29 September 2015

The adventures of Captain Innocent Stryker

Long time without a post here I know, but no this project is not dead.  In fact, it is now confirmed to be on track to go into high gear in early 2016.  Excitement and purchases continue (though no actually modelling yet).    Hopefully the upcoming Hoby Challenge will see some brushes get dusted off, eh Alan?

Anyway, in the meantime I have been keeping my toe in the ECW period with a bit of fiction set during the war.  Namely, the adventures of Captain Innocent Stryker.

Captain Stryker is the creation of author Michael Arnold.  A reluctant Royalist Officer, he and his sidekick Sergeant are grizzled veterans of the continental campaigns of the Thirty Years War.  As such, they have a much more jaded view of the war and what it will do eventually to their homeland.  He is frequently compared to Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe - in fact this comparison is done with monotonous regularity by reviewers but notwithstanding this is a pretty accurate.

The series of books takes the main cast of characters through the opening battles of the ECW with an interesting plot line running throughout all the different books.  Though I think the first couple were the best, I quite enjoyed all of them.  They gave a really interesting perspective to the lifestyles and language of the period, as well as how the skirmishing and fighting tactics of the period worked.  While there is also a good measure of artistic license, it also gives a good perspective of how the command chains of both armies worked, the impacts of suffering from poor logistics processes, and the impact of certain personalities.

Overall, if you are an ECW aficionado and want some entertaining reading to immerse yourself in the period, then this series is for you!  But be warned, it will have you hankering to play some Pike and Musket skirmish gaming, which is the level that most of the books' actions is set.

The author's webpage also has some interesting resources which are worth checking out.

I'm up to the sixth instalment now, which covers the Battle for Marston Moor. It will be interesting to see how the author tackles that engagement and what he will do with the series once this climatic event is done.

Any recommendations for other ECW era fiction?

[EDIT] Steve the Warmer has just posted a review of Marsten Moor at his blog here:


  1. Thanks for the post. I'll have to keep an eyebout for these!

  2. Thanks for the post. I'll have to keep an eyebout for these!

  3. Interesting! I typically do not read fiction but these may be worth a try especially if the author accurately describes warfare in the 17th Century.

  4. Thanks for mentioning these. I'm kind of like Jonathan and haven't searched for fiction about the ECW. I think I'll give the first one a try, however.

  5. Thanks for the mention...! The author says he has planned for 10 books in the series, so a few more to go yet... like you I thought the earlier ones were the stronger, but this latest one is a bit good actually!

  6. Make sure you read the two short stories, the first is set when Stryker is a young officer and he meets the Winged Hussars. The second is set around the time of Marston Moor. They are only GBP£1 on kindle

    1. Thanks for the heads-up Nigel - I just read the one with the Winged Hussars so I'll go find the other one now