So here it is! The cover for the latest in the series of books about James Burke.
Once again, I’m incredibly grateful to Dave Slaney for his fantastic design.
I’m also grateful to Robert Pocock, who runs Campaigns & Culture leading battlefield tours all over Europe. Robert knows an awful lot about the Peninsular War and is just one of the people who gave me valuable advice on the historical details of the British campaign. His completely unsolicited comment that it was “wonderful writing” (and that he had “really enjoyed it”, which we couldn’t fit on the cover) means that this cover is unique in the series so far in having an endorsement on it. I hope that praise from Robert will encourage sales but, honestly, I would put that on anyway because unsolicited praise always makes authors feel warm and fuzzy inside. (Please remember that when deciding whether or not it’s worth writing a review: it always is.)
The cover is also unique in the series in that we’ve taken liberties with the uniform shown. That’s a rifleman’s uniform – the famous green of the Rifles – and the Rifles do not feature in the story. But though the story does include a lot of detail of the battle of Talavera, it’s mostly about guerrilla warfare. The image of a rifleman lying on the ground and firing in what was considered by many senior officers of the time to be a distinctly un-military approach seemed appropriate for a book which features so much irregular warfare. In any case, those who have read Burke at Waterloo will know that William Brown does end up fighting in the uniform of the Rifles, so it is a liberty I was happy to take.
[EDIT: What I’m less happy about is that this is a post-Napoleonic uniform. People keep suggesting that I can get away with mistakes because people won’t notice. In this case it took less than five minutes for me to get this:
The Rifle soldier is post-Napoleonic. He isn’t using a Baker Rifle, and has a “bobble” on the Shako, rather than the plume, I think the Shako/Pack might be slightly different too. But a 1807-1815 Rifleman would have had different kit/weapon.
Dave Slaney and I will take a look at it, but it’s going to be tricky to correct in time for launch day.
FURTHER EDIT: But we did it!! See Cover Reveal: Take 2]
No liberties have been taken with the map. It’s from 1775. The part of Spain that it shows isn’t featured in the book: it was chosen to look nice, rather than to navigate by. It’s a map of the Peninsula that would have been current during the Peninsular War and I’m impressed.
What of the book itself? It’s being published next Friday and should be available on pre-order early next week. You’ll be able to buy it on Kindle at £3.99 and in paperback at £6.99. Buy links will be posted here and on my Twitter account (@TomCW99) as soon as they are available.
Like all the Burke books, this is a stand-alone story. The books aren’t written in chronological order. If you’ve read the first one (Burke in the Land of Silver), this follows directly on from that. It’s 1809 and, on his return from South America, Burke is sent off again, this time to join the war being waged by Spanish guerrillas against the French. It’s not long before he’s fighting for his life, but which of the Spaniards can he trust?
Burke faces new adversaries and finds old allies in a dramatic adventure, set against the background of the bloody battle of Talavera.
It’s real history – but not the way you learned it in school.