By Alec Hawkes on 11 Jun. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is yet another top quality offering from Mr. Lovatt. This story is enthralling, gripping, exciting and many other things, all of which are good. The thing with Lovatt is that his writing is so descriptive, never shirking an issue or skirting around it; never lazy and too brief. Something he always manages, with considerable aplomb, is to never leave out those who were mentioned earlier in the saga - in either a small or large way. The little details are so important, even vital, to the flow, enjoyment, and accuracy of a good book. This, methinks, Lovatt is an expert at. He has, I'm sure, spent many a year honing his technique. We are now seeing and reading the results of many years of hard work; bravo sir! Well done indeed. To the story itself. I never want to give away much of the plot; I'm quite sure others will, but I would just like to mention a couple of quite brilliant exchanges that had me smiling, nodding approval, and appreciating fully what a brilliant writer this man is. Firstly an exchange between the newly upgraded Lieutenant Stubb and Private Carstair. The 51st were retreating from a rejuvenated force of native Indians and French led by the cunning old fox La Lande. Stubb, despite being only a Lieutenant, was in total command of the entire company, the bastard rapist Captain Hume having met an ugly though thoroughly deserved grisly demise, and was struggling to come to grips with the entire situation. Unaccustomed, as he was, to being the one who didn't merely follow orders, but had the unenviable task of hatching a good plan and issuing his own orders, many things were forming doubts in his mind. Was he really officer material? Would the men who he had fought with, ate with, struggled with, laughed with and been good friends with now follow him, without complaint or hesitation? Would he be judged by fellow officers who were not his fellows at all? Would they say he was well above his station and way out of his depth? As well as so many nagging self doubts he knew that he WAS in command; he was there, and no other was by his side. The lives of his men, his mates; these were almost entirely dependant on Stubb making the correct decision at the right moment. Racked as he was with so much self doubt, unanswerable questions and memories both good and bad, he happened upon Private Carstair. He was a young soldier, and had something of the frightened rabbit about him. Having said that, his commanding officer was only young himself, though Stubb had been much hardened by his experiences in life. The foremost doubt that the Lieutenant could not dispel from his mind was the one about whether the men would follow him, carry out his orders without question, hesitation or complaint. What followed was a quite superbly written exchange between the young soldiers, culminating in Carstair's "the lads will do anything for you, follow you anywhere, sir." Stubb was rather shocked, surprised, but in a very pleasant way and in a way that would straighten his broad shoulders, pump his chest and fill him with pride. These were good lads in the 51st, as was their newly upgraded officer. Stubb was so emboldened by this that he brushed all doubt aside and was able to lead his men with renewed vigour, ultimately very successfully. Poor Carstair met his own grisly end, but such is war. Another brilliantly written exchanged occurred between La Lande and Stubb, at the point when Stubb nearly had his man, only for the slippery old fox to outwit him and slope off into the darkness of the forest. There are many more though, many graphic descriptions of scenes that are so well described as to be very real, almost as if the whole thing is on film in front of you. As ever with Lovatt, the characters are many and varied and all so utterly believable. I loved this story from start to finish and eagerly await the next instalment. Brilliant writing from the master!
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