In September of 1513 the English and Scottish forces prepare for battle on the boggy Flodden Field. King James IV of Scotland, married to King Henry VIII sister, Margaret Tudor is retaliating for King Henry VIII invasion of France. Alexander Lord Hume leads the Scottish troops and Isabella Hoppringle, the Abbess of Coldstream deals with the consequences of the violence with her young charges. Leading the English Forces is Sir Thomas Howard, an older, but wizened leader while King Henry VIII fights in France. John Heron of Ford strategizes, and Lord Dacre leads a Calvary force for England.
Blood Divide expertly recounts the battle of Flodden Field through the preparation, battle and aftermath. Through the points of view of Sir Thomas Howard, Alexander Hume, John Howard, Lord Dacre and Isabella Hoppringle along with letters from other significant players, a wide view of the battle is seen. Written with accurate and thorough historical fact, the reasoning behind the war is explored, the battle strategy on both sides, the weaponry choices as well as the consequences of victory for the English and defeat for the Scottish. I was most drawn into Isabella's story. As the Abbess of Coldstream, she was pulled from her duties to aid the Scottish soldiers with medical care. With an amazing amount of grace and fortitude, she is able to save some soldiers while caring for others and deal with an amazing amount of carnage and death with the little amount of medical training she was given. I was also intrigued by the English strategy going into a battle that didn't seem like they would be able to win as well as the Scottish decision to send their King and all of their nobility in the front lines. I do wish there were better transitions between character points of view as I would get temporarily confused at many of the transition points. Overall, a wonderfully written and researched book about an overlooked battle during King Henry VIII reign.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.