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  • Essex Dogs

  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Ben Miles
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Essex Dogs cover art

Essex Dogs

By: Dan Jones
Narrated by: Ben Miles
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Publisher's Summary

Globally bestselling historian Dan Jones makes his historical fiction debut with Essex Dogs, the explosive first instalment in an epic new trilogy set during the Hundred Years War.

July 1346. The Hundred Years' War has begun, and King Edward and his lords are on the march through France. But this war belongs to the men on the ground.

Swept up in the bloody chaos, a tight-knit company from Essex must stay alive long enough to see their home again. With sword, mace and longbow, the Essex Dogs will fight, from the landing beaches of Normandy to the bloodsoaked field of Crécy.

There's Pismire, small enough to infiltrate enemy camps. Scotsman, strong enough to tear down a wall. Millstone, a stonemason who'll do anything to protect his men. Father, a priest turned devilish by the horrors of war. Romford, a talented young archer on the run from his past. And Loveday Fitztalbot, their battle-scarred captain, who just wants to get his boys home safe.

Some men fight for glory. Others fight for coin. The Essex Dogs? They fight for each other.

©2022 Dan Jones (P)2022 Head of Zeus

Critic Reviews

"Jones is certainly an entertainer, but also a fine historian." (The Times)

"When it comes to rip-roaring medieval narratives, Jones has few peers." (Sunday Times)

"Dan Jones writes with pace, wit and insight." (Helen Castor)

What listeners say about Essex Dogs

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Off to France in 1346… boots and all!

A great rollicking story about the horrors of combat at the start of the 100 Years War. Loved it! Ben Miles’narration is superb bringing great characters like Northampton and the Scotsman alive with believable accents. Can’t wait to start Dan Jones’ sequel.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding Historical War Story

Good action / war story told from the perspective of ordinary soldiers with language, including swearing, that befits the characters.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor story. Great performance

Great performance.
Dull story, lifeless writing.
The whole English campaign revolves around the Essex dogs, a band of boring 2d characters.
It felt like a bad video game, with the npc’s pushing the main group of characters from task to task.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A terrible first novel not saved by excellent narr

Full of bad history, poor characterisation and very basic prose. For someone who claims to be a historian and to have read all the most important books on the campaign, Jones gets barely a single thing right re: the history, from inventing an opposed landing in Normandy, to a sacking of Saint-Lo that never happened, to completely misunderstanding the geography and events of Caen, to placing trebuchets at Poissy that never existed, to a crossing of the Somme that doesn't happen the way eyewitnesses say it did to a battle of Crécy that is neither in the traditional location nor in Michael Livingston's revisionist location and which doesn't go down according to either primary sources or modern accounts.

The prose and characterisations are similarly bad, and Jones completely fails to capture even a sliver of the culture and feel of the 14th century. He doesn't even do this in a way that feels natural, like Steven Pressfield's Marinisation of the Spartans.

If you like either history or fiction, give this a miss.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A different version of “history” but entertaining at the same time

A very different version of the history and entertaining at the same time. I look forward to book two

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Essex Dogs is set during the 100 years war in France, following a company of men of the same name.

The comradery and banter between "the dogs" is brilliant, the writing is fairly to the point, and suits the story well.

The battles are gritty and action packed, with quiter moments throughout to really build up the cast of characters. The best part is you learn a good deal about history while following the two main characters.

Great for existing historical fiction fans while also a great entry point for someone new to it too.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not exactly my cup of tea I'm afraid.

perhaps a little less Geordieshore and a little more history would be nice. I'm a Student of history but no scholar or historian so take this review with a grain of salt but it's not believable the Black Prince acted in the way he did in this story nor any other historical characters. many things said and done in the story that is barely believable for the time and age. Was never keen to get back to where I left off, but eventually I finished the book. It was good enough to see it through, but not recommended.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • BW
  • 27-01-2023

Flat and lacking character depth

I found the story overall to be somewhat slow and really lacking an interesting arc.

The character development had some promise but it never quite hooks you in enough to care too much about them.

It’s a serviceable story that is very grounded but it failed to capture my interest and it was a bit of a slog to finish.

Not sure I’d come back for the follow up novel.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

I love Dan Jones’ non-fiction and (while not perfect) his first fictional debut did not disappoint. Well-written, well-narrated, and enjoyable, I feel like it was lacking some character development though. Looking forward to the next one.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding performance

This was the most enjoyable readings I have ever come across and to accompany such a great story - it was a rare pleasure.

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