Review: Highwayman War's End by Michael Arnold.

I am a great fan of Michael Arnold’s work. His Stryker series is one of the reasons I started writing my Blandford Candy books, and eagle-eyed readers might notice a couple of metafictional allusions in the Last Roundhead to Arnold’s one-eyed cavalier. I was delighted when I was offered an ARC of the latest installment in his Highwayman series.

The Highwayman series is set in the years after the execution of King Charles I, during Cromwell’s Protectorate (or dictatorship depending on your view). Samson Lyle, a former Roundhead officer, is a now notorious highwayman avoiding the attention of the authorities.

Lyle is unfairly blamed for the theft of a rare bible, and then forced into a quest to save a young boy’s life and retrieve the stolen goods. He and his companions hit the road only to find their steps dogged by enemies old and new.

This is a rip-roaring action-adventure with all the elements of Arnold’s writing that make me adore his books. The historical context is well depicted without overwhelming the reader from the story, and the plot flows seamlessly to its conclusion (I’m trying to write this without too many spoilers). Lyle himself is a fabulous character, and there is some genuine humour with the interactions between his companions as they hunt for the stolen bible.

It is a quick read, I steamed through it in a couple of sessions utterly enthralled, rather than a full length novel, but I do like this format. If you are stuck in self-isolation at the moment, the whole series is well worth a binge and available on kindle as well as print. If you have somehow missed Mike’s civil war series, they are also brilliant and highly recommended.

Highwayman: War's End is available on AMAZON from Sharpe Books

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