When I read “Four days in June a battle lost, a battle won, June 1815” which I gave 5 stars to, I said “I will unquestionably give Iain Gale’s other stories a go”. I have with “Rules of War” it was as though I was reading a story from a different author and I was so disappointed.
Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis
In the early 18th century the British army led by John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, were the leaders of a wide-ranging and very successful alliance. Ramilles 1706—one of the great victories of the British army, a battle honour for the regiments who were there. But Captain Jack Steel, maverick gentleman and super soldier, finds himself at odds with his Allied partners and receives contradictory orders; and even after victory, he finds himself mired in further difficulties. The Allies had thought that they were liberating the Low Countries but some preferred their previous masters, the French, who at least were Catholic, and some wanted independence from all powers, while others of his fellow officers wanted out of the war altogether. Far from the battle lines he enjoys, Jack Steel is sent undercover to deal with the traitors and identify the loyal locals who would let British advance troops into the besieged city—a dangerous mission made deadly by an old enemy of his and the brilliant malevolence of the renegade French pirate who is in charge of Ostende.
What Do I Think?
I tried I really tried I had been looking forward to another cracking read from Iain Gale and I didn’t get it!
On the book’s cover it says “if you like Sharpe, Jack Steel is your man”. A smart tactic used by the publishers to induce the fans of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe to go out and buy it, but Iain Gale is no Bernard Cornwell, now don’t get me wrong the Sharpe stories are not without a flaw, however they are a cracking good read. I found Jack Steel a dreary character, and the story itself lacked pace, by the third chapter I had had enough and gave up.
This is a pity as the age in which the Jack Steel stories are set in is a very thrilling one from the point of how England dealt with her enemies and allies in addition to the army and navy, and we don’t have many authors who write about this era.