Monday, 30 November 2015

The Lone Warrior by Paul Fraser Collard

review by Maryom

Jack Lark has earned his army discharge papers and is now free to live his life as he chooses - but India still has adventures and danger left in store for him. While he's waiting for a boat back to England, Jack gets involved with the rescue of a young woman, Aamira, from an exclusive gaming club, and escorting her half way across India to her home in Delhi lands him smack in the middle of trouble, as their arrival coincides with the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny. Despite his army discharge, despite the danger, Jack can't help but join in the fight to restore British rule....
This fourth Jack Lark story finds our hero still in India just as the Mutiny of 1857 breaks erupts. As a fighting man, one who's extremely good at his 'job', Jack isn't going to run away and hide, but feels he must join in with the defence of the British colony. Increasingly though, he finds it difficult to take the attitudes of many Army officers - towards the men under their command, their defeated enemies and the actual fighting itself. Although as capable a "killing machine" as ever, Jack's beginning to be sickened by the aftermath of battle, the personal tragedies he sees and ultimately by what he himself does. As always, Collard writes in a style that captures that allows the reader to feel there in the action, to share the tedium of laying siege for months under the burning Indian sun, the fear and daring of battle, the automated response that shuts down Jack's emotions but, increasingly, his disgust at his actions and those of the officers around him. By the end of this adventure he's definitely a sadder, wiser man, more mature in his outlook on life and, in my opinion, a better man for it. 

There's more than a touch of James Bond about Jack as this story opens - with him stalking into a gaming club, looking every inch the sort of man who belongs there, but having a very different purpose in mind to the other customers. Even his exit, fighting his way past guards and servants with a beautiful young woman to protect, has that same dangerous, glamorous vibe to it ...and I wonder if this is the way Jack's story will now unfold....

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Headline
Genre - adult historical adventure

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