Spain 1808. A remarkable debut novel, Napoleon’s Blackguards introduces Captain James Ryan - brutally courageous, but haunted by the horrors of war - wanted by the British for his part in the 1798 Irish Rebellion, he escapes to France and joins Napoleon’s Irish Legion. The Irish unit’s reputation as the most hard-fighting and ill-disciplined unit in the French Army has been hard-earned, for they comprise a motley crew of blackguards, deserters, and others escaping the long hand of the law, all led by a band of former Irish rebels.
Ryan’s Irish battalion deployed to Spain during the Peninsular War, a war that drew England into the conflict in ousting the invading French from the Iberian Peninsula. When the British army arrives in Spain they are faced with a much larger French force led by Napoleon himself, and forced to retreat, fight a desperate rear guard action to reach Corunna, to ship them, Dunkirk-style back to England.
An albino Captain Darkford of the 4th Light Dragoons, who murdered Ryan’s family, is among them. Ryan and his band of renegades play their favorite Irish ballads, as they pursue the evil Darkford. Ryan must have his revenge; will he have time to catch his implacable enemy before the British slip away?
A cracking adventure story, meticulously researched and based on real events from the author of Irish Brigade’s Abroad, from the Wild Geese to the Napoleonic Wars (2013)
Napoleon’s Blackguards - poised to become one of the great war novels of the period - is a must-read for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow. The book drips with the horrors of war, and contains, perhaps the most vivid and unflinchingly graphic depictions of war’s bloody effects written during the Napoleonic Wars.