Friday, March 29, 2013

Faith and Frenzy

by Kev Richardson
Historical, 384 pages
Cover art by: Trisha FitzGerald
This tale of love and hate in the name of God exposes many travails in 17th century England.
Hadn’t the English had enough of invaders, the Vikings, Normans, Picts, and Scots without their world now erupting in religious mayhem? Can Richard’s family avoid division? Were their decisions wise? Did either side win?
Religion is shattered as families opt to support this or that faith or faction. Peace and order are themselves ripped into frenzied shreds as faith in God is torn asunder.
“The King holds Market Harborough again.”
After the Battle of Marston Moor and the fall of York, and believing the Royal army disintegrated, Cromwell retired south and permitted his army to take leave. All were to report to Cambridge by the first of next June.
King Charles retained the services of nephew Rupert and his army, every man in it happy at respite from fighting despite the Prince remained chafing at the bit for more action. Charles’ exhausted troops had been driven from Scotland, so he had these men at hand, also resting. He had also been successful in convincing further Irish divisions that Cromwell intended a hard crackdown on the Catholic religion in Ireland, if winning the war.
“Isn’t their execution of Archbishop Laud sufficient proof that they will make war on all other religious sects?” gloated Charles to the Irish.
After so many defeats, he was feeling somewhat buoyed by having his own troops under his control, and even some Irish, more frightened of Cromwell than they had ever been of Charles. Aware that Leicester was being held by only a small Roundhead force, he led his army there, to easily overwhelm it to again free that city. And again took the half-day march south to free Market Harborough before returning to Oxford.
Relieved that Cromwell had dispersed his army, he left but a token force to hold the re-acquisitions.
“The King obviously does not see the war over,” I replied to Leyton Burgess’s statement that peace had returned. “Especially when Soloman reports Cromwell’s demand that all servicemen report back come June.”
The families were gathered to celebrate his birthday and mine. They fell within days of each other.
“Why seem the particular towns of Leicester and Market Harborough so significant to his sense of security?” I posed. “With the war convincingly swinging Parliament’s way, is the King using the same opening gambit to begin another? Or is this but an undeclared truce in the present?”
Only Soloman was convinced more was to come.
“Did Rupert take his contingent back to the Ruhr, do you know, Soloman?”
“I know not, Father. I would imagine he did. His force was sorely bruised. Surely they would have believed the Royalists soundly beaten.”
Beatrix raised a finger.
“Are we all believing the war is over only because we hope so? Peace is what we have prayed for, and it has now arrived? Yet with the King taking our very neighbouring towns again, it affirms he sees the war still in progress. He refuted any truce by retaking Leicester and Market Harborough.”

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