The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.
The Queen’s Colonial is the first in Australian author, Peter Watt’s new series featuring Captain Ian Steele, commander in the British Army, in the mid 1800s.
The story starts in Sydney in 1845, where Ian Steele, is supporting his frail and widowed mother, while dreaming of how much he yearns to live a life in uniform, in Queen Victoria’s army.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Second Lieutenant Sam Forbes, a gentle soul and a poet, from a wealthy and aristocratic, but treacherous, English family, wants nothing more than to leave the army, and live a more gentle life. Due to his family and his upbringing, he knows that is not likely to ever happen.
Later, these two men happen to meet in Sydney, and realise there is a striking likeness to their appearance. They very quickly devise a plan for Ian to take Sam’s identity and go to England, convince the family that he is their son that they haven’t seen for many years, and accept a commission into the British Army, who are about to face the Russians in battle.
At first I thought the story line about the swap of identities was ridiculous and unbelievable, but the author quickly convinced me that it made sense and it would work.
I have a love of history and war history, so this book was a pleasure for me to read. Even though The Queen’s Colonial is a novel, Watt has based it on thoroughly researched archival information. The battle scenes are taken from the actual eye witness reports of a newspaper journalist who posted war zone reports from the battle front via telegraph. These reports titled Reports From The Crimea were published frequently in The Times of London.
This is the first of Peter Watt’s books that I’ve read, and it seems that I’ve found a new favourite author. I will be watching out for the second book in this series. I love the title, The Queen’s Colonial and very much look forward to the title chosen for the second book in the series. The book is beautifully presented with extremely beautiful artwork on the front cover.
My Rating: 4.5 star
About The Author
Peter has been a soldier, articled clerk to a solicitor, prawn trawler deckhand, builder’s labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. He has lived and worked with Aborigines, Islanders, Vietnamese and Papua New Guineans and speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin. He now lives at Maclean, on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire service, and is interested in fishing and the vast opens spaces of outback Queensland. – Pan Macmillan
Published in 2018 by Pan MacMillan. Paperback 396 pages, including author notes.
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