Into the Valley of Death

Written by A.L. Berridge
Review by Mike Ashworth

The book opens in Meerut, 1853. Ensign Harry Standish returns home to find that his father has committed suicide, driven to this desperate act by the crushing weight of his debts. In 1854, having sold his commission to pay off his father’s debts, and returned to England, Corporal Harry Ryder, as part of 13th Light Dragoons, disembarks in the Crimea. Thus begins a whirlwind tale of treachery, betrayal, incompetence, stupidity and amazing acts of courage. Harry Ryder finds himself trying to prove the existence of a rogue staff officer who is spreading chaos throughout the British forces, issuing orders at the heart of battle which hand the advantage to the Russian forces.

The novel opens at a cracking pace and accelerates. The battles of the Alma, Inkerman and the Charge of the Light Brigade are described in heart-thumping, exciting and exhilarating detail. The author’s detailed research and eye for detail bring alive the Crimean War in an outstanding piece of historical fiction. A. L. Berridge has done it again – quite simply superb. This is one for the bookshelf. Highly recommended.