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Walls of Jericho by Jonathan Hopkins
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Walls of Jericho

by Jonathan Hopkins

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Hopkins has set out to tell a tale that is epic in scope.

The Napoleonic Wars were perhaps the first World War since Alexander set out on his conquests, or the Mongols began their generational devouring of the world. Certainly since the Seven Years War.

Here Hopkins takes us through, often with great attention to detail, the life of a young ensign and lieutenant in a cavalry regiment about to join with Arthur Wellesley and start fighting the French. It also deals with this heroes great friend, a natural with horses, but the son of a blacksmith.

Society would keep such a person away from the Ton, but Hopkins seems to want our hero to not recognize the class society of the times, or thinks that there can be two heroes that can rise up and that we can follow.

That is one thing that makes the telling difficult. Another is that we dwell a great deal on what happens before the action of war. There are many books where that backstory is told effectively, but here a few too many pages are devoted to the development of the heroes friendship and interaction with each other.

Should getting through that very long beginning you arrive at Portugal, then the pace picks up. Perhaps the interlude amongst the Portugeese and the intrigue that takes place is unnecessary, but we get into the battle and here we have a feel for combat that brings an even better feeling than we ever had with Cornwell's Sharpe. Their the sparseness of the 95th and Sharpe's interactions as he rose through the ranks are no comparison to Hopkins sweeping portrayal of the battlefield. ( )
  DWWilkin | Jan 23, 2013 |
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