2 Sep 2014



SOURCE: The second book received for review from the author. You can see my review of Three Kings - One Throne here.

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: Aaron Mew is a seventeen year-old apprentice blacksmith living in a small Hampshire village, in the late eighteenth century. His life is simple yet secure, until the day when he volunteers to take the place of his father on an errand for the squire. The country boy is wrenched from the environment in which he grew up and thrust into a world of ruffians, drunks, criminals and disgraced professionals - the army of George III. An army desperately short of men, but with the huge ambition to quell the rebellion in America and to retain the country under British rule

After relentless training, Aaron's regiment, the 62nd Regiment of Foot, is posted to Canada. There, fighting side by side with Indian braves and German allies, the boy soldier becomes a hardened warrior.

The Wessex Turncoat tells the story, based on fact, of a doomed army and a regiment which is decimated, mainly because of the vanity and intransigence of an English general.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: The blacksmith's young apprentice had prepared all the tools in anticipation of the arrival of the mare and now had a few moments to dream as he waited behind the bellows.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 56}: "The gaol is overfull and they have been given a choice - a crowded rat-ridden riverside prison or the army." He laughed and continued, "Most of the King's army is made up of convicts, debtors, lunatics and Irishmen."

MY THOUGHTS: An event in history I knew relatively little about but my appetite has certainly been whetted by The Wessex Turncoat.

From Hampshire, England, to Hampshire, USA, this is the story of Aaron, an apprentice blacksmith, who having 'taken the King's shilling' and survived 'training' at the hands of the bully that is Serjeant Granville finds himself a somewhat reluctant soldier in King George III's 62nd Regiment of Foot.

Based on historical fact, this is a fascinating read packed full of the minutest historical detail. 

Whilst books with so much attention to detail can seem a little text bookish in this instance the authors use of powerful narrative and descriptions really does bring to life the events, the people, the sights and smells of those conscripted into this doomed army in such a way as to make it a compelling read, Aaron and his fellow soldiers, a motley crew of the educated, ruffians and even felons, a remarkable cast of characters.


Kelly said...

Ah, not part of a series, but just another from the same author.

I think his first book you reviewed appeals to me more, but I would probably find this one enjoyable as well. It's not a time period I often choose, so maybe I should make the effort.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I think the style of Micheal's writing is a little too text bookish for me and he also doesn't really write about periods in history which particularly interest me.

So, as good as your reviews are, I think I shall pass on this one, but I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

Enjoy the rest of your week,


Sherry Ellis said...

That's not a book I probably would have picked up, but after reading your review, it sounds like it would be a good read.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Probably a bit too text bookish for me, but I know someone who LOVES that kind of narrative. So I think I'll have to recommend it. Brilly review!

Literary Feline said...

It takes a gifted author to be able to be so detailed and yet also make the text so compelling. This sounds like a great read.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

that's great the story didn't read like a text book!! :)

Brian Joseph said...

I am somewhat of an American Revolution geek so this one sounds very appealing.

You noted the brutal training that was covered in the plot. That sees to have been the norm for the British foot soldier of that era.

Melliane said...

Oh it must be nice to have a book written like that. I didn't know this one but it's true it's different from what I usually read.

Heather said...

sounds good. I like historical fiction, heavy on the fact.