The author is kindly offering an e-format copy of this brilliant book for the draw. Be sure to comment below or on the Facebook page to be in a chance of winning. To be certain of a pleasurable read you can download from Amazon .
A glance at Ezra’s papers showed that he was well thought of by his commander, experienced in woodcraft, and tracking besides. All in all, a very valuable man.
“These must be presented to Captain Hume,” I told him, “but in the meantime, allow me to take the opportunity to welcome you into our fold.”
Ezra gestured with his chin. “Is that your captain - the one trying to find the shore through the wrong end of that telescope?” I nodded and his shoulders slumped dramatically. “Ain’t this just gonna be a bundle o’ laughs?”
When we first met Josiah Stubb his attempts to escape his abusive upbringing in the gutter of St Johns and enter into polite society has been thwarted; not to mention being denied any future with Elizabeth, the love of his life. Small wonder then, that with the encouragement of the perverse Sergeant Stockingsdale, he would take the King’s Shilling and seek solace in the comradeship of the 51st Grenadiers.
The French and Indian Wars are burning apace as France and Britain vie for dominance. Eager to end the threat to their American colonies once and for all, Britain elects to destroy Acadia – French Canada. So it is that General Wolfe takes the French fortress of Louisburg that guards the mouth of the St Lawrence River, the seaway to French Canada. The 51st serve under Wolfe in this undertaking and Private Stubb proves himself as a capable soldier even thwarting an attempt on the general’s life by a desperate Frenchman. Not everything goes to plan however as Josiah’s best friend, Daniel Hawthorn, deserts after killing a bullying officer.
|British Grenadiers at the time of the Siege of Louisburg.|
With Louisburg now taken we catch up with the newly promoted Lieutenant Stubb in Interim.
After a successful campaign the bulk of the forces return to St Johns for some much needed rest and recuperation prior to advancing into Canada proper. But not so all the Grenadiers, for General Wolfe has need of them. With French resistance now centred on Quebec, the British to strangle any economic benefit that they may gain from Acadia and secure the entrance to the continental French America by mopping up any resistance from the various fishing villages along the coast.
But it is a more emotive mission that a company of the 51st is ordered to embark upon. Word reaches the British high command that French commander of irregulars, Lieutenant Francois Lalande, has not only managed to escape Louisburg prior to its fall , but also been seen in the vicinity. Lalande is implicated in the massacre of men, women and children by Indians allied to the French after the surrender of Fort William Henry.
Interim moves us along though different points of view; most notably the main protagonist of course but also that of the deserter Daniel Hawthorn. We are also introduced to the native peoples of Canada– the Micmac Indians, through Madame Allard, a native Canadian who was married to a French Canadian. The Micmac are an Indian nation that has long been allied with France and their warriors are all too eager to win scalps.
The North American forests are a fascinating and particularly savage theatre of the Seven Years War. The forests are claustrophobic and suffocating, each tree may conceal an ambush and Mr Lovatt puts the reader on edge. As the redcoats advance, at any moment a war whoop may signal a savage attack, with the crack of muskets and the swinging of tomahawks. It’s one of those books you daren’t put down, just in case something terrible happens.
Brave warriors the Micmac are, but through the eyes of Madame Allard, also known as Rainbow, we see a people trying to adjust to a new reality and the beginnings of the Canada we now know.
|Micmacs and French traders|
The author, with his unique brand of both humour, creates some astounding characters, each with their own motivation and hidden depths. There is Sergeant Stockingsdale, as warped as ever but still brave and loyal. Lalande is obsessed with saving the Canada he loves but is willing to forget his sense of honour to achieve it. There is Stubb’s immediate superior Captain Hume; a thoroughly unpleasant opponent to the capable Stubb; the lives of his men mere stepping stones on his path to glory, his hatred for the down-at-heel (but popular officer) Stubb is palpable.
Interim this book may be but you wouldn’t know it, as it’s full of action; bloody battles are fought, love is found in a savage land and in the background, a character from Stubb’s past seeks him out. From Louisburg through savage forests the ultimate goal of Quebec beckons and a debt of blood remains to be paid.
Bravo Mr Lovatt, Josiah Stubb is fast becoming one of my favourite literary characters.
About the author
CW Lovatt is the award winning author of the best-selling Charlie Smithers collection, the short story anthology "And Then It Rained," and the critically acclaimed "Josiah Stubb; The Siege of Louisburg." "Interim" is the second book in the Josiah Stubb trilogy.
Rob Bayliss is a reviewer at The Review and is currently writing his own fantasy series. Information on his writing projects can be found at Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow.