Feud is the first book of the Rebels & Brothers historical fiction series by Derek Birks.
In 1459 England stands on the brink of chaos. The most powerful nobleman in the land, Richard of York, and the weak king, Henry of Lancaster, prepare to settle their differences on the battlefield. As the rule of law breaks down, old scores are being settled all over England.
For a long time the Elders and the Radcliffes have been, at best, uncomfortable Yorkshire neighbours. Now their feud erupts in a storm of violence as Ned Elder’s father and brother are murdered and his sisters abducted by the Radcliffes.
The young knight is forced to flee from his home. His sister Emma, torn from the quiet solitude of her household, is forced into marriage; while Eleanor, her wild and beautiful younger sister, is condemned to imprisonment in a remote nunnery.
But neither Ned nor his sisters are willing to concede all to the Radcliffes without a fight. The fate of the Elders will hang not just upon Ned’s skill with a sword, but upon the courage of his sisters and the girl he loves.
Amid the carnage and misery of the Wars of the Roses, the bitter struggle for survival is played out to its shocking conclusion.
“From the eye-catching cover to the last page, Feud is an exciting story of survival through personal upheaval during a vicious war, where the outcome is not always certain.” Historical Novel Society.
Feud is the first of a four-book series, entitled Rebels and Brothers, which is set during the Wars of the Roses. The story continues in A Traitor’s Fate.
A Word from the Author
Feud is a story of how three young siblings try to cope with the utter annihilation of all they have known and loved during a turbulent time in English history when two warring houses fought over the throne.
In one day Ned Elder, an 18 year old Yorkshire knight, loses everything. He is stunned and can make no sense of it. His father and brother are dead; they should be avenged. His sisters have been abducted, so he should try to rescue them. His lands have been taken, so he should try to win them back, and so on. But how he might actually achieve any of these things, he has no idea. He is on the run with a handful of others, but he knows nothing of the feud with a rival family which has brought about his ruin. He is clutching at plans of action.
Ned’s two sisters, Eleanor and Emma, are chalk and cheese. Eleanor is beautiful, brash and shockingly uncompromising; Emma is a more conventional and reserved fifteenth century girl. Eleanor fights whilst Emma endures, but they are central, not peripheral, characters and their exploits drive the story on as much as their brother.
I wanted Feud to break the historical fiction stereotype. I wanted it to be fast-paced, raw and visceral so that the reader is thrust into the struggle. Ned is a ‘hero’, but he is not always so heroic. He makes mistakes and people die. In fact it was important to me that, from the reader’s perspective, almost on-one is safe in this book – as in real life.
(Derek Birks, March 2017)