Wednesday, 26 January 2011

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: True Soldier Gentlemen - Adrian Goldsworthy

Release Date: 27/01/11


The year is 1808, and Hamish Williams is a 'gentlemen volunteer' in the 106th regiment of foot, a man serving with the ranks but living with the officers, and uncomfortable in both worlds: looked down on by those with the money or influence to buy their rank, and distrusted by the common soldiers who know he is not one of them. But Williams is determined to prove by deeds alone that he is a man worthy of advancement, and when the 106th embarks for Portugal to begin what will become known as the Peninsula War against Napoleon, he knows his chance of glory is at hand. Soon he is receiving a sharp lesson in the realities of war, as the 106th undergoes a bloody baptism at the hands of the French - and he realises that his single-minded devotion to honour may not, after all, be the quickest route to promotion. Combining the vivid detail of a master historian with the engaging characters and pulsating action of a natural storyteller, TRUE SOLDIER GENTLEMAN is the first volume in what promises to be a classic series.


Any historical fiction title wthat sets itself during the Napoleonic War, that follows the soldiers is invariably going to be compared to Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe. (Even if they have verses from Over the Hill printed inside.)

Whilst there are a number of similarities this title follows the fortunes of the 106’s Gentlemen Soldiers (aka the Officers) and whilst the body count along with the cost in blood is high, the rewards are even more so.

All in, the action is acceptable, the plot outline is reasonable and to be honest it’s the characters that keep this tale alive. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the officer class and prefer to stick to the common man but even so, I did get a lot of fun from this title. Obviously this isn’t Cornwell so you may not get exactly what you’d expect from him, but the authors title is enjoyable and with a bit more character building added it could well become a seriously good take on the Spanish portion of the Napoleonic war.

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