Roger Butters

All Wind and Pistol

The Book Guild, 2008
Hardback      £16.99
271pp., 68,000 words approx.

First volume of the Memoirs of Ancient Pistol, Secret Agent:
Through the perilous world of late mediaeval espionage strides the intrepid figure of Ancient Pistol, secret agent. Never at a loss for an insult or an anachronistic quotation from the Bard, Shakespeare’s vainglorious soldier has been entrusted by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, with a mission of the utmost delicacy, involving as it does the fate of the mightiest in the land.

Pistol would not be everyone’s choice for such a task, being a loud-mouthed, cowardly, drunken fathead. His efficiency is further impaired by the necessity to stay one step ahead of his creditors, their lawyers, and the army he has defrauded, besides a volatile relationship with Doll Tearsheet (not to mention various other ladies), and the inept assistance of Sir John Falstaff.

But whether brawling in the Boar’s Head, discovered in flagrante by a murderous husband, or enduring the indignity of the stocks or the dunghill, Pistol is indestructible. Before the monumental ineptitude of his blundering, the Machiavellian schemes of the mighty crumble and fall. Ridiculed, beaten, humiliated but undefeated, Pistol triumphs in the end.

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