Paul Fraser Collard
(1973 – )
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.
The Last Legionnaire (2016)
(The Forgotten Son)
(The fifth book in the Jack Lark series)
After years fighting for Queen and country, and for his own survival, Jack Lark finds his way back to his mother’s gin palace. But life as a soldier has changed him almost beyond recognition, and London is no longer the city he remembers.
In a desperate moment, he makes a mistake that leads him back to where he swore he’d never return – the battlefield…
Paul Collard’s Jack Lark series has joined a celebrated few that are on my “drop what ever you are reading and read his new book now” list. Which is exactly what i did when i got my hands on The Last Legionnaire.
The books have always had comparisons to Bernard Cornwell’s iconic character Sharpe, and with good reason, both are the same character from the gutter making their way in an officers world, only their routes there differ, Sharpe by battering his way to the top, Jack Lark through lies, fraud and skill and courage. They both also have that fast flowing action packed writing style that keeps you turning the next page through to the early hours of the morning.
In this latest book Jack finally returns home to London and his mothers gin palace, bringing with him all his dark emotional baggage. Hi travels from the Crimea to Delhi, with so many battles and so much death in between, Jack is a man who’s soul is battered and scarred, he needs to come home to heal, to return to the old familiarity of the rough London streets.
Jacks home-coming is not at all that he wanted, this includes the return to his life of the Intelligence Major Ballard and his bodyguard Palmer. Jack is soon back off to war to use his skills of lies deception and courage to help in a new mission. The theater is Europe, Jack marches with the French against the Austrians, and while many of the troop maneuvers are similar to ones that Sharpe may remember the ordnance isn’t. This is the start of a more modern war, rifled cannon, creating death on a new scale.
I powered through this latest book from Paul Collard, and when i finished i summarised the book immediatly, i wanted the instant impact to be the end line of my review: “harrowing and shockingly dark, this book is utterly emotionally mind numbing. Stunning work.”
I now have three of my top books for the year (including this one), choosing the best of 2016 is going to be almost impossible at this rate.
0.5. Rogue (2014)
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
4. The Lone Warrior (2015)
5. The Last Legionnaire (2016)
aka The Forgotten Son