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Casca 40: Blitzkreig, Tony Roberts. Follows Casca through the initial campaigns of the Second World War, serving as a tank commander in a panzer division in Poland, Belgium and France. A fairly convincing fictional account of tank warfare, with Casca fighting in northern Poland and Belgium, although bookended with Casca the Nazi apologist, an unwelcome appearance [read full review]
By the Knife, Steve Partridge . A historical novel set largely at sea in the middle of the eighteenth century, following two intertwined lives from their formative years in England, to their repeated encounters across the oceans. Written across a very broad canvas, from the Caribbean to the west coast of Africa, Britain to the Mediterranean, and with a good feel for the naval warfare and general lawlessness of the period. [read full review]
Redeye - Fulda Cold, Bill Fortin. A novel largely set on the East-West German border during the Cold War, following the experiences of an American draftee during his two years of service in the late 1960s.  Feels far more like an autobiography than a novel, with a mix of historical and fictional figures, while the lead character is involved on the edge of a piece of Cold War military diplomacy. [read full review]
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Tiger Command, Bob Carruthers and Sinclair McLay. Translation of a novel originally written by an anonymous German author who almost certainly served in Tiger tanks during the Second World War. Fluently translated, this gives an insight into the attitude of probably quite senior German tank commander, as well as a interesting view of tank operations written by an expert. [read full review]
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Dead Man's Hill, George Peter Algar. Sequel to the Shepherd Lord, this novel follows the life of Lord Henry Clifford during the reign of the first two Tudor monarchs, building up to the crushing defeat of a Scottish army at Flodden in 1513. The episodic story is told against the background of the constant state of tension on the Scottish border, and life on the borders is the main theme of this entertaining novel. [read full review]
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A Splendid Little War, Derek Robinson. The fourth entry in the author's RFC Quartet follows a British squadron fighting in southern Russia during the 'Intervention' of 1919, tracing the activities of a fictional squadron of volunteers fighting for Denikin and against the Bolsheviks. Combines a good grasp of the dark and wild humour of the often short-lived aircrews with a realistic feel for the human cost of the British intervention in a chaotic civil war. [read full review]
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Hornet's Sting, Derek Robinson. Second in the author's RFC Quartet, following a fictional RFC squadron during the harsh fighting of 1917. Characters come and go with brutal frequency, while on the ground the Third Battle of Ypres turns into the muddy fiasco of Passchendaele. The focus of the story is Hornet Squadron itself, and the desperate battles forced upon it by the RFC's policy of offensive flying. The result is a harsh but compelling look at life in the RFC during one of its hardest moments. [read full review]
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War Story, Derek Robinson. First in the author's RFC Quartet. We accompany a brash but inexperienced new pilot as he joins a fictional RFC squadron where he quickly makes himself unpopular and finds his experiences of a combat to be very different from his expectations. Life expectancy for a pilot is short, and characters disappear quite suddenly. The way in which the survivors deal with this stress is the main thrust of the book, and the contrast between the vigorous parties and the vicious fighting is at the heart of this excellent novel. [read full review]
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Casca 38: The Continental, Tony Roberts. Part two of a story set during the American War of Independence, following Casca as he serves in Washington's Continental Army (from the winter following Washington's victory at Princeton to the end of the war) while attempting to deal with a rogue British officer and his attempts to steel an inheritance to pay off his debts. [read full review]
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Casca 37: Roman Mercenary, Tony Roberts. Set just after the Gothic sack of Rome in 410, this entry in the series sees Casca attempt to come to terms with the collapse of his world while taking part in a rescue mission in barbarian occupied Gaul, and dealing with mixed party of mercenaries and a hidden betrayal. [read full review]
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Casca 36: The Minuteman, Tony Roberts. In this entry in the series Casca is present in the first days of the American War of Independence, living close to Boston when the fighting breaks out. The action takes him to New York, both for the fighting and to rescue his latest love, and finishes at Princeton. [read full review]
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Child of Loki, Richard Denning. Second in a series of historical novels set in the dark ages, following the early days of the kingdom of Northumbria, this time centred around the battle of Degsastan, a period in while Angles, Britons, Scots and Picts struggled for control of northern England and southern Scotland. [read full review]
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The Parthian, Pete Darman. Historical novel following the adventures of a Parthian prince who is captured by the Romans and taken to Italy, where he is rescued by Spartacus and joins his revolt. Nicely paced, and with a different take on the familiar story of Spartacus. [read full review]
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Casca: Sword of the Brotherhood, Tony Roberts. This entry in the Casca series is set in an interesting period - the last clashes between Byzantium and the soon to be overwhelmed Persian Empire. Casca is blackmailed into taking part in this struggle by his arch enemies, who want to retrieve his spear, used at the crucifixion, captured by the Persians when they briefly held Jerusalem. [read full review]
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The Amber Treasure, Richard Denning. Well written and entertaining historical fiction set in the early days of the Angle invasion of northern England, one of the most obscure periods of the Dark Ages, following the adventures of a young man caught up in the conflict between the Angles and the peoples they had displaced. [read full review]
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Casca 34: Devil's Horseman, Tony Roberts. This time Casca accompanies the Mongols as they invade eastern and central Europe, overwhelming Russian, Polish and Hungarian resistance on their way to a dramatic victory on the Saja River. With Ogatai Khan fading fast back in Mongolia the horde is split into rival factions as the princes jostle to become his heir, and Casca is dragged into the middle of the dynastic battle.   [read full review]
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Hatred is the Key, Graham Sclater. An atmospheric novel set amongst American prisoners of war on Dartmoor at the end of the War of 1812, looking into a forgotten corner of a generally forgotten war. The main plot builds to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion, loosely based on real events in the overcrowded Dartmoor depot in the awkward period between the end of the war and the repatriation of the prisoners [read full review]
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Casca 32: The Anzac, Tony Roberts. Another entertaining entry in the Casca series, this time dominated by his healing abilities, and set against the backdrop of the fighting at Gallipoli. Roberts gives a good depiction of the brutal close-quarters nature of the fighting on the narrow beach-heads, and the confusion that appeared to dominate the direction of the battle. [read full review]
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Casca 31: The Conqueror, Tony Roberts. After thirty books Casca finally takes part in the Norman Conquest, in one of the better entries in the series. This is a well-written, plot-driven novel with a suitably hissable villain, and makes good use of its backdrop, taking us from Normandy to Hastings to the post-conquest world. [read full review]
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Casca: Napoleon's Soldier, Tony Roberts This instalment of Casca's adventures takes him on Napoleon's doomed invasion of Russia and the retreat from Moscow. Two subplots support the main action, as well as giving a nice insight into the motives behind the Polish involvement in the invasion. The focus is on the retreat from Moscow, which takes up half of the novel, so we see the disaster that befell Napoleon's army from the bottom up. [see more]
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Casca: Halls of Montezuma, Tony Roberts. An entertaining novel partly set during the Mexican War, this is the 25th entry in this long running series, and a successful debut for Tony Robert, who has recently taken over the franchise. The main character, Casca Rufio Longinius, is a Roman soldier cursed to wander the world until the second coming, and his wanders bring him to Virginia just before the outbreak of war with Mexico. This is the first part of a trilogy, which will take Casca into the Civil War. [see more]
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Casca: Johnny Reb, Tony Roberts. The sequel to Halls of Montezuma sees Casca take part in the key early battles of the American Civil War in Virginia, as well as facing age-old enemies. Another entertaining entry in this long running series, which ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger that leads us into the final part of this trilogy.
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Casca: The Confederate, Tony Roberts. Barry Sadler's The Eternal Mercenary #27. This entry in the Casca series concludes a trilogy set before and during the American Civil War. This final entry starts on the battlefield of Antietam and ends with the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, taking in most of the remaining battles in Virginia and the Gettysburg campaign on the way. The decline of the Confederacy is the main theme of the book, although Roberts also ties up a sub-plot involving Casca's arch enemies. A well written conclusion to an entertaining trilogy. http://www.casca.net/
Casca: The Avenger, Tony Roberts. Barry Sadler's The Eternal Mercenary #28. After a series of three books set in the American Civil War, this entry in the Casca series jumps back nearly a millennium and a half, to the Byzantine Empire at the time of Justinian. The book follows on from an earlier entry in the series, and sees Casca return to Constantinople in an attempt to gain revenge on his enemies in the Brotherhood of the Lamb. The time period gives Roberts a chance to explore the chariot racing that had such an impact on the politics of the time, as well as Justinian's wars in Italy and Persia, which dominate the second half of the book.  http://www.casca.net/
The Shropshire Lads, Graham Holbrook. This is a very entertaining historical novel set in and around the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War. The book follows a group of Shropshire volunteers from the pre-war period, through training, into combat in the trenches and then into a classic adventure tale. [see more]
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