The Serpent’s Root by M.J.Logue
The Serpent’s Root is the fifth in the Uncivil Wars series. Hollie Babbitt, Russell and Luce Pettit find themselves in Cornwall in 1646. The King’s Army surrenders and they’re hoping for an easy summer. However they find themselves laying siege to a castle.
The Serpent’s Root
They’ve brought their own Cornishman home with them, Captain Kenelm Toogood. However they quickly discover that to the locals Cornwall isn’t part of England. While most of the Cornish fight for the King, this is an expedient to get their own ruler, not a loyalty to the crown. Even Toogood seems to have divided loyalties, even though is fellow Cornish kicked him out when the Parliamentarians were defeated at Lostwithiel.
Like the rest of the series The Serpent’s Root is more social than military. We see a Cornish perspective on the issues of the civil wars. We also see how the gentry treat their women, and what happens to a child when her mother dies. Kenelm Toogood’s daughter features through the story. He takes her back from her Royalist supporting grandfather, one of Cornwall’s magnates. She then shows us how young ladies were expected to behave, and what was deemed fitting for their education.
As always it’s well observed and well researched. All the characters are multidimensional and have believable motivations and needs. As well as the Cornish angle we learn a lot about Colonel Hollie Babbitt. Why he hates sieges, and his fears for his wife and children. As a professional soldier in his forties we can see him starting to break down. With more to lose it is harder for him to do his work.
Overall I enjoyed the book immensely and would strongly recommend it.