke, they are forced to take employment as mercenaries: their unequalled battle skills are for hire to the highest bidder.

Victory and defeat, betrayal and revenge combine as the desperation to rule the wealthy Norman lands becomes an intense battle, testing even the strongest of ties.

©2008 David Donachie (P)2010 Soundings

What listeners say about Mercenaries

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Conquest Trilogy - first book

A book well suited to the audio format. The reader is a neutral voice with good management of character and variation of tone; a very competent, enjoyable effort.

The tale is set just before the time of William the Conqueror and it evokes the day to day of that period without being bogged down in pointless descriptive detail. Many of the characters actually lived, and the events follow, to some degree, events of that time.

The book stands on its own, mostly. It finishes with a tease for ongoing action, but this doesn't detract from it being a pleasant experience for those who like lite reading of stories set in those days. But it is book one of three, so you may be committed to all to see how the longer story unfolds.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

This is an EXCELLENT book the writer did an amazing job with this story and I look forward to getting the rest of the books in this series.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Jättesspännade bok ja jag är svensk

Very nice book of real persons from history. There is a podcast by Lars Brownworth about Normans role in history. Episode 8 is about William iron arm who is the main character in the book. It seems to stay close to the real events. I will by the next book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

History in the making

I love historical novels, Jack Ludlow has done his research, his time lines and characters (most of whom actually did exist) were written in wonderfully. Much description, and emotion. The narrator did a fine job, and I'm looking forward to the second book in the series "Warriors" .

4 people found this helpful

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Good book - Good History

I had never heard of the author and got this book on a whim but I really enjoyed it. I thought it had a good mix of action, plot, and history.

2 people found this helpful

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Better Than I Expected

Read a lot of historical fiction. This was much better than other reviews led me to believe. But tried this any way. This story based in fact and interesting regarding a piece of Italian history of which I wasn't aware -the Norman influence in southern Italy. Good writing; good vocabulary-better than alot of historical fiction (HATE those "romance" historical fiction novels) Will read/listen to next two vol. of this as well as other writings by Jack Ludow. Similar to Barnard Cromwell-just as well written, but character development not quite as strong.

1 person found this helpful

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There are no characters to like

Cover to cover, there are no characters to redeem a hopelessly boring story. The characters don’t have any character. There’s no one to like. The strong are marred by senseless violence. The beautiful are also contemptible. The ones that you suspect are just are merely duplicitous. Whatever happened to a story that makes you want to be a better person?
Pass on this one.

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The "other" Norman conquest

This book follows the Normans in Italy as they develop from foreign mercenaries to the dominant power of the region. Ludlow weaves a decent story of the de Hauteville family and I while enjoyed it, I wouldn't say it was my favorite. He paints a good picture of the characters, but doesn't transition events very well. Large swathes of time are blazed through, and what seem to be major events are just touched on. What seem to be main characters given chapters worth of attention just fade away and given little attention later on. He also doesn't give detailed accounts of battle which are always a good chance to keep a novel exciting and lively. By far the best quality is Johnathan Keeble, the man is a gifted narrator. If you're a history buff pick it up, if not pass it by.

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Great!

A very good beginning to what I hope only gets better with each new book. As usual Jonathan Keeble is magnificent. This man could read my utility bills and would ask to hear more!

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Great History Fiction

What did you love best about Mercenaries?

I liked this book so much I went right out and got the rest of the Trilogy. A very nice tale of History "based on" events. I'll also be acquiring more Jack Ludlow. This stuff is right up my alley.

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  • N
  • 10-03-11

Gripping medieval history

by Nicolas, Hertfordshire, UK
This, the first book of a trilogy devoted to the Norman family that made such an impression on southern Italy in the mid-11th century, is well-researched and weaves interesting history with vivid main characters. The author paints a strong picture of the political and personal machinations of the time...and this is all heightened by Jonathan Keeble's expert delivery. He delineates the characters, pushes the story along, and explains clearly the (at times) complex politics and devious machinations as well as the dominating Norman military tactics. If only he had had a bit more help with pronunciation of the Italian and Norman names, it would have been perfect. In any case, I bought this, the first novel and immediately went on to the other two, spending more time in the gym than I had anticipated! In any case, he is a TOP reader.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-17-20

An excellent book

This is how historic fiction should be unapologetic and bold. The narration is absolutely first class Keeble is the best story teller I've heard.

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  • Street
  • 05-28-19

Great book

Based on part of history that I was unaware of - well written, fast moving story that holds you from the start - 1st of three and the next is on my Ipod as I write. Jonathon Keeble reads well - the characters are individual and he is fast becoming one of my "go to" readers. I haven't read much by Jack Ludlow but will certainly be doing so in the future.