Introduction: There's never likely to be a series about French sailors in the Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars, but it is amazing that there have not been more about life in Napoleon's Army, after all they were much busier than the British Army. Howard produced six books at the rate of one a year from 1997 to 2002 but there has been no sign of a seventh book. The first two novels have just been release in omnibus format.
Lausard is an aristo fallen on hard times, in fact at the start of book one he's in gaol awaiting a trip to Madame G for stealing bread. Napoleon, however, is demanding more soldiers to fight for France, so the prisoners are released into the tender care of the army. Lausard and his gaolbird pals become dragoons.
Howard is a slightly stilted writer, though he knows his history back to front. I've never felt the same rapport for Alain Lausard as I feel for Horatio Hornblower or Richard Sharpe. None of the main characters has developed through the series, and I won't cry if no more are published. I have been inspired to read more about the rest of the Napoleonic wars, not just the 'Spanish Ulcer'.
Images courtesy of Time Warner Books.
|Bonaparte's Sons||1997||1797||The campaign in Nth Italy|
Alain Lausard, ex-aristocrat, is in gaol awaiting a trip to the guillotine for stealing bread. Luckily for him France is in dire need of soldiers, so the gaolbirds are conscripted into the army and trained as dragoons.
|Bonaparte's Invaders||1998||1798||The Egyptian Campaign|
Lausard and the rest of his gaolbird troop are part of Napoleon's force crossing the Mediterranean to invade Egypt capturing Malta on the way. In Egypt they fing themselves battling the desert as well as the Egyptians.
|Bonaparte's Conquerors||1999||1799||The Austrian Campaign, Marengo|
With France once again under threat, Napoleon abandons his Egyptian army and heads home to save France. Lausard and his troop are among the few he takes with him. In France they support his bid for power and then follow him over the St Bernard Pass to Napoleon's luckiest victory at Marengo.
|Bonaparte's Warriors||2000||1803-1805||The uneasy Peace of Amiens is drawing to an end, and Lausard and his mates are in camp on the Channel Coast, waiting for the expected order to invade England. Instead they are assigned a top secret mission: a raid into neutral Baden to kidnap the Duc d'Enghien. The Duc's secret trial and execution trigger war, and the dragoons ride across Europe to Ulm and Austerlitz.|
|Bonaparte's Avengers||2001||1806||Prussian campaign, Jena|
The dragoons are having a lovely time in Bavaria, fraternising with the locals and fattening themselves up, until a guards regiment arrive and start beating up the locals. From there it's all downhill on the Jena campaign under a glory-hunting captain.
|Bonaparte's Horsemen||2002||1806-1807||Poland, Eylau|
After Jena the dragoons slowly make their way across Poland to the vicinity of Warsaw (I think) trying to catch Russians. The weather is appalling, the roads are terrible and there is no food to be had. After a pause, during which they are continuously harassed by cossack raiders, Napoleon's troops lunge north to try and catch Bennigsen's Russians. In blinding snow at the small town of Eylau Bennigsen's Russians make a stand.
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Last update 3/12/03