Paul’s love of military history started at an early age. A childhood spent watching films like Waterloo and Zulu whilst reading Sharpe, Flashman and the occasional Commando comic, gave him a desire to know more of the men who fought in the great wars of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. At school, Paul was determined to become an officer in the British army and he succeeded in wining an Army Scholarship. However, Paul chose to give up his boyhood ambition and instead went into the finance industry. Paul stills works in the City, and lives with his wife and three children in Kent.
A riveting tale of battle and adventure in a brutal land, where loyalty and courage are constantly challenged and the enemy is never far away. Jack Lark barely survived the Battle of the Alma. As the brutal fight raged, he discovered the true duty that came with the officer’s commission he’d taken. In hospital, wounded, and with his stolen life left lying on the battlefield, he grasps a chance to prove himself a leader once more. Poor Captain Danbury is dead, but Jack will travel to his new regiment in India, under his name. Jack soon finds more enemies, but this time they’re on his own side. Exposed as a fraud, he’s rescued by the chaplain’s beautiful daughter, who has her own reasons to escape. They seek desperate refuge with the Maharajah of Sawadh, the charismatic leader whom the British Army must subdue. He sees Jack as a curiosity, but recognises a fellow military mind. In return for his safety, Jack must train the very army the British may soon have to fight…
Maharajah’s General: Reading this book has been a pleasure, Since book one The Scarlet Thief i have been a fan of Paul Collards writing, he has an engaging style, he writes like able characters. One thing that hamstrung him slightly in book one was book brevity, as a debutante he had been limited to a low page count, and as such the book was edited down, removing, i feel some of the extra depth and flavour of the Crimea and the the books characters.
This doesn’t happen in book 2, I devoured book 2 in a single day, and then broke my normal never return to a book rule and read it again the next day. This is the first book in years i have enjoyed that much that i had to go back and read it again immediately ,(i just have too many books to do this). What we the reader have here is a new Sharpe, its not since i first picked up Sharpe’s Eagle that a single character captured my imagination so totally, this supported by a fast fluid pace of writing, and a vivid portrayal of the Indian country, people, time period, the east India company and as usual the brutal, uncompromising and occasionally morally bankrupt officer corp coupled with the efficiency of the ordinary men of the British army, all this condensed into 336 pages of explosive action, violent emotions, uncompromising unbending discipline and a man with the courage to do what is right.
The impressive thing about this book is that it hooks you in from the first page with realism, i have read in reviews that there is no way a man from the ranks could impersonate an officer, This isn’t as far as i can see a valid point, there are examples of officer impersonation in history, Jack Lark as an orderly was around officers enough to be able to copy their mannerisms etc, so that point for me is covered. His skills as a soldier..well we see him learn most of them on the battle field, and as most officers learned the same hard way, again this is not going to make him stand out. So to any naysayers, “sit back and enjoy the book, stop looking for fault where there is none, just enjoy a bloody good book.” Oh and a very nice fitting nod to the authors love of Zulu with the use of regiment and last ditch battle (loved it, as its one of my favorite films).
The spirit of Sharpe lives again in another time, in another war, in the guise of Jack Lark, buy the books and enjoy the adventures. I hope the publisher have the sense to get book 3 underway quick smart.
Very Highly recommended
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)