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The Devil's Own by Garry Douglas Kilworth
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Men's fiction encompasses a lot of ground. Here we look at that time before the American Civil War, nearly the last major altercation to beset Europe before the WWI. The Crimean War.

Our hero has a bit of a far fetched background. Educated as a gentleman, and with claims on his father, he decides to join the ranks. Within the ranks though he acts much more as we expect men of our own generation to act, instead of how men of his times act. Which all his contemporaries in the ranks do act so. We also see our hero fighting against buffoonery in the ranks of officers, instead of those officers who are also fed up with such foolishness, separating our hero from the fools so he can continue to do the work he needs to accomplish.

This was written before Wilcox and his Simon Fonthill where we find a writer a little more deft at weaving the fools to one side and allowing good soldiering to emerge. The author also feels the need to bring in additional POV characters that we may see more of the battle that our hero does not participate in. That we see details through these characters eyes to give us more description and setting, yet they are only with us for a few pages and then gone. Perhaps better would have been to make additional characters that we could follow for the length of the entire book.

In all it satisfies but it could be better and stronger. ( )
  DWWilkin | Jun 8, 2015 |
Crimean war series of to a fair start. Enlisted scion of a military family succeeds in the ranks. Which success generates issues and opportunities in what was hardly England's finest hour. Interesting minor characters keep the pot stirring and the story moving in this first entry. ( )
  jamespurcell | May 29, 2014 |
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First of the colourful exploits of 'Fancy Jack' Crossman; The Crimean War is notoriously one of the most brutal and bloody conflicts of the nineteenth century. In an uneasy allience with the French, the Turks and the Sardinians, British soldiers faced death both on the battlefield from the fierce Cossacks and off it from cholera. Sergeant Jack Crossman, referred to by his admiring comrades as 'Fancy Jack', a tough, shrewd and skilful soldier, is part of the proud 88th regiment, the Connaught Rangers, also known as The Devil's Own. Within the regiment Crossman is picked out to lead a covert operation, well knowing that his success or failure could determine the outcome of the war. Gary Kilworth is a master of the period, and of writing sharp, page-turning military adventure.… (more)

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