The Queen of the Citadels
(The King’s Germans, Book 3)
By Dominic Fielder
Publication Date: 26th August 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 550 Pages
Genre: Historical Military Fiction
October 1793: The French border.
Dunkirk was a disaster for the Duke of York’s army. The French, sensing victory before the winter, launch attacks along the length of the border. Menen is captured and the French now hold the whip hand. Nieuport and Ostend are threatened, and Sebastian Krombach finds himself involved in a desperate plan to stop the Black Lions as they spearhead the French advance. Werner Brandt and the men of 2nd Battalion race to Menen to counterattack and rescue Erich von Bomm and the Grenadiers, whilst von Bomm struggles to save himself from his infatuation with a mysterious French vivandière.
Meanwhile, dark and brooding, the citadel of Lille dominates the border. The Queen of the Citadels has never been captured by force. The allies must now keep Menen, which guards Flanders, and seize Lille to open the road to Paris. All of this must be done under the watchful eyes of a spy in the Austrian camp. Juliette of Marboré is fighting her own secret war to free Julian Beauvais, languishing in the Conciergerie prison, and waiting for his appointment with the guillotine, as the Terror rages in Paris.
“The fate of twenty thousand redcoats hung in the balance…”
Disaster and death have plagued the Duke of York’s Army, and now the French smell victory, but this war is far from over...
Dominic Fielder has presented his readers with another enthralling edition to the King’s Germans series. Having read the first two books it was with eager anticipation that I began to read The Queen of the Citadels (King’s Germans, Book 3). It was an absolute pleasure to be back with these characters that had made the previous two books so unputdownable. Fielder immediately throws his readers back into the action and I sat down prepared for another rollercoaster of a ride.
This novel was vastly entertaining, from beginning to end. So much happens in this story that I found it incredibly difficult to put down and, in fact, I stayed up late into the night so that I could finish it. This novel is an impressive work of not only fiction but historical scholarship. It is one of those books that once read is next to impossible to forget.
Fielder has a gift for creating flawed characters, even those who are so exceedingly likeable have their darker sides. Juliette, Countess of Marboré has been one of my favourite characters throughout this series, and she continued to hold my fascination in this novel. Likewise, Beauvais’ desperate plight also brought to this story insight into just how much the human spirit can endure.
A recurring theme in this novel is the universal disregard for human life. The battle-weary soldiers, in their faded lobster reds, are faced with two choices. They fight and live, or they give up and die. War turns men into monsters as the desperate desire to survive overshadows morality. Before a body has had a chance to settle in death it is violated, stripped of belongings with clothes and boots being much sought after items, but there is also an element of greed, as valuables are taken, stolen, as well. This total disregard for human life is very primal, very cold. It has a survival of the strongest mentality about it, but it also has to be read in context. This was war. Reading about such deplorable acts is a very harrowing experience, especially when Fielder has written a book that does not whitewash over the horrors. It is a gritty story about a horrendous war, and unfortunately, that was exactly what it was like. It was not like a London parade, war was ugly, it was cruel and it was dreadful.
In the French camp the dying sing their own unharmonious requiem in the makeshift medical camps where overworked surgeons are doing their utmost to save lives. These surgeons, with their aprons and hands covered in blood, look more like butchers, which paints a very sobering picture. This is made more so by Juliette’s presence, especially when she gives comfort to a young man who dies with courage that belayed his years.
The relationship between British and Prussian forces has also been explored in all of its exquisite detail. The mistrust, the different way both sides do everything, was fascinating. Likewise, we also witness the French sides. This gives the story a very rounded account and I enjoyed visiting both sides.
There is a huge cast of characters in this novel and because of this, The Queen of the Citadels (King’s Germans, Book 3) is not a standalone novel. In addition to this, the fast-paced narrative, and the short scenes, would make this story quite confusing if you have not read the previous books. To understand this story it is imperative that you start with Book 1.
The Queen of the Citadels (King’s Germans, Book 3) by Dominic Fielder is a novel of exceptional scholarship and I cannot wait to get my hands on Book 4 of this series.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde
The Coffee Pot Book Club
This novel is available for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription
Dominic Fielder has had careers in retail and the private education sector and is currently working as a secondary school Maths teacher. He has a First-class honours degree in history and a lifetime’s interest in the hobby of wargaming. The King's Germans series is a project that grew out of this passion He currently juggles writing and research around a crowded work and family life.
Whilst self-published he is very grateful for an excellent support team. The Black Lions of Flanders (set in 1793) is the first in the King's Germans' series, which will follow an array of characters through to the final book in Waterloo. He lives just outside of Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor. where he enjoys walking on the moors and the occasional horse-riding excursion as both writing inspiration and relaxation.
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See you on your next coffee break!
Mary Anne xxx