- File Size: 462 KB
- Print Length: 275 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Creativia; 4 edition (March 11, 2016)
- Publication Date: March 11, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01CVYFYKI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Windrush (Jack Windrush Book 1) Kindle Edition
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His life is disrupted, however, on the day that his father is buried.
And therein hangs a tale.
"Windrush" by Malcolm Archibald is what I would consider a "throwback novel" because it reminds me of the adventure stories I read as a youngster. Set in England, India, and Burma; it is a 19th Century story of dashed hopes, high adventure, and bloody battles with a teaspoon of romance thrown in for good measure. A little grittier than the novels I read as a youth, it nonetheless retains the spirit of those books. In "Windrush" as in those earlier books, the hero must come to grips with circumstance and prove himself not only courageous but honorable as he dashes from one precarious situation to another. Like those books I read so many years ago, the locales are exotic and the characters stop just short of being caricatures.
And like those books, the hero undergoes some significant changes in attitude as he ages not only physically but also emotionally.
I am not an historian so I cannot say for certain that Archibald's depiction of the British military midway through the 19th Century is accurate but it seems to be so. Likewise, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that the social mores of the time are accurately portrayed, but they seem to be correct given what I know of the hypocritical standards of behavior that exist today. I can, however, say for certain that Archibald's depiction of incompetent officers who place the blame for failed missions on subordinates is, sadly, accurate. Gallipoli, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Custer's Last Stand, Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Russia... the list of poorly planned campaigns that failed despite the bravery of the ordinary soldiers who tried to carry out their orders is nearly endless and yet it was not the generals who paid the penalty for their incompetence.
Jack Windrush is a product of his times: Raised to be an officer, he is unprepared for life in the world outside his sheltered existence as the eldest son of a famous family. This is not to say he has not known suffering: Like many a young man in his social set he has been taught to endure pain both at home and in school. When he finds himself in a pub the day after his father's funeral, however, he quickly learns lessons that he was never taught at school or at home.
Archibald's narrative is fast-paced and his depiction of 19th Century combat in the Far East is colorful. The plot is fairly straightforward with a minor twist at the end that many readers will see coming. His secondary characters are not as well fleshed out as I would like - some of them seem like very interesting people and I would have liked to know more about them - but the author has given his readers some sense of who they are and why they behave as they do. Since this is billed as "Book 1" I can only hope that Archibald will give us a look into the back stories of some of Jack's companions in arms in future books.
An interesting story with plenty of action and an intriguing hero, "Windrush" is a good read and a book I can recommend for action/adventure fans and those who like historical fiction.
Jack was on a mission to prove himself, to rise in the ranks, and retrieve his former place in society with an honorable career in the army. He attempted to mark himself for glory rather than fight for any cause he believed in. At one point, when he was sent to fight in Burma, he stole two gold Buddha statues from a captured pagoda, although he had told his men they were not to plunder the enemy’s gold and other possessions. Jack thought of buying his way up in the ranks or, possibly, buying land in England.
The book takes place in the 1850s, primarily in Burma. The men of the 113th are sent to fight Bo Ailgaliutlo and his followers. Bo is a renegade Englishman, who is fighting against the English presence in Burma. Jack learns his surprising identity just before his men kill Bo.
Through his experiences as a soldier who is responsible for the lives of his men, Jack changes his perspective on what is important. Towards the end of the book, his men save a number of prisoners and take them to safety, but Bo and his men capture Jack. Sergeant Wells, O’Neil, Coleman, Armstrong, Thorpe, and Ranveer determine his whereabouts and save Jack’s life. Jack realizes they risked their own lives to do so. Jack returns the stolen Buddhas to Myat, a Buddhist who is Well’s wife and their translator. He says he does not need the statues now.
As Myat says to Jack, “You had three battles to win, Ensign Windrush. You had to defeat your country’s enemies, the enemies within your family and the enemy within yourself.”
The story is action-packed with fighting. This book pulled me in and had me on the edge of my seat. The author did an excellent job in his description of the battle scenes. I am not ordinarily interested in military battles, but I was hooked.
The ending was not as well written and was too abrupt for me. It is almost like the author decided, “Okay, let’s end it”. There are other books that continue the Windrush story, however, so read on!