#FridayFiveChallenge: ‘The Half-Hanged Man’ by David Pilling

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!


In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This week I went straight for historical and then chose medieval as that’s not a time I often choose to read about. After flicking through a few pages I saw this:


Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

To be honest the cover of ‘The Half Hanged Man’ by David Pilling isn’t that eye-catching as a thumbnail, and the white block with the title across it looks rather amateur but the title really grabbed me.

The kindle edition is only 99p, $0.99 in the US – bargain!

Book description:

In the year 1395 the famous French chronicler, Jean Froissart, comes to England in search of tales of chivalry and warfare to complete his life’s work, the Great Chronicle of England, France, Spain and Adjoining Countries. Disappointed by the decayed state of England under Richard II, he visits a tavern inside Eastcheap, where a beggar comes to his table and claims to be Thomas Page, the famous soldier of fortune. Thought to be long-dead, Page was otherwise known as the Half-Hanged Man or The Wolf of Burgundy.

Froissart challenges the beggar to recite a convincing version of Page’s life, with money and food as a reward if his tale rings true. So begins a tale that encompasses the Hundred Years War in England and France, the Free Companies as they rampaged throughout Western Christendom, and the deeds and sins of the great mercenary captains of the late 14th century…

Number of pages – 326.


Nine on Amazon.co.uk: 5 five star, 2 four star, 1 three star and 1 two star. On further investigation – the people who like this really like it and the one who doesn’t, really doesn’t.

Twenty-eight on Amazon.com: mostly positive. Those who don’t like it all mainly seem to have a problem with the second half, but the consensus is that the writing itself is good.

Would I buy or pass? This is a tricky one, but the clock’s ticking and I need to make a decision so – BUY


Although the cover left me a bit cold, the title is great – really intriguing. I’m not 100% convinced by the book description, so I had a quick look at the ‘Look Inside’ feature and was impressed by the quality of the writing. I like it when a book arouses passion, either for or against, so I think I’ll give this one a go – at only 99p it’s worth the risk.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.


  1. Ah – I’ve actually got this book on my Kindle, it’s been there for ages; I think I started it but it didn’t grab me that much. Sometimes with indie books I find that the quality of the writing is very good but the writer doesn’t know how to hold a reader’s attention. Or it might have just been my mood that day; this post has made me want to give it another go! Btw, I very much agreed with what you said on Ali’s blog, about respecting the people who are paying money for your book enough to present it professionally. After all, you complain if you get a bad meal in a restaurant, or if you buy an item of clothing that falls apart. I don’t think writers need treating like sensitive little souls who are going to be wounded by any suggestion that what they’ve produced isn’t marvellous. Like you, I’ve learned from bad reviews – even the non-balanced ones. If someone got bored witless reading the overly long back story in a book of mine, I need to know about it, even if it’s hard to hear.

    Sorry, went off topic a bit! I agree, the title of this book is a belter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The title’s great – hope the book lives up to it! Agree completely re reviews. I think sometimes writers think that the fact they’ve managed to write a book is enough but it really isn’t. If you’re expecting someone to pay for it, it should be worth their money and their time. I think as well that poor quality books reflect badly on all indie authors unfortunately. I do understand Ali’s point of view though – I can’t believe some people actually think it’s ok to be rude to someone who has taken the time to do them a favour like that.


      1. From what I hear and have observed, it seems to be the bad writers who have the biggest egos – having a go at book bloggers is appalling, yes.

        As for thinking you deserve a 5* pat on the back just because you’ve written a novel at all, I can feel a blog post coming on…! And I agree that badly presented books reflect badly on us all, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely agree with your first point -probably because they don’t take any advice, however graciously given. And the more badly edited, badly presented indie books there are out there, the harder it is for decent indie authors to be take seriously.


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