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Dacre's War by Rosemary Goring

Dacre's War

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June 2015 Book of the Month.

Historical fiction with a punch of realism and a twist of scheming political intrigue, several characters have returned in this commanding sequel to ‘After Flodden’. This is the tale of the battling and colluding Wardens of the Marches and Border Reivers, set ten years on from the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Double crossing, spying, scheming and underhanded tactics go hand in hand when it’s as easy to doubt your allies as your enemy. The author adds a vivid intensity to the background of the story; the surroundings, the customs, the industry, the everyday life of men and women are clear to feel and see. The Crozier’s relationship adds a spark to proceedings and is a welcome addition to the battle of wits that twists and surges from the pages in this entertaining and intelligent novel. ~ Liz Robinson

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. This sequel to After Flodden includes some of the same characters. It is 1523, and the territory is the Scottish Borders, a hotly contested and fought over spot for centuries. When Adam Crozier, head of a powerful local family, learns that Thomas Dacre, now Warden General of the English Marches, and an extremely powerful man himself, is responsible for his father’s death, the idea of vengeance becomes central in Crozier’s mind. The blood feud bursts into flame once again, ten years after Flodden. Crozier is itching for some face-to-face combat, but his wife urges caution, so, instead, Crozier turns to subtle political machinations to engineer his enemy’s downfall, using the machinery of the English court against Dacre. This is a brilliantly researched and written piece of historical fiction set in the beautiful Scottish Borders, an area where peace didn’t stand much of chance.
~ Julia Hamilton

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sarah Musk - 'A fantastic read.  Rosemary Goring skilfully and vividly recreates dangerous times on the Scottish Borders in the reign of Henry VIII.  A really, gripping story.'
  • Sue Broom - 'A pact and atmospheric tale of intrigue and derring-do in 16th century border country, astoundingly well written with a cracking plot coming to a satisfying conclusion.'
  • Sharon Lowe - 'History at its best, this novel from Rosemary Goring, is powerful, robust, absorbing, and a thoughtful documentation of the battles between England and Scotland, a must for all fans of Tudor history.'
  • Carolyn Huckfield - 'a really exciting novel that gives us violence and political intrigue in the time of Henry VIII. Added to this is the love story of Adam and Louise Crozier.'
  • Vanessa Wild - 'This is a fascinating and imaginative piece of fiction, cleverly combining fact.'
  • Margaret Freeman - 'A brilliant book, transporting me back to the 16th century Borderlands, combining fact and fiction in vivid descriptions, with believable characters and a fascinating plot! I loved it.'
  • Glenda Worth - 'Spies in the camp, religious men who are not what they seem, all is included in this fast paced novel by Rosemary Goring.'
  • Barbara Goldie - 'A page turning read from the Author of After Flodden, history and fiction meet seamlessly!'
  • Josie Barton - 'Ten years after the Battle of Flodden and the settling of old scores lies at the heart of this story of personal and political revenge.'
  • Jocelyn Garvey - 'A cracking historical novel set 10 years after the Battle of Flodden. A struggle between the warring clans of Scotland and England played out on the almost lawless border between the two countries.'
  • Carol Tuckett - 'A compelling story set along the Scotland/ English border...A book I didn't want to put down.'
  • Kathy Howell - 'this is a brilliant sequel.'
  • Susan Mooney - 'Power, revenge and plotting all come together in this fabulous read...10/10 superb.'
  • Lisa Redmond - 'Once again Rosemary Goring dazzles the reader with her vivid and intense writing, her fast paced plotting and her characters which leap from the page. I simply couldn't put it down.'

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Dacre's War by Rosemary Goring

Dacre's War is a story of personal and political vengeance. Ten years after the battle of Flodden, Adam Crozier, head of his clan and of an increasingly powerful alliance of Borderers, learns for sure that it was Lord Thomas Dacre - now the most powerful man in the north of England - who ordered his father's murder. He determines to take his revenge. As a fighting man, Crozier would like nothing better than to bring Dacre down face to face but his wife Louise advises him that he must use more subtle methods. So he sets out to engineer Dacre's downfall by turning the machinery of the English court against him. A vivid and fast-moving tale of political intrigue and heartache, Dacre's War is set against the backdrop of the Scottish and English borders, a land where there is never any chance of peace.


'A fantastic read. Rosemary Goring skilfully and vividly recreates dangerous times on the Scottish Borders in the reign of Henry VIII. A really, gripping story' - Sarah Musk, Love Reading; 'A pact and atmospheric tale of intrigue and derring-do in 16th century border country, astoundingly well written with a cracking plot coming to a satisfying conclusion' - Sue Broom, Love Reading; 'History at its best, this novel from Rosemary Goring, is powerful, robust, absorbing, and a thoughtful documentation of the battles between England and Scotland, a must for all fans of Tudor history' - Sharon Lowe, Love Reading; 'A brilliant book, transporting me back to the 16th century Borderlands, combining fact and fiction in vivid descriptions, with believable characters and a fascinating plot! I loved it' - Margaret Freeman, Love Reading; 'A book I didn't want to put down' - Carol Tuckett, Love Reading; 'this is a brilliant sequel' - Kathy Howell, Love Reading; 'Dacre's War is an absorbing, dense read, packed with political twists. The Scottish Borders are superbly evoked - this is a land of constant fear and hardship, as well as great beauty. Highly recommended.' - Antonia Senior, The Times; 'This vivid and fast-moving tale of political intrigue and heartache is a must read for history enthusiasts and those who love dark romance... Goring's novel uniquely engages in the personal elements of political revenge, bringing to life a land where there is never any chance of peace' - Scottish Field; 'The combination of extremely detailed historical research, beautifully descriptive prose and strong characterisation woven into a tale of political intrigue in evocative and atmospheric settings makes this a book with which many readers will quickly become absorbed' - Dundee University Review of the Arts'

About the Author

Rosemary Goring

Rosemary Goring was born in Dunbar and studied social and economic history at the University of St Andrews; and, after graduation, worked at W&R Chambers as a reference editor. Rosemary was the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, followed by a brief spell as editor of Life & Work, the Church of Scotland's magazine, before returning to newspapers as literary editor of the Herald, and later also of the Sunday Herald. In 2007 she published Scotland: The Autobiography: 2000 Years of Scottish History By Those Who Saw it Happen, which has since been published in America and Russia.

Author photo © Rosemary Goring

Below is a Q&A with this author

1. What inspired you to write After Flodden?
When I first read about Patrick Paniter, one of King James IV’s closest advisors, I began to speculate about the role this man, who most of us have never heard about, had played in the events leading up to the battle of Flodden. Exploring that idea led to the rest of the story.
2. What keeps you motivated as a writer?
The pleasure and challenge of writing itself, and the fascination of immersing myself in the affairs of imaginary or long-dead people.
3. What’s your favourite book and why?
That’s impossible to answer, as my tastes change according to mood and time. However, I do keep returning to Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Alice Munro, Charles Dickens, Muriel Spark and John Updike. I also frequently pick up John Galt’s Annals of the Parish, which I have read countless times.
4 .Do you have a routine when you’re writing?
I write and think better in the mornings, though sometimes I start so early I am barely awake. Probably because I’m a journalist I can write almost anywhere, though never to music, which is too much of a distraction.
5. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer?
Read widely, well, and constantly.
6. What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book?
My agent reading the first few chapters and telling me to finish it, fast.
7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
If I had the brains, a vet.
8. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character?
As a journalist my job is to describe events and people accurately. In a novel, however, a writer creates characters who are open to interpretation. By not imposing a fixed set of features on them, and leaving them only partially described writers allow the reader to imagine them for themselves. So while I have a fairly clear image of Patrick Paniter and Louise Brenier in my mind, it’s as if their faces have been pixillated, and to put an actor’s name on them would spoil the way I picture them.
9. Why are books important in your opinion?
They are the best way ever devised for disappearing from real life and forgetting who and where you are. Sometimes they let readers get into the minds and situations of people very different from themselves, but often their most important function is the pure enjoyment one gets from the language of writers whose prose is so pure or fluid, it flows over you like thoughts put to music. People like to make big ethical claims for the importance of books, but more than anything they are about pleasure.
10. Which authors do you particularly admire?
Other than those mentioned earlier, my very long list includes Javier Marias, James Kelman, Leonardo Sciascia, Edward Hoagland, Henry James, James Baldwin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip Roth, Rose Tremain, J M Coetzee, Giuseppe Lampedusa and Lucy Ellmann.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th June 2015


Rosemary Goring

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


352 pages


Historical Fiction
Action Adventure / Spy
Books of the Month
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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