Four days in June a Battle Lost, a Battle Won, June 1815 By Iain Gale
TUESDAY, 16 AUGUST 2011
I don’t remember who recommended this author and novel, but I am glad they did as I really enjoyed it, one of my favourite eras in the historical fiction drama is the peninsular wars, and have read all of the Sharpe stories by Bernard Cornwell and many others by various authors.
“Four days in June a Battle lost, a Battle won, June 1815” is up there with the best, Bernard Cornwell said ‘A powerful novel of men at war. A triumph.’
If that isn’t a recommendation I don’t know what is.
I will unquestionably give Iain Gale’s other stories a go, anyway let’s get to the book;
It is June 1815, and three armies have converged on the fields of Waterloo to fight a historic battle for honour, glory, and civilization.
Amidst the masses of soldiers, five men prepare to face one another: General De Lancey, Wellington‘s new Quartermaster-General, recently married and yearning for his beautiful wife; Colonel MacDonnell, a Scot who must hold his post to the last man; General Ziethen of the Prussian army, distrustful of the British but vital to their cause; Marshall Ney, mistrusted by Napoleon but revered by the French soldiers; and Napoleon himself, who must prove his worth as a great warrior for the glory of France.
As the conflict develops and draws to its bloody conclusion, each of the five men view the battle from a different perspective, and all experience defiance, desperation, and great courage.
A magnificent book. Even though the outcome, of course, is never in doubt this reads like a literary thriller. The author writes from the perspective of a number of officers from both sides and the story cuts back and forth between them and the battles they are engaged in as the armies struggle to group behind Wellington and Bonaparte and then finally, on the fourth day, the incredible battle at Waterloo.
Iain Gale is a gifted story-weaver and the reason I say this, is that this battle and the actions that lead up to it were incredibly convoluted and have been told and retold by many authors, fiction and non-fiction alike consequently the conclusion is under no circumstances open to question.
Now a story-weavers gift comes into the telling of the story, it should deliver exactly like a thoroughly good thriller, I think that Iain Gale has done just that with this story.
It was such an exhilarating story he brought his characters to life and what I especially like was the way he laid out the chapters concentrating on just one or two characters, he had obviously make sure of his research, and he has shown that he has a profusion of information about the battle, the military, and the combatants themselves. Most of all though it is story of unforgettable adventure a factual boys own adventure.
I have no misgivings about giving this book 5 stars I liked it and will no doubt read it again and again.
- Waterloo:Culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign (lyconpedia.wordpress.com)
- Napoleonic Wars Book List (socyberty.com)