Siege of Khartoum

Written by John Wilcox
Review by Mike Ashworth

The year is 1884. General Gordon is under siege in Khartoum. Under pressure from public opinion the government has ordered General Wolseley to put together a relief column to raise the siege and rescue Gordon. Simon Fonthill and his sidekick ‘352’ Jenkins must cross the desert, enter Khartoum and make contact with General Gordon to ascertain how long he can realistically hold out. The first part of the mission, although filled with danger, and threats from both the Mahdi’s forces and friendly forces is successful and the intrepid duo make contact with Gordon. Unfortunately, as they leave the stricken city, the group is captured. Will Fonthill manage to escape and get the vital information that Wolseley needs before Khartoum falls?

This is the latest instalment in the series of novels about Fonthill and ‘352’ Jenkins. As with previous novels, the book is well researched with actual events and historical figures woven seamlessly into the plot, while the politics of the time provide a framework against which the action takes place. The relationship between Fonthill and his intended, Alice Covington, a headstrong but resourceful heroine, provides further opportunity for exploits, as well as (just a little) romantic involvement. A sadistic enemy, deadly adversaries, honourable friends and lots of action, what more could you ask for? Recommended.