Saturday 23 February 2019

#BookReview — The King of Dunkirk: The King’s Germans Book #2, by Dominic Fielder #Military #HistoricalFiction @Kings_Germans

The King of Dunkirk
The King’s Germans Book #2
By Dominic Fielder

May 1793: The French border.

Valenciennes, Paris then home! Every common soldier knows the popular 
refrain so why can’t the commanders see sense? 

The protracted siege of Valenciennes exposes the mistrust between the 
allies. National interests triumph over military logic. The King’s Germans 
find themselves marching north to the coast, not east to Paris. Dunkirk has 
become a royal prize, an open secret smuggled to the French, who set a trap 
for the Duke of York’s army. 

Lieutenant Erich von Bomm and Captain Werner Brandt find themselves in 
the thick of the action as the 14th Nationals, the Black Lions, seek their 
revenge. In the chaos of battle, Sebastian Krombach, working alongside 
Major Trevethan, the engineer tasked with capturing Dunkirk, must make a 
dreadful choice: to guide a battalion of Foot Guards to safety across the 
Great Moor or carry a message that might save the life of a friend. 

The King’s Germans and the Black Lions do battle to determine who shall 

be crowned the King of Dunkirk.

“Now we have an Admiral with no fleet to keep good company with the artillery officer with no guns.”

Together they may stand but united they are not. As the smoke settled over Valenciennes and voices rang out in praise of the Duke of York, one thing became abundantly clear, this war was nothing more than a complicated game of politics and seemingly selfish national interest. If the Allies cannot overcome their differences and work towards defeating the French then what use was a victory? It made a mockery of the lives sacrificed by the soldiers who had fought for their king and their respective countries.

This war was nothing but a bureaucratic headache, and every soldiers' worst nightmare. How can they fight, how can they win, when desperately needed supplies were so late in coming? For the common soldier, the army was swiftly becoming something that resembled a farce. But who were they to question their superiors? 

Major Stephen Trevethan, an engineer adviser to the Duke of York, is in need of maps. Lots of maps. For how can a successful campaign be planned without them? But his plea for a skilled cartographer goes unanswered. It is a dire situation and one that he must resolve, for lives depend upon it.

Sergeant Gauner sees nothing special in Sebastian Krombach, a soldier of the 2nd Battalion of the 10th Hanoverian Regiment. But by chance, Major Trevethan has seen one of Kronbach’s sketches. Whether Sergeant Gauner likes it or not, Trevethan will borrow Kronbach — the war demands it, and Trevethan commands it.

Kronbach now finds himself under Major Trevethan’s command, but as he plays the game of cat and mouse with the enemy as he maps their defences, he cannot help but wish he was back with his friends in the regiment. If only they knew the danger Kronbach was in everyday, then they would not be so eager to listen to Sergeant Gauner as he criticises his absence.

From the siege of Valenciennes to the battle on the beaches of Dunkirk, The King of Dunkirk: The King’s Germans Book #2, by Dominic Fielder is the suspenseful military tale about the war between the First Coalition and the French First Republic.

Well, Fielder has done it again. His brilliantly executed narrative complimented by an impressive historical backdrop makes for compulsive reading. This book is full of non-stop military action, as well as very colourful and gripping characterisation. I thought the portrayal of Sebastian Krombach was sublime. Here is a regular soldier whose skill is by chance discovered by Major Treventhan. Krombach’s humility and his respect for the Major make Krombach one of those characters who you really root for. I wanted him to have a good war — if, there is such a thing. Likewise, the Cornish Major Trevethan continued to fascinate.

Like before, with book #1 of the King’s Germans, Fielder shows the war from both sides. I thought the portrayal of Maurice Caillat, a stable boy, turned investigator, was magnificent. At times, he seemed completely out of his depth, but he shows remarkable courage in the face of an impossible situation. His life, like that of Captain Julien Beauvais of the 3rd Dragoons, is not assured.

The attention to historical detail has to be commended. Fielder writes with a great deal of elegance and authority. He skilfully maps the disorganised chaos of the Allies — Admiral Macbride really did arrive without any ships, and the British did not possess the siege artillery that they needed to lay siege. Fielder has captured the utter frustration of the officers who were trying to win this war without the means to do so. In fact, Fielder’s prose is so real in the telling that I fancied I could hear the sound of the cavalry charging into battle, the clash of the bayonets, and, of course, the deafening reverberation of the field artillery and the rifles as they fired upon the enemy. His observation of everyday detail is also worthy of note — the menace of the flies, the terrible heat of the day, the desperate need of the soldiers for new boots… Fielder has a real eye for knowing what makes history worth reading while staying true to the documented history, as well as what captures his readers’ attention. 

If you are looking for your next action-packed historical military series, then this is it. The King of Dunkirk: The King’s Germans Book #2 will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who loves Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling Sharp series.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Dominic Fielder

Dominic Fielder (1968-present) was born in Plymouth to parents of families from Roman Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. Then such things mattered to others but not to a first-born son who knew only love and a stable happy family. Two brothers made for a warm and somewhat idyllic childhood. He was bright but a disengaged student preferring instead to spend time with his dad at the family book business (the Bookstall) where a love of literacy flourished. Having finished sixth-form at Devonport High School for Boys, he passed opportunities to join first, the Tank Regiment, then the Royal Air Force, settling instead on a career in banking. Three years later, fed up with counting other people’s money, he travelled to Australia for a year, working for a time in the Outback and thoroughly enjoying life!

On returning to the UK, he drifted into work at his family’s Comic Shop (Kathies Comics). Despite fifteen years of hard work, the business failed and so did his marriage. Working a series of odd jobs, with odd hours, he finished a degree course in History, gaining a First and drifted into the world of education. Now he divides his time unequally between private tuition, running the family book business which has survived for sixty years and writing. More important than all of these, is spending time with his son. With what free time he has, he enjoys cycling, walking and horse-riding on the moors that surround his home in Mary Tavy, Devon.

His passion and interest for as many years as he can care to remember has been ‘little model soldiers’, painting them, researching facts about the regiments and playing wargames with them. For a dozen years or more, Dominic ran a series of ‘Megagames’ where people would arrive from all corners of the globe to game out World War Two scenarios for a week. Such events needed a strong narrative and his first attempts at writing were contained within the pre-game intelligence and the post-action reports. His writing project, ‘The King’s Germans’ is a few steps further down that road. For the person who drifted from one task to another, it’s a commitment to write twenty-two years of the history of Hanoverian soldiers in the service of King George III.    

Connect with Dominic on:  Facebook • Twitter.

1 comment:

See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx