Battle Song was a book sent to me last year that I picked up just before Christmas in an attempt to get through more of my gifted books. I roughly knew that it was historical fiction and that it would likely feature some battles (due to the front cover). I’ve come away rather impressed.
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Battle Song tells the story of Adam De Norton, a young squire with the goal of being a knight one day. We follow De Norton as he joins a band of soldiers, led by Simon De Montfort as they attempt to challenge the power of King Henry. It’s a story that involves battles, personal stories and the rise of a man from lowly squire to noble knight.
Battle Song plot – 4/5
The plot of Battle Song, as I mentioned above often focused on battles, which I imagine was happening far more during the 1100s than it happens today. The story focuses on the many events of De Norton’s early life that have him building up a reputation from a man to be laughed at to a man with a reputation to be respected.
There are moments when the plot slowed down but these moments were filled with some very immersive world-building and historical knowledge. I have absolutely no idea as to how historically accurate this is but either way, it felt like Ian Ross knew what he was talking about and he has quite a backlog of other historical fiction novels.
Battle Song characters – 4.25/5
One of my favourite things about historical novels is that often the authors manage to write in some very interesting characters. I’m not sure why this genre promotes such genuinely great characters, maybe it’s due to the fact that the world they’re in isn’t the most expansive so the characters often have to be the shining light of the book.
Our main character Adam De Norton, as I’ve mentioned above, grows both a reputation and a personality throughout Battle Song. It’s quite clear of De Norton’s naivety at the start of the book and there’s an element of that innocence right until the end, but there’s also very much some development and maturity growth as you continue to read the book.
The supporting characters are good too; Simon de Montfort is one of those inspirational, hardened characters who you can’t help but love but who also isn’t afraid to set down the law and let people know when they need a good talking to.
Battle Song final rating – 4/5
Battle Song is a very solid historical fiction with some solid characters. It’s got everything you’d want from the genre: battles, strong world immersion and some great historical facts. It’s not going to thrill you with some sudden plot twists or have your heart racing and your fingers flipping through the pages at pace, but as I said, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll likely love Battle Song. You’ll find yourself a big fan of the characters and a big fan of Ian Ross’ writing too.