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Introducing George Markham, lately of the 65th Regiment of Foot, now Lieutenant of Marines on His Britannic Majesty’s frigate Hebe. Irishman, papist, reputed coward; he is a man with something to prove.
As the winter of 1793 comes to the Mediterranean coast of France, so too does the chill wind of the Revolutionary terror. When the Hebe is sent to help the Bourbon city of Toulon, Markham will have to prove he is a worthy officer of Marines…or die in the attempt.
This series written by Tom Connery (a pen name for David Donachie) is a bit different from the usual Royal Navy stories of the 1793 French-English Wars. Instead of a story about a sailor this series is about a Royal Marine.
Our protagonist is Lieutenant George Markham. Connery has created our hero as a classic rogue. Markham has previously served in the Russian Army as a mercenary officer. He served in the British Army in the American Revolution. He is a bastard, Irish, a papist and a womanizer, possibly a coward. He is in a platoon of misfits from the British Army Regiment, the 65th foot. Somehow he is seconded to the Royal Marines.
As this is book one in the series Connery spends time building his characters. Markham has just been made –by “accident” a commander of a marine platoon assigned to HMS Hebe, a frigate. What makes it interesting is he hasn’t a clue what to do.
The action takes place in Toulon, which is in the hands of the Bourbon French and the English against the Jacobins. (Read “Awkward Commission” by David Donachie to learn how the English and Bourbon’s obtained control of Toulon)
The author has created a multi-dimensional main character and interesting relationships to the various other characters. As with other Donachie leading characters Markham speaks French. The plot is quite rich with spies, con-artists, arrogant officers, false Dauphin, romance and betrayal. The story also contains lots of swashbuckling action. A note of historical interest the 65th foot was not at the battle of Toulon.
I believe this may prove to be a promising start to a new series. Tom Connery’s (David Donachie) writing style is easy to read and the plot line is well laid out. If you enjoy nautical historical fiction of the 18th century era, I highly recommend this book. Gerry O’Brien narrates the book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about A Shred of Honour?
I enjoyed all of the characters the author put the full range of characters in the story of course Lt George Markim was the most interesting
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Shred of Honour?
I have read many books on the period and this was interesting by showing how the British were betrayed by their allies
Which character – as performed by Gerry O'Brien – was your favorite?
I enjoy his style of story telling and the important parts are explained to give the reader some idea of what is going on
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
I must admit I didn't find anything wrong with Mr O'Brien and his reading in fact I think he did a great job
Any additional comments?
I am now reading the next one and hope there is a third
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I thought I had a compatriot to Bernard Cornwell's famous Rifleman. Instead I got a book with a decent promise but poorly executed. Character development is not very good. And the interaction between characters is hardly shown at all. I call this one a waste of a credit.
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Somewhat. Not a bad storyteller actually, but very confusing with some of the terminology of the day. It's not clear if the author even really understands the distinction between "Bullocks" and "Lobster Backs."
If you’ve listened to books by David Donachie before, how does this one compare?
Would you listen to another book narrated by Gerry O'Brien?
Do you think A Shred of Honour needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Any additional comments?
Book was okay, but didn't seem to know where it wanted to go.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful