Welcome to James Keane – card sharp and ladies’ man – and one of the finest soldiers of Wellington’s army. Keane – hot-tempered, a maverick, never quite accepted by his fellow officers – is in trouble for killing his man in a duel: An activity forbidden by Wellington.
To avoid court martial, he takes on an unwelcome assignment: to form an ill-assorted bunch of reprobates into an elite unit capable of operating behind the lines. A nineteenth-century Dirty Dozen. Keane’s Company is the first novel featuring James Keane and his band, whose adventures will continue in a series following the Peninsular War.
©2013 Iain Gale (P)2014 WF Howes Ltd
"Richard Sharpe would be delighted to have James Keane on his side! Iain Gale's creation is a wonderfully imaginative addition to the fascinating tales of Britain's defiance of Bonaparte" (Bernard Cornwell)
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I *really* liked the premise of this book when I read the "blurb", I mean who doesn't love a maverick hot headed card sharp leading a bunch of misfits?
In the end though i did leave slightly disappointed. I will try the second book in the series to see how it develops because I did enjoy it but the author never really seemed to develop his characters to the level I thought they deserved. The battle scenes were decent though and the quality narration kept my attention throughout.
I can't strongly recommend this but equally it was worth listening to. The problem is that with the likes of Cornwell lurking around every corner books like this in the genre have to be pretty special to get a lot of attention. I don't think Iain Gale quite managed that in this volume but he did come up with an interesting concept that could be developed.
I have sight problems so yes.
It obviously has to be compared to the Sharpe series and it compares well.
There are not many books I would like to listen to in one sitting.
"Not Overly Keane..."
A decent enough attempt to build on Bernard Cornwall's Sharpe's series however it failed to live up the expectations.
The premise for the story sounded good at the start and the narrator did a good job on maintaining interested however the biggest issue I had was that there were no plot twists at all! Everything that happened was extremely predictable and some sub-plots which at the beginning seemed like they would be a major point of the story were finished off rather to quickly and neatly for my liking.
It almost seemed like the central character had a charmed life and it never felt like a situation had arisen where he was in danger or having to rise to much of a challenge.
I managed to listen to the book until the end but it seemed to end with a rush like the author had suddenly realised the book was nearly finished and he had unanswered plots to resolve. A decent enough book for someone with an interest in the era who doesn't want to be taxed mentally or concentrate hard to keep up with the plot!
Not a bad story I just felt I'd been here before to some extent due to being a fan of Richard Sharpe. Nice twist though is that Keane is an exploring officer so it does give you another slant to the history of the Peninsula war. Will definitely give the next one a go to see how the characters develop and where they end up.
"Not Sharpe, but very good anyway"
Other reviews seem to have hated this for no being a Sharpe book. I love the Sharpe books and in all honesty I do I prefer them, but this is good in it's own right. The writing is not as slick as Cornwell and I thought that the characters need a bit of fleshing out but then it was clearly designed to be part of a series so I suspect that this will come as the books progress.
Basically, we've got a likeable but flawed, predictably indestructible lead character, a few lovable rouges in support, a villain, a girl and a couple of battles all set in the peninsular war. If you don't like that concept, this is not for you, if you do, I'd give it a try, I will certainly be checking out the sequel.
As an aside, I very much enjoyed the historical note at the end detailing where the truth in the story was and who we might choose to admire for similar exploits, taking the time to set the political background of the period.
"great story !"
Very well told. easy to follow which is essential in an audio book when you have to listen in set periods. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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