Command the Raven by M J Logue [Book Review]
Command the Raven is the second in the Uncivil Wars series by M J Logue. It follows on from Red Horse starting with the siege of Reading in Spring 1643.
Command the Raven
Although set during the first English Civil War, the Uncivil Wars books are more social history than military. Like its predecessor Command the Raven has its focus on the people, and horses, in Captain Hollie Babbitt’s troop and their associates.
Command the Raven opens with the siege of Reading and the troop’s ennui with it. Luce Pettitt takes bad news from his widow very hard, and Hollie Babbitt wants away from the siege. A transfer from Essex‘s army to Fairfax in the north sees Babbitt change his fortunes. After a short period of recovery in Essex Babbitt marries. He then faces his father followed by dealing with Fairfax’s almost four-year-old daughter.
Babbitt has demons galore in Command the Raven, we start with his fevered nightmares about his first wife Griete. Later his father and then the sea. We find him a poor sailor when his troop are called across the Humber. He spends his time puking over the gunwales of captain Tom Rainsborough’s ship.
South of the Humber Babbitt runs into Noll Cromwell and his Lovely Company. Cromwell is portrayed as a disciplined cavalry commander with a strong personal interest in horses. In fact there’s a lot of passion to how he wants to use Babbitt’s black stallion to sire better cavalry mounts. He also has a strong godly streak too. He comes across as a competent human and not the puritanical fanatic that he is often erroneously played as in popular works.
Overall I very much enjoyed this sequel. Command the Raven focussed more on Hollie Babbitt than Red Horse did. This meant that Babbitt’s character has been well developed. We know more of his past and what has shaped and influenced him. The period detail is all there in the attitudes and positions of the various players in the saga. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Uncivil Wars series and seeing where it ends up.