Fire and Steel

Written by David Cook
Review by Richard Tearle

Fire and Steel isn’t one book but five novellas put together under the banner of The Soldier Chronicles, covering a period of almost twenty years of warfare in Ireland, Malta, Holland, Spain, and culminating in the Battle of Waterloo.

David Cook writes powerfully, and in each episode he produces new characters – each with a past that we wonder at – in new situations and in different locations. In each there is a battle and, the delicate reader be warned, these are described graphically and vividly, bringing out the true horrors of such warfare with such skill that you feel as though you are there.

The only blemish on the overall presentation is one badly spaced line, almost at the end of the last story. My only disappointment was that there was not enough of each story, for any of the characters could really be part of a full-length novel and possibly even a series. The author certainly has the ability to keep us enthralled for a lot longer than a hundred or so pages each.

Nevertheless, this an excellent anthology, and although I felt that the tales could have been presented in stricter chronological order, it will appeal strongly to lovers of this particular period of English history.

Highly recommended.