Former Soldier Pens Second ‘Divided Kingdom’ Novel - X-Forces Enterprise
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Former Soldier Pens Second ‘Divided Kingdom’ Novel

X-Forces Enterprise has supported members of the Armed Forces community in a huge variety of endeavours, across just about every industry you can imagine. However, literature isn’t a path taken by many.


A former soldier, whose career saw him serve in the Middle East, South Asia, the Sahel, North and West Africa, Charles Cordell is the author of English Civil War historical fiction series Divided Kingdom, including his debut novel God’s Vindictive Wrath.

The second book in the visceral series, entitled The Keys of Hell and Death, will be published on 4 June. It takes some of the characters of God’s Vindictive Wrath to the edge of Hell and drags others into the Civil War that racks Britain. All must face the brutal reality of war. This story is not based on a single hero. It does not take sides. Its voices – ordinary men and women – fight to save England in the chaos that is the 17th Century.




Charles commented: “When I wrote the first book – a debut novel – I had no idea if anyone would read it, let alone enjoy it. I felt I had nothing to lose, I would just give it a go and forget about it if it was a disaster. But the reaction, the reviews and feedback were, and continue to be, fantastic. It was wonderful, but slightly overwhelming. This culminated with being interviewed – in discussion – on stage, in a packed theatre, at the Chiswick Book Festival in September.”

God’s Vindictive Wrath was published in 2022, achieving strong sales, appealing to readers of Bernard Cornwell, Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow and Conn Iggulden. Much of the authenticity valued by readers derives not only from Charles’ meticulous study of the period but from his experiences as a professional soldier – his accounts of battle are unvarnished, stunning and brutal.

God’s Vindictive Wrath dealt with the opening set-piece battle of Edgehill and the failed Royalist attempts to capture London. In The Keys of Hell and Death the action shifts westward, in 1643. It opens at the Battle of Lansdown Hill, outside Bath, and goes on to include the Siege of Devizes and the Battle of Roundway Down. The action comes to a climax as the King’s Cornish and Oxford armies hurl themselves into the Storming of Bristol.

Once again, the story revolves principally around the vicious enmity of the two Reeve brothers: the carefree and dissolute Ralph, now serving as a dragoon in Prince Maurice’s Regiment, and Francis, the embittered and fanatical puritan in the Parliamentary horse.

But there are new characters too: Moussa Dansocko, a slave from Songhai in western Africa searching for an opportunity to regain his freedom; Kendall Tremain, Cornish fisherman and tinner; Abel Cowans, a disabled former seaman from Newcastle forced to work as a Bristol dock porter, and others, all with their diverse reasons for fighting on one side or the other in the visceral struggles that unfold.

With Charles already looking to the future of the Divided Kingdom series, he reflects on the experience of writing book number two:

“It took much longer than I hoped or expected. It was also a very different and much tougher experience. Writing a second book felt much more like a test – could I even do it again? A bar had been set. There were expectations. I desperately did not want to disappoint.

“A number of well-established authors have told me that this is not an unusual experience. It is akin to the music world’s problematic second album. I am told, book two is the toughest to write. I hope this is true.

“As it turns out, I am really pleased with the book. The endorsements – from an award-winning author, a TV historian and General Richard Nugee – have been brilliant. The feedback from pre-launch reviews have suggested that it is even better than the first book. I am over the moon. Now, I just have to write a third.”

We cannot wait!

Learn more and pre-order the novel at


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