In the tradition of Patrick O’Brian’s adventure novels and C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series, A Shred of Honour is an epic of eighteenth-century warfare that introduces Lieutenant George Markham of His Majesty’s Royal Marines.
Irishman, papist, reputed coward: Markham is a man with something to prove. The death of his commander—killed by a lucky French musket ball to the throat—provides him with a chance to lead his men to glory. But it’s not that easy. Markham, a foot soldier by training, is no sailor, and he is suddenly left with a band of surly, disgruntled conscripts under his command. The salty marines aboard the frigate Hebe deride his ignorance and undermine his authority. The soldiers from Markham’s old regiment who have been transferred to the Hebe blame him for the fact that they now must spend their days crammed on a ship.
Worse, as the winter of 1793 comes, Markham and his troublemaking men must face the expansive terror of Revolutionary France. The fighting takes Markham to the city of Toulon, where he makes the acquaintance of a French soldier named Napoleon Bonaparte.
Acclaimed author David Donachie follows Markham through bloody battles, lively seductions, fights with superiors, and run-ins with French spies to offer a stirring tale of derring-do that heats the blood and fires the imagination.
David Donachie was born in Edinburgh in 1944. He has always had an abiding interest in British naval history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as in military history, including ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and the clandestine services during the Second World War. He has more than fifty published novels to his credit, with over a million copies sold. David lives in Deal, the historic English seaport on the border of the English Channel and the North Sea.
The action rises to a grand and bloody climax of fire, murder, and hairbreadth escape.
The plot complications are worthy of Baroness Orczy or either Dumas. . . . There is plenty of swashbuckling action and gory detail.
Swashbuckling novels have a long history, from The Three Musketeers through Raiders of the Lost Ark. . . . A Shred of Honour is a worthy entry in the field. . . . [Donachie’s] attention to historical detail is commendable and adds to the excitement, making Markham himself a memorable character.
A fine addition to the currently popular historical-adventure genre.
The best since the Hornblower series if you like salty seadog tales.
You can smell the salt water and gunpowder.
Readers of the Horatio Hornblower or Patrick O’Brian sea stories will enjoy another of [Donachie’s] rousing Markham of the Marines series.
Like Bernard Cornwell and his celebrated hero Sharpe, [Donachie] has found a happy hunting ground—and he even dares to introduce Napoleon and Nelson as supporting players to his hero.
This swashbuckling tale . . . moves at a cracking pace, alternating between hard-fought battles, political intrigue and acts of treachery. . . . The most fascinating aspect of the book is detailed insight into the late-eighteenth-century battle strategies.
Markham has all the flawed genius of his literary ancestors and his success in action at the siege of Toulon seems likely to propel him to further adventures. . . A good read.
Excellent book for those armchair sailors who like nothing better than reading about the blood and thunder action days afloat in Nelson’s navy. . . . First-rate action.
Markham has style, panache, quick wits and a talent for violence—what more could you ask of a historical man of action?