I am enjoying Jeff Shaara’s novel of World War I, To the Last Man.
This novel features famous characters, like General “Blackjack” Pershing, and Manfred von Richthofen (otherwise known as “the Red Baron”). There are also some lesser known characters who participated in the Great War.
This is perhaps the third or fourth Jeff Shaara novel I’ve read. His novels are so detailed, so meticulously researched, that they are somewhat akin to docudramas (especially the chapters written from the POV of the historical figures).
The result is that his books are bit dense, compared to the latest potboiler from James Patterson, or the most recent legal thriller from John Grisham. Shaara clearly writes to inform as well as to entertain.
To the Last Man is not a quick read, but it’s a rewarding one. If you like historical fiction and military themes, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
I like historical fiction, especially if there’s some action in it. I was therefore drawn to S. Thomas Russell’s Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead (2015)
The story is set during the Napoleonic Wars, when Jacobins and royalists were fighting for the future soul of France, and “republican” referred to those who were in sympathy with the ideals of the French Revolution.
As the novel opens, Royal Navy Captain Charles Hayden is sailing the HMS Themis into the Caribbean–waters filled with hostile Frenchmen, Spaniards, and slavers.
Not long after the story opens, the crew of the Themis picks up two Spanish castaways. They seem to be harboring a secret. This secret becomes the basis for much of the story that follows.
Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead is part of a series, but I had little difficulty jumping in late in the game.
On the positive side, I liked the character of Charles Hayden. I also enjoyed the mystery embedded in the tale.
On the minus side, there was a lot of time spent on repetitive sea maneuvers and counter-maneuvers that didn’t seem to advance the plot much. I could have used more human action, less naval action. (But this novel seems to be written with maritime enthusiasts in mind.)