An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

This is my old copy of this book. It cost me 90 cents back in 1968/69 and, if I remember correctly, was purchased from our local newsagent. Many of my Georgette Heyer novels were purchased there on a Saturday or after school  and I can remember my excitement when a new novel appeared on the shelves or my great disappointment  when I came away empty handed.

 An interesting snippet about this book is that it was on a suggested reading list for Sandhurst Military Academy due to Georgette Heyer’s brilliant description of the Battle of Waterloo. I wonder how many officer cadets read it?

My reason for mentioning this novel is that I want to add a new copy to my bookshelf because I’m taken with its cover. 

Yes, I'm going to re-read it in the near future

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Book Review: Softly Grow the Poppies by Audrey Howard

Fans of Audrey Howard, of which I’m one, will find this an excellent read. Set during World War I, it is the story of two brothers, their call to duty and the women they love.

SOFTLY GROW THE POPPIES touches on many aspects of life at this time. Men eagerly donning uniforms and thinking war is an adventure.  Soldiers on leave reluctantly returning to the war front knowing what awaits them. Women taking up the cause as ambulance drivers and nurses. On the home front, old men, boys and women left to carry on and support the war effort as best they can and finally, the plight of the returned soldier and the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Against this grim backdrop, love blossoms, is lost and found, and ultimately triumphs. As in all true love stories, there are misunderstandings, doubts and regrets. 

Alice Weatherly, an only child and heiress, disobeys her domineering father and goes to the railway station to say good-bye to her sweetheart, Charlie Summers. Charlie, a cavalry captain and younger son of a baronet, is about to embark for the war in France. Accompanying Alice is the independently wealthy and unconventional Rose Beechworth, whose property adjoins the Summers and Weatherly estates. Also at the station to bid his brother farewell is Harry Summers, the heir to Summer Place. 

Rose and Harry deny their attraction to each other at first. Harry must set his affairs in order before he, too, departs for France. Love is not a priority. Alice's and Charlie’s romance is all the more sweeter being a forbidden love.

When Charlie is posted as missing, feared dead, Alice becomes an ambulance driver and goes to France in search of him. She returns from France a changed person and when Charlie, suffering from memory loss, is eventually found and returned to Summer Place, their relationship also changes.

The graphic description of the carnage on the battlefield contrasts with the idyllic country scenes of two great houses and the lives of the people attached to them. Conversion of Summer Place, one of the houses, into a hospital brings the war to their doorstep and they see for themselves the tragic consequences – death, horrendous injuries and men broken in both mind and spirit. 

Although abrupt, the ending puts everything into place neatly. The villain is exposed, a family is re-united and the future looks bright. A true Audrey Howard ending.

More Adventures in Redcoats

Surfing the internet has once again uncovered two more authors writing in the historical military fiction genre, IAIN GALE and ADRIAN GOLDSWORTHY
"FOUR DAYS IN JUNE" was the debut novel by Iain Gale released in 2006.  It covers the four days of the Battle of Waterloo from the view points of five  military figures, Wellington, Napoleon, Marshal Ney, General De Lancey, Colonel MacDonnell and General Ziethen, a Prussian officer.

This novel was followed by the adventures of Jack Steel set during the Spanish Wars of Succession. There are three books in the series so far.

His latest novel is KEANE'S COMPANY released this year and is set during the Peninsular Wars (1808).  James Keane, an officer in the 27th Foot, and his band of hand-picked men, are sent on an intelligence gathering mission behind enemy lines.

Iain Gale also writes military fiction set during World War II and has written a number of non-fiction books on a variety of subjects.

"TRUE SOLDIER GENTLEMAN" is the first in a series of novels by Adrian Goldsworthy set during the Napoleonic Wars. Four books, out of a possible twelve, are currently available. The titles are all taken from songs popular at the time and another little gem, especially for fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Wickham is amongst the officers of the 106th Regiment of Foot.

Adrian Goldsworthy is also an ancient historian who has written several non-fiction books about the Roman Empire.

Book Review: The Dashing Captain Daniel Rawson

Captain Daniel Rawson is the main character in a series of novels by Edward Marston set during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 to 1714). 

The Battle of Blenheim and the Duke of Marlborough’s residence, Blenheim Palace, I knew of, but I was unfamiliar with other events in this war in Europe, during the reign of Queen Anne.

I have just finished reading the first three of the five available: “SOLDIER OF FORTUNE”, “DRUMS OF WAR” and “FIRE AND SWORD”. These three novels cover the  war years to 1708 and the Battle of Oudenarde.

Edward Marston, while telling a good tale, provides background and reasons for this war through the opinions of his characters. The battle scenes are descriptive and the story moves forward at all times and is never bogged down in the detail.

Captain Daniel Rawson is all that a hero should be – clever, loyal, courageous, handsome and a favourite of the ladies. His exploits as an intelligence gatherer behind enemy lines are daring and his plans ingenious. 

Humour is provided by the dour Sergeant Henry Wellbeck and the unusual relationship he shares with the Captain.  Wellbeck seems to hate everyone and everything, especially army life. His gruff exterior, however, does not hide the camaraderie and respect he has for Daniel Rawson.

I’m looking forward to more of the Captain’s adventures in the next two novels in the series “UNDER SIEGE” and “A VERY MURDERING BATTLE”.

Matthew Hawkwood - A Regency James Bond

James McGee writes crime novels set in Regency London during the Napoleonic Wars  featuring Matthew Hawkwood, an ex-soldier, who is now a Bow Street Runner and described as "a Regency James Bond".

The series commences with “RATCATCHER”, also released under the title “HAWKWOOD”, followed by “RESURRECTIONIST”, “RAPSCALLION” and “REBELLION’. 

 “THE BLOODING”, which takes Hawkwood to America, is due for release in 2014.

Another series for my reading wish list …..