THE ‘untold’ NAPOLEONIC WARS
Volume 3 of the Brandt Family Chronicles
By Oliver Fairfax
An Atlantic crossing in winter and an encounter with the U.S.S. Constitution open Paul Brandt’s third adventure in the Brandt Family Chronicles, set in 1813.
Bonaparte’s army of half a million French soldiers lies frozen beside the road from Moscow. His cavalry has been eaten and the cannon abandoned. Allied troops press the French Emperor’s retreat towards Paris, but ‘The Corsican Runt’, to give Napoleon the Tsar’s nickname for him, raises a new army of a quarter of a million eager and believing schoolboys to attack again.
In Berlin, a French information agent, an American diplomat, Prussian strategists and the Russian Tsar stir a whirlwind that sweeps Paul Brandt to Regency London where he is plunged into its unseemly depths. There, spies and card-sharps, blackmailers and baby-farmers, perverts and tricksters thrive, to say nothing about the lawyers.
And, never to be ignored, are the politicians! Paul has forgotten a family shibboleth: ‘if the English help you, you will pay for it.’ Paul has been helping himself, very freely too, and the English know it. If he escapes the drooling jaws of retribution it will only be because he is alert and thinking.
But first, sweet revenge is indicated, and even that entwines him in deeper mystery and dimensions of intrigue he would do well to stay away from, according to the Prime Minister. But it is already too late to avoid serious consequences.
An American raider is at large in the English Channel and she is after one of Paul’s cargoes. Double-cross is layered upon double-cross as the English chuckle. One mistake and Paul discovers he is very much on his own as he witnesses the ‘Battle of the Channel’ from the deck of an Apollo Class fifth- rater.
It is an entirely specious engagement that involves a great deal of flame and cannon fire, and Paul’s own impoverishment. He is in the hands of masters of trickery, deception, finesse and the more obscure points of insurance law.
While Paul rues the creaking of the gallows, and digests the bitter sorrel of news that the Allies have suffered further defeats on the Continent, he is given a glimpse, but only a glimpse, of end of the Tsar’s quest as he looks into the eyes of a woman he has never met, but whom he knows intimately.
The price is high and he has so much further to travel to reach journey’s end, if he does.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Oliver Fairfax is a nomad. A Scot by birth, he has wandered from England to Hong Kong and back – twice. He has lived in France and now in New Zealand. He worries that a generation is rising who cannot tell the difference between a citizen and a subject.
He is concerned about the pervasive growth of regulation that cannot be afforded, cannot be complied with, but that seeks to remove free choice. He worries also about political correctness and the suppression of dissonance being two policies that misinform ordinary people’s decision-making processes.
But those irritants aside, life’s great! – and remember, you should never have joined if you can’t take a joke.