Read Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson Online


'Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We've eyes and ears for things other folk miss.'Much later, in the aftermath of Flodden, a young man finally understands his father's words.The year: 1513. The place: North-East England.Tom Fleck, a downtrodden farm worker but gifted archer, yearns to escape his masters. He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torq'Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We've eyes and ears for things other folk miss.'Much later, in the aftermath of Flodden, a young man finally understands his father's words.The year: 1513. The place: North-East England.Tom Fleck, a downtrodden farm worker but gifted archer, yearns to escape his masters. He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.Rachel Coronel craves an end to her Jewish wanderings. When the torque comes to rest around the neck of this mysterious woman, an odyssey begins which draws Tom Fleck into borderlands of belief and race.The seal ring propels Tom on a journey of self-knowledge that can only climax in another borderland - among the flowers and banners of Flodden Field....

Title : Tom Fleck
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781478308911
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 266 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Tom Fleck Reviews

  • Harry Nicholson
    2019-04-25 05:12

    The Eildon Tree, an arts magazine of the Scottish Borders, has published a review of my novel, ‘Tom Fleck’. I’m thrilled and quite overcome.Here it is:‘TOM FLECK’A NOVEL OF CLEVELANDAND FLODDENHarry NicholsonHistorical Novelalso an eBook.With The Flodden 500 Project coming to fruition next year, there will be a resurgence of interest in one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil and this is likely to produce an outpouring of academic opinion on the whys and wherefores of the conflict. There is nothing wrong with that, but Harry Nicholson has anticipated the floodof paper and got in ahead of the field—yes, it is a work of fiction, but it has been thoroughly researched in terms of historical background and it is set in a part of the country that the author knows intimately. These aspects are apparent throughout the story and the book has real historical and geographical credibility ahead of and beyond, 2013.However, the story is not just about Flodden, although the battle is an important part. Its setting is wider than this—north Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, and the Scottish Borders and its subject matter is also broad, covering agricultural life, class conflict, racial tension, love, passion with quite a bit of lust, plenty of adventurethroughout and, of course, the battle scenes.Tom Fleck is a poor, unread, farm hand, but with exceptional skills as an archer, whose forebears were once yeomen and unfairly deprived of ‘their own hide of land’ by the lord of the manor. Tom yearns to better himself but, to do so, has to leave his home and family. He is inspired by his dead father’s words, ‘Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We’ve eyes and ears for things other folk miss’.Two objects that he has unearthed could be the key to his future, an ancient gold torque and a Tudor seal ring that bring him into contact with Rachel Coronel who longs to end her wanderings as an outcast. Before getting very far, Tom makes an enemy of the lord’s son, which bodes ill, but he is fortunate in being taken into the service of the Norroy King of Arms whose task is to record men wearing coats of armsin the north.However, Tom is in the wrong place at the wrong time when men are needed to fight against a Scottish army that is mustering in Edinburgh and expected to move south.The reader’s attention is grabbed and held by the very first words of the book:Wings clattered through branches. Tom Fleck stayed his axe in mid-swing as two wood pigeons flung themselves into the mist. He looked down at the dog as her throat rumbled. She raised a paw,shot him a glance, then – ears cocked – faced along the track. Metal clinked somewhere.He whispered, ‘Whisht now. Come away.’Harry Nicholson is good at this. Atmosphere abounds and pace and good story telling are maintained throughout a book that is difficult to put down; description is plentiful and often poetic, but is always relevant to the story and never ‘contrived’. Readers will delight in the descriptions of the land, the plants, the birds and the animals and will enjoy the contribution of Tom’s dog, ‘Meg’. There are also the dark sides of human nature and experience, poverty, drunkenness,cruelty, conflict and death. It is for the reader to find out what happens—the reviewer can certainly recommend it as a very good read and hope that this first novel is followed by many more.Antony Chessell

  • Perry Aylen
    2019-04-23 03:11

    How wonderful to see history from an eye-level perspective. So often War, politics and life from the past are viewed from the bird's-eye of the titled few. Life through Tom's eyes shows glorious battle for what it was.Tom Fleck, though a well-painted character, was everyman that gets drawn into a conflict without a clear knowledge of how he ended up there.Although I've never visited that part of the country, the descriptions of the countryside and the life upon it were beautifully described, this along with the dialect and many of the terms used, effectively 'dropped' me into the North of England in the 16th century.I thoroughly recommend this for a full and satisfying read.

  • Kath Middleton
    2019-05-13 07:26

    I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is set at the time of the battle of Flodden and tells story of a young cattle man from the Tees-side area. It helped that I know much of the area but that's just an extra for me. I loved the dialect words too, which added to the 'true' feel of the narrative. The author is evidently a keen observer and lover of natural history. Most of the book is set outdoors and he never fails to mention birds and plants in his descriptions which are sensitive and poetic.The historical aspect of this book must have been researched in detail as it rings so true. This is a very satisfying book to read and I recommend it most heartily.

  • Denna
    2019-05-03 10:21

    Tom Fleck is a young man with an adult's load of responsibility resting on his shoulders. The weak don't last long in the early sixteenth century. Life could be as short as it was cruel. But Tom is not one to complain. He works hard every day and does what he can to take care of himself and his sister. Though life is difficult, Tom still dreams of one day falling in love and having a family and farm of his own one day.A found Tudor ring may end up being the answer to all Tom's prayers, but only if he can find a way to stay alive long enough to get there. In hopes of a large reward, he sets out on a journey to return the ring to its rightful owner. After making arrangements for his sister to be taken care of, Tom begins his journey with his faithful dog Meg close at his side. He doesn't plan to get tangled up in the war, but his talent with the bow is noticed and before he knows what happened he and Meg are caught up in a battle he doesn't expect to walk out of.Harry Nickolson's talent in my opinion is his way of bringing the people and land to full 3D life. I didn't so much read a story about Tom Fleck as I did live it with him. Tapping into the emotions of a reader is what most authors try for but only a select few succeed in. Sights and smells were described so well that I felt like I was walking the countryside right along beside Tom and Meg. My stomach churns as the tension level rises and Tom and Meg look death in the face on a blood-soaked battlefield. One couldn't help but worry for his dog during all the chaos, but the reader isn't the only one. Hardened men looking death in the face do what they can to help watch out for her. Pain and fear are real, enough so that one can smell the blood and death heavy in the air. But even through the horrors he is faced with, Tom never loses his dream of returning home with the woman he loves by his side and starting a family.Even the best of novels often have parts that will strike a sour note with me, but Tom Fleck isn't one of them. I highly recommend it, especially for those who enjoy historical fiction. The story will not disappoint as it draws you into a time, land and its people through Tom, Meg and the interesting characters they meet along the way. It takes hold from the start and doesn't let go till you turn that last page. Definitely earns its five star rating.

  • Nell Grey
    2019-04-23 08:16

    From the very first page the feeling is of stepping into the book to walk through the Cleveland countryside with Tom Fleck and his collie Meg. The sounds, scents and sensations of the natural world that surrounds our hero are beautifully described throughout the novel; his closeness and empathy with the wild things and the land become ours as we accompany Tom on his journey to find his true place in the world. I loved the way Tom - and of course the author - cared for Meg, and never once forgot she was there - for me she was as vital and essential a character as the human beings in the story. The characters themselves - those close to Tom and those he encounters on his journey - add to the sense of being there, in the raw everyday life of 16th century Britain, and the intensely filmic quality of this book. Harry Nicholson's beautifully paced prose flows seemingly effortlessly from beginning to end, making Tom Fleck a joy to read for this alone. Neither will the story disappoint. The section describing Tom's experiences at Flodden Field carried me through the fear and horror of battle, yet the feeling was of being in the safe hands of an author whose research was sound. If history lessons had been more like this I might have learned something of it at school.Happily however, battle, although essential to the story, does not take up a large part of it. The relationships Tom forms on his journey with both women and men make this a balanced and satisfying read. And there's even a surprise at the end...!

  • Paul AndrewRussell
    2019-05-11 04:08

    I’ve just finished reading Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson. I came across Harry’s book purely by chance, through meeting him online on another poet’s blog. Harry hails from the North of England and I’m originally from the Midlands, so discovering his blog was a joy for me; a taste of home.I must say, Tom Fleck is a gem. I enjoyed this book immensely. From the very first page I was hooked. I felt like I knew the characters, especially Tom, his sister Hilda and his sweetheart, Mary.As the story unfolds, and Tom has to leave home on a journey, I found myself saying “No, Tom, what about Mary?” The characters Harry has drawn on the page are that real. I felt for them and the situations they all found themselves thrust into as a result of Tom’s initial discovery of a lost, gold ring; the catalyst for the ensuing chain of events.I won’t give away the bones of the story or the masterful way in which Harry has woven all the threads together into a wonderful and ultimately satisfying ending.I will say that I loved this book. I didn’t want to put it down. In fact, I had to force myself to put it down on a couple of occasions, just so I could make it last that little bit longer. I didn’t want it to end. To me, that’s the sign of a great read!If you like a good adventure, a good yarn, a story with a beginning, middle and ending in the correct order, (not easy to find these days), great characters, some electrifying action, delightfully descriptive prose and believable dialogue; then buy this book. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Elizabeth Jasper
    2019-05-18 04:33

    "Tom Fleck" by Harry Nicholson - 5 Big Fat Stars from me.This book opens in 1513, in the reign if King Henry VIII in England. I was immediately captivated by the main character Tom Fleck – a cowman who wants to improve his station in life. His opportunity comes when he retrieves a ring lost by one of the King’s Heralds.The setting of the book - the north east of England between and around the rivers Tyne, Tees and Wear, is one I’m very familiar with, having grown up in Durham City. The descriptions of the places mentioned, the names of the local aristocracy and the events that take place during the story are all familiar to me through my knowledge of local history, particularly the Borders of England and Scotland during this period.Mr Nicholson’s writing style is superb, blending careful characterisation with an accessible use of language giving the flavour of the period without heaping onto the reader an indigestible amount of incomprehensible dialect. What gave me most pleasure as I read was the knowledge of farming and animal husbandry, various country customs, the writer’s familiarity with the flora and fauna of the area, particularly with regard to the medicinal use of plants by the local wise woman. The story culminates in a major battle between the Scots and the English, the Battle of Flodden Field, which is described in careful graphic detail to such an extend that I’m buying the printed version of this book for my husband, a keen reader of military history.

  • Vic Heaney
    2019-05-12 04:28

    Move over Bernard Cornwell ... there's a new kid on the block.Tom Fleck is a jewel of a book and Harry Nicholson is a gem of a writer. This book is at least the equal of most historical novels I have read - and that is quite a few.One feels that one is alongside Tom and Meg during their adventures which culminate in the bloody battle of Flodden Field - the largest ever fought between England and Scotland.One feels, smells and hears not only the battle but the flora and fauna of the North East countryside: the very basic life of the silent majority - the poor - of those times. One sees and enters, through Tom's unlikely friendships and romance, the more elevated existence of the rich and haughty few.The background rings very true. I love learning history while getting a rollicking read. I suspect there is more where this came from and can only say to Harry - "Bring it on!"Excellent!

  • Jenny (Border Dweller)
    2019-04-24 05:26

    It is rare to find a book that combines depth of character insight with keen observation of the natural world but Tom Fleck achieves this. It provides an intriguing and satisfying account of the life of a young man in the 16th Century in which historical events are cleverly balanced with a compelling personal story. Moreover, and probably the book's greatest strength, the setting is entirely convincing and I felt completely immersed in the time and place, a huge achievement and one that is not always realised even by long established authors of historic fiction.

  • Umeshikad
    2019-05-20 08:37

    This is one amazing story of Tom Fleck and his close associates. It’s a page turner and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Tom is no extraordinary hero, but a simple man with dreams to become his own master. Even though Tom lived 500 odd years ago, so much of him can be seen from today’s context. He made good friends and won hearts of strong leaders through his conduct. Description of the living and environment in 1500 England made me believe that I was there too, watching young Tom in Alnwick Market Place. Harry Thanks for this amazing story A must read.

  • David Freeman
    2019-05-03 06:35

    A jolly good read. Really enjoyed it. Lots of action. Lots of love even a bit of sex. A man to be proud of. Local interest for me too.

  • Jack Chaucer
    2019-04-24 08:07

    Next year will mark the 500th anniversary of Flodden -- the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought between the kingdoms of England and Scotland -- and author Harry Nicholson’s masterpiece novel “Tom Fleck” takes the reader back to Sept. 9, 1513, as if it were yesterday.Farmer Fleck, just 18 at the time, could’ve still been safe and sound tending his master’s cattle, but his honest nature and talent for archery had conspired to steer him wrong. Now he is part of a herd of some 20,000 English soldiers thrust into a borderland conflict between the Earl of Surrey, representing King Henry VIII, and King James IV of Scotland. Injured from a pike blow to the chest and playing dead as the carnage rages nearby, Fleck comes to the realization that the world in which he lives is not a good match for his pure, penniless and hardworking soul.“(Tom) groaned and thought: harvest time; we should be at home, beating sheaves on the threshing floor. Here we are, poor bloody labourers, herded together, mangling one another for the sake of a few soft-handed lords,” Nicholson writes.Yes, war is hell -- but it was far more brutal 500 years ago among the “flowers of the forest” on Flodden Field in Northumberland, England. Back then, there were no “smart bombs” -- men had to look their enemies in the eye and beat them to death with a stick or a sword if they wanted to survive the day. Nicholson brings history to life with poetic detail, authentic dialogue of the period and a protagonist you can’t help but root for in his cleverly crafted, perfectly paced novel. The research and storytelling is so well done that it certainly doesn’t feel like fiction when you read it. But as Nicholson points out in his introduction, Fleck “is fictional only because he leaves no record -- his people live before the keeping of parish registers, so they make no marks on parchment and are lost to history.”Nicholson did discover a record of the baptism of Christofer Fleck, son of William, on Sept. 19, 1596, in Hartlepool, England.“Perhaps William heard tales of how his great grandfather, Thomas, loved a strange woman and stood with the army on the terrible battlefield of Flodden,” Nicholson adds in his introduction.The strange woman is Rachel Coronel, the exotic Portuguese daughter of a Jewish trader and money lender. When Tom fishes a gold ring out of the muck on his master’s farm and it bears the Tudor noble seal, he seeks Isaac Coronel’s advice while struggling to keep his eyes off the beautiful Rachel. Isaac is not comfortable buying the ring from Tom and encourages him to find the owner with the hope of getting a reward.Accompanied throughout his journey by his little collie Meg, Tom wins over noble heralds, grizzled war veterans, potential enemies and young ladies alike with his simple acts of kindness, generosity and compassion.The only man he can’t stand is Mark Warren and with good reason. Warren, the privileged and womanizing son of the man who owns Tom’s cattle farm, raped Tom’s 20-year-old sister, Hilda. When the Warrens expect all the men of the manor to muster for the upcoming battle with Scotland, Tom decides to flee. He wants no part of fighting.But when Mark catches him trying to cross a river and escape, Tom is ready for that battle. He not only declares his freedom, but he also breaks Warren’s arm with a quarterstaff and sends him whimpering away.Tom eventually completes his mission and returns the ring to the noble herald who lost it. His reward is a job caring for and guiding pack horses for the English soldiers. Unfortunately for Tom, his impressive skill with a bow and arrow -- taught to him by his late father -- draws the attention of his sergeant and even saves his captain’s life in a relatively minor skirmish with the Scots at Milfield. After that, there’s no turning back for Tom from his date with Flodden.Fleck’s budding love affair with Rachel -- he wins her over with his pure heart and thoughtful gifts even though she originally would’ve preferred to settle down with a Jewish man -- only raises the stakes during Nicholson’s harrowing account of the every man’s inexorable march toward war. The mucky ground and primitive mode of transportation -- a long line of lumbering horses, oxen and soldiers -- make the slow, gut-wrenching journey that much more torturous for Tom and captivating for the reader. You absolutely feel like you’re one of the herd, being led to the slaughter.“Fifty yards in front, two bulky men carried poles that held aloft an old red banner. Embroidered flowers garlanded its sides, framing its centre a faded red cross on a white square. Tom tried to concentrate on it. The way the wind played with the banner took his mind off his queasy stomach and helped to hold back the bile that threatened to flood his mouth,” Nicholson writes.Though Tom and poor little Meg both get bloodied in the gripping battle scene, Tom makes good on his promise to return safely to Rachel because the Scot holding the axe above his wounded body recognizes him. Tom had helped the man and his brothers escape detection by British soldiers weeks earlier, when Tom wasn’t holding a quiver of arrows and fighting for the Earl of Surrey.“I know ye and I know this wee dog,” the red-bearded Scot said.“Aye, we’ve met before. I’m Tom Fleck and you’re John Elliot.”“That’s right, laddie. You were good to me and ma brothers at Coxhoe a bit since.”Elliot amazingly drapes another soldier’s limp body over Tom as cover and hands him some bog moss to stop his bleeding. “Stay still and pretend you’re dead as him,” the big Scot advises him before continuing on in the fight.Tom may have been stuck in the wrong herd at the wrong time, but his good karma saves his life, and Nicholson finds a way to bring out the humanity between two supposedly enemy combatants in the midst of a gruesome bloodbath 500 years ago. For that moment in time at least, the bond between poor laborers transcends the ambitions of royal blood. Unlike King Henry VIII, King James IV was willing to sacrifice his own blood on Flodden Field. James led his invading army into battle and was killed that day, becoming the last monarch from the British Isles to suffer such a death to date.Yes, England won the Battle of Flodden and, thanks to this wonderful novel by Harry Nicholson, our common hero of noble heart, Tom Fleck, lives on -- even as the calendar marches toward 2013.

  • Bev
    2019-05-13 06:25

    Tom Fleck: A Novel of Cleveland & Flodden by Harry Nicholson is set in North-East England during the 16th Century. We follow Tom, a hardworking cowman on the Warren estate, as he looks for a way to escape his masters. He unearths a Tudor seal ring from the mud and that, along with a gold torque he helped his father dig up, will start him on the road to freedom. But it's a long and winding road--filled with danger and fighting. For Tom is also a gifted archer and the Scottish clans on the northern border are making preparations for war. After finding what looks to be a promising job with the King's Herald, Tom and his fellows are pressed into service to defend the northern border. Will Tom survive the battle and make his way safely back to his sister....and to Rachel, the beautiful woman he met when he sold the gold torque?Harry Nicholson's writing and story-telling abilities take us straight back to the 16th Century with nary a bump in the time-traveling journey. As the reader settles in, the 21st Century drops away and it seems more than natural to meet men in chain mail and archers with long bows. Vivid word-pictures tell us exactly where and when we are. But Nicholson is at his very best with characterization. Tom is a likeable fellow--full of dreams and faults and very human. He's got a temper that he needs to learn to control and a streak of friendliness and kindness a mile wide. And the reader is rooting for him from the very start. The supporting cast are just as well-drawn.Overall, a very interesting and well-told historical novel. Seeing the ending battles from Tom's viewpoint put us right in the middle of the fray. And gave us the story from the man on the ground rather than the knights and landed gentry leading the troops. A very good read with a lovely ending. It was so nice to read a story with a happy ending--not there aren't disappointments and losses along the way. So many modern writers seem to think they have to write depressing endings, because life so often is depressing and disappointing and they want to be "realistic." Sometimes it's good to have a good, old fashioned "happily-ever-after." Close enough to four stars--that's what I'll go with.[Disclaimer: I have my review policy stated on my blog, but just to reiterate....This review copy was offered to me by the author for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.]

  • Robert Kroeger
    2019-05-01 06:22

    From byres to black cattle to ox-drawn carts to grey ponies in paddocks to drovers and horse thieves to bodkin arrows and Scottish pikes and English bills, Tom Fleck delivers an honest look into medieval England and a bloody battle won by the English this time – unlike the Braveheart battle at Bannockburn, nearly 200 years earlier.Having spent my childhood near Cleveland (Ohio, not England), I felt a sense of connection with this story and, despite a teenaged aversion to history – which I have fortunately outgrown, I enjoyed taking a journey back in time to the Battle of Flodden Field, one I didn’t know about when I played golf many years ago on the nearby links of Cleveland, Berwick-on-Tweed, and other courses on England’s northeastern shores.I also commend the author for including the prevalent anti-Semitic attitude so pervasive in the Middle Ages, one that flourished in early 20th century Germany and exploded in the Holocaust of the 1940s. Is it much different today? What progress has humanity made? Witness the brutal murders of journalists in Paris last week. The author also mentions that Juliana of Norwich – a Christian mystic, now revered by both Anglicans and Catholics – may have been a convert from Judaism. Even though little is known of her early life, her grey stone statue sits in the front of the cathedral in Norwich, a town that was the second largest city in England in late 1300s.So, there you go: a medieval battle (the little bills were more effective than the monstrous pikes), a Christian-Jew romance, and a sprinkling of mysticism thrown in for good measure. You can’t go wrong in reading Harry Nicholson’s Tom Fleck.

  • Lee Holz
    2019-05-10 05:22

    Tom Fleck is an early sixteenth century (Tudor) common man caught up in the English response to the Scotch invasion that ended in the Battle of Flodden, an unmitigated disaster for the Scotch. Tom, who winds up doing extraordinary things, and the other characters are well developed and multi-dimensional. The technology of the era is well depicted, and the battle scenes are convincing. The descriptions of flora and fauna are detailed and often almost lyric. As a whole, the book was interesting and highly enjoyable.

  • Heather Domin
    2019-05-17 06:07

    To be reviewed for HNR Online May 2011

  • Karen Lowe
    2019-05-11 07:13

    A delightful book, beautifully and tenderly written. The copious and intense research which inform it serve to enrich the story. And I love the brave little dog, Meg.

  • Faith Colburn
    2019-05-18 07:31

    Tom Fleck, set in 16th Century England, is not peopled with knights and ladies, but there is no lack of noble men. By telling the Battle of Flodden and everything that led up to it from the perspective of conscripted serfs who had no choice about fighting, Harry Nicholson provides an entirely different view of a period that’s almost always characterized by the nobility, not the common man. Tom Fleck is a man of exceptional intelligence and will. Unlike most subject “employees” of the manors, he hasn’t yet succumbed to the drudgery of the endless work he endures as part of his station in life. Against all odds, he decides to improve his lot. As Nicholson’s readers, we get to follow along on Fleck’s adventures with his trusty hound. He learns early that showing off can get you in trouble as he outshoots a bunch of yeoman archers preparing for battle and gets immediately conscripted to fight in the battle he’s run away to avoid. He earns the respect of the people he encounters and enters into friendships that allow men who live on the edge of disaster to help and support each other. In a hard country, Fleck finds reason to smile as he observes, with us, the natural world around him. We get detailed descriptions of that natural world and of the cultural articles the people use in their daily lives. We see the wooden bowls and the thatch roofs and the fires that can easily turn a family out of house and home. And, finally, forced into a battle he’s done his best to avoid, we see through the eyes of a man, standing on the ground, with cannon balls falling around him, and legions of warriors forming a wall of deadly points coming at him, how it is to live under the thumb of the nobility. Seeing a bloody battle from any perspective can be frightening, but this is not the sport of kings; this is a battle for survival. I highly recommend Tom Fleck. It’s a good read with a good story and outstanding characters and wonderful description of a culture and natural surroundings that are entirely foreign to me.

  • James Hockey
    2019-05-23 05:12

    Tom Fleck is the story of a boy who wants to be his own master. A boy who is not content to dream but sees his chance to get the cash to set up on his own and sets about trying to make his dream come true. He needs money to buy cattle but in the times in which he lives where the population are divided into master and serf this requires extraordinary guile and some courage. But there is more, for in the course of pursuing the money he needs Tom Fleck, a master of the hunting bow for all his youth, finds himself conscripted into the army being mustered to fight the army of the Scottish king. Border reavers are the advanced guard of this army, coming south across the border to settle some scores of their own. Here one starts to get the flavour of the lawlessness of border warfare. The story culminates in the bloody battle of Flodden field to say more would be a spoiler. Some, famous, authors write about historic battles as if they were writing for ‘Soldier of Fortune’ magazine. The battle is page after page of slaughter, blood and gore. Harry Nicholson does not do that. Whilst not downplaying the tragedy of warfare he also tells it like I for one believe it was, maybe is, a time of confusion, where few knew what was happening and which way things were going until in the end one side found itself in possession of the field and the other side found themselves running for their lives. Where the prevailing emotion besides fear was puzzlement at why it was necessary to kill people who were strangers.I liked Tom Fleck for its realism, I liked Tom Fleck himself for his sensible compassion. I was a little uncertain when one of his dilemmas was solved in a way that would have done credit to Jane Austen. That apart I really liked this book and recommend it to all who want to get the feel of Tudor England from a working mans viewpoint.

  • Leila
    2019-05-10 03:15

    I absolutely loved this satisfying book, especially as it is set right in the area where I have lived all my life so the places where the main character lives and travels through are so familiar to me."Tom Fleck" is a historical novel set in the north east of England. The main character is Tom Fleck- a young farmer who is taken into a military life against his will. There are some interesting bits about healing herbs and Tom's own uncanny ability to heal. Harry's novel shows so clearly how much he has enjoyed writing it and how well he knows the history of the area he has written about. He has a detailed knowledge too of the natural history. He brings the surrounding landscape, the birds and creatures to life. His historical descriptions are of a high quality and the various twists and turns of plot held my interest throughout! His character Tom has great depth as he "grows" throughout the unfolding of the story. Medieval warfare is described so well. The battles had me on the edge of my seat they are so real. Tom is a skilled bowman and I found the description of his bow, how he held it to gain the best advantage and how he looked after it so interesting. I didn't stop reading Harry's novel until it was finished.I don't like to have too many spoilers when writing a review, so all I would say is I heartily recommend this beautifully written book.

  • Harriet Steel
    2019-05-21 10:17

    This is set in the reign of Henry VIII and tells the story of an eighteen-year-old Yorkshireman, Tom Fleck. Tom's mother and father are dead and he and his sister, Hilda, make do as best as they can with what Tom earns from taking over his father's job as cowherd to the local lord and what they can grow or forage for. Their lives change course when there is a threat of invasion by the Scots in the Borders. Tom will be called up to serve in the local militia but he decides that he doesn't want to fight under his lord's banner because of the harm the lord's family has caused to Tom's in the past. He escapes, leaving Hilda with kindly neighbours, then gets conscripted anyway. As the Battle of Flodden looms, Tom has many adventures that will change him from a boy to a man.I enjoyed this very much although I felt that the lengthy treatment of the battle, good as it was, unbalanced the pace of the story a little. The author clearly has great empathy with nature and a poetic turn of phrase. Yorkshire and Northumberland, where the book is set, are beautifully described. The period is convincingly evoked and the characters are vivid.

  • Lesley~aka Ella's Gran
    2019-04-28 03:27

    Tom Fleck: A novel of Cleveland and Flodden by Harry Nicholson. Set in 1513 in the North-East of England is this fast-paced, beautifully descriptive story that takes the reader into Tom Fleck’s life from the very first page, keeping you there to the end - and beyond. Harry Nicholson’s writing envelops you in the atmosphere of the ordinary people of the borderlands, their dreams and aspirations, and describing surroundings, animals, plants and their use in daily life. People who could well have been your ancestors.I felt as though I had become part of Tom's life, his ordeals, felt his fear, smelt the battlefield and enjoyed the inclusion of his loyal, brave little dog, Meg. The author gave a very realistic account of all Tom did with a little bit of romance included in a way which made it so true to life.An excellent book I would highly recommend, and one I have not stopped thinking about since closing the cover.

  • Mike
    2019-05-17 09:23

    The strong point of this novel is that it places you firmly in the countryside of the north of Britain at the time of Flodden. It brings the era, surroundings, and people to life. It might be argued that the tough conditions, brutality, poverty and general grimness of living in the early sixteenth century environment are a shade romantically portrayed but humans are resilient and can make the most of what little might be offered and so events in this book generally ring true.The first three quarters of the novel makes a very fine read before it seems to get a touch cosy, in the wedding celebration for instance, and as the relationships wrap up.This is nevertheless a good read and can heartily be recommended to historical novel buffs.

  • Alison
    2019-04-30 04:07

    loved the description in this book, I live very close to Alnwick one of the main settings in the book I felt like I was there in the thick of it.