Dublin, 1899. On a foul night in a troubled city, lawyer Joseph Radcliffe watches the execution of a young Irish rebel. Radcliffe, together with his black American comrade Benjamin Pierce, has made a living defending the toughest cases in Dublin, but is haunted by the spectre of his defeats, the loss of his wife and child and his difficult relationship with his surviving son, Edward. While Ireland smoulders with rebellion, war breaks out in South Africa and when, after an argument with his father, Edward runs away to join the Irish forces fighting there, Radcliffe, accompanied by Pierce, sets out to find him and bring him home.
South Africa, 1900. Both Radcliffe and Pierce have known war. Former cavalrymen in the US army, they have seen enough killing to last them a lifetime. But eight hundred miles north of Cape Town, amid the trackless veld, they experience the bloody brutality of a conflict that the British generals are shocked to discover they are losing. Under fire from Boer snipers and artillery, distrusted by the British forces, the two old soldiers will find their survival skills tested to the hilt as they search for the missing boy in this epic tale of heroism and treachery, love and loyalty.
PRAISE FOR DAVID GILMAN:
''Gilman is a master author. His books are meticulously researched and historically accurate whilst at the same time being thrilling and suspenseful, he is an author in the same class as Bernard Cornwell, and if you like that author's books, then you will be delighted with this author' Army Rumour Service.
''Once again Mr Gilman demonstrates why he's a superlative talent in his field and why historical fiction fans like me will continue to hang onto his every breath-taking, shock-ridden, plot-twisting word' The Book Bag.
''Takes no hostages, this fast-paced story never lets up' Independent.
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Redcap0006
How is the Lock Down where you are located treating you.....
I am sure that there is a lot of work being done on collections and also a lot of reading.....
The last post in this thread was posted 1 year and 4 months ago so I thought I would open it up again..... There is a thread on another forum right now that is asking if you have any Medals in your collections that go with people mentioned or associated with books..... This made me dig out an older book again and re-read it.....
I would like to add this one.....
In it there are mentions of many real life Canadian Hero's from the Boer and First World War including John D. McCrae author of In Flanders Fields and of course a number of fictional characters..... The author even took a trip and tour of South Africa before he wrote the book ...….
The Great Karoo by Fred Stenson.
The Great Karoo begins in 1899, as the British are trying to wrest control of the riches of South Africa from the Boers, the Dutch farmers who claimed the land. The Boers have turned out to be more resilient than expected, so the British have sent a call to arms to their colonies — and an a great number of men from the Canadian prairies answer the call and join the Canadian Mounted Rifles: a unit in which they can use their own beloved horses. They assume their horses will be able to handle the desert terrain of the Great Karoo as readily as the plains of their homeland. Frank Adams, a cowboy from Pincher Creek, joins the Rifles, along with other young men from the ranches and towns nearby — a mix of cowboys and mounted policeman, who, for whatever reason, feel a desire to fight for the Empire in this far-off war.
Against a landscape of extremes, Frank forms intense bonds with Ovide Smith, a French cowboy who proves to be a reluctant soldier, and Jefferson Davis, the nephew of a prominent Blood Indian chief, who is determined to prove himself in a “white man’s war.” As the young Canadians engage in battle with an entrenched and wily enemy, they are forced to realize the bounds of their own loyalty and courage, and confront the arrogance and indifference of those who have led them into conflict. For Frank, disillusionment comes quickly, and his allegiance to those from the Distict of Alberta, soon displaces any sense of patriotism to Canada or Britain, or belief that he’s fighting for a just cause.
The events of the novel follow the trajectory of the war. The British strategy of burning Boer farms, destroying herds, and moving Boer families into camps weakens the Boer rebels, but they refuse to give up. The thousands of Boer women and children who die in the camp make the war ever more unpopular among liberals in Britain. (In fact, this conflict marked the first use of the term “concentration camp” in war.) Seeing the ramifications of such short-sighted military decisions, and how they affect what happens to Frank and the other Canadians, is crucial to depicting the reality of the Boer War. By focusing on the experiences of a small group of men from southern Alberta, Fred Stenson brings the reality of what it would have been like to be a soldier in this brutal war to vivid life.
The Great Karoo is a deeply satisfying novel, marked by the complexities of its plot, the subtleties of its relationships, and the scale of its terrain. Exhilarating and gruesome by turns, it explores with passion and insight the lasting warmth of friendship and the legacy of devastation occasioned by war.
Military Historical Society
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, azyeoman
I found a copy of Byron Farwell's 'The Great Boer War' in a local used book shop today, but won't be starting on it yet, as I've only just begun to read 'In The Thick Of It: Medway Men and Women in the Boer War 1899-1902' by Bruce Aubry and Brian Joyce (published 2006). It's basically a resume of aspects of the war, intercut with letters, and extracts of letters, which appeared in Chatham, Kent, newspapers, written by 43 men and one woman (a journalist). The only illustrations are a map and eleven of Frank Stewart's drawings. I always like to read war-related letters home, so this book is up my street.
Everson's book was the first medal roll I purchased in the late 1990's. It quickly became redundant, because I could neither find nor afford relevant medals. It was only in 2017 that my luck changed and in the last years of my medal collecting and research that the book was constantly near at hand.