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Beat the Drums Slowly (Napoleonic War 2) [Hardcover]

Adrian Goldsworthy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Aug 2011 Napoleonic War 2
Second in the series begun by TRUE SOLDIER GENTLEMEN, the story takes our heroes through the winter snows as Sir John Moore is forced to retreat to Corunna. Faced with appalling weather, and pursued by an overwhelming French army led by Napoleon himself, the very survival of Britain's army is at stake. But while the 106th Foot fights a desperate rearguard action, for the newly promoted Hamish Williams, the retreat turns into an unexpectedly personal drama. Separated from the rest of the army in the initial chaos, he chances upon another fugitive, Jane MacAndrews, the daughter of his commanding officer, and the woman he is desperately and hopelessly in love with. As the pair battle the elements and the pursuing French, picking up a rag-tag band of fellow stragglers along the way - as well as an abandoned newborn - the strict boundaries of their social relationship are tested to the limit, with surprising results. But Williams soon finds he must do more than simply evade capture and deliver Jane safe and sound to her father. A specially tasked unit of French cavalry is threatening to turn the retreat into a massacre, and Williams and his little band are the only thing standing between them and their goal.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; First Edition edition (11 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297860380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297860389
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This tale of the world of the redcoats in peril is required reading for fans of the period (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

The second novel in a brilliant new Napoleonic series from acclaimed historian Adrian Goldsworthy.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE WHO WAS THERE. 15 Oct 2011
Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
Once again Adrian Goldsworthy shows his versatility as a writer, BEAT THE DRUMS SLOWLY, the second in his Napoleonic series, depicts the harrowing retreat to Corunna in the depth of winter, with the feeling of one who was there. (indeed it takes me back to my many years with the Para Brigade and the cursed Black Mountains) The character development is really three dimensional, and the interaction between officers and men truly believable. As an amateur historian I cannot fault his in-depth research into the life of a British soldier during the Napoleonic wars (both officers and men) and the tactical movements of Battalions and Brigades. I am looking forward in anticipation to the next in the series. Keep up the good work Adrian.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rag,Tag and Bobtail 21 Aug 2011
This is my first time with Adrian Goldsworthy and I must say what a pleasure it has been . Anyone who steps into the world of Sharpe leaves himself open to comparison ,but it is a long time since Sharpe has taken to the field and it is about time we revisited the world of Napoleon and Wellington , although in this adventure we are with General Sir John Moore who has pushed deep into Spain and must retreat through the mountains to reach the port of Corunna and the ships that will carry them home. Ensign Hamish Williams has the makings to stand alongside Sharpe and Matthew Hervey and as they often found themselves separated from the regiment, so does our hero as he hunts for Jane MacAndrews, the daughter of his commanding officer who has got lost between the rear guard of Moore's retreating army and the advancing French. After rescuing Jane from the French cavalry he starts to make his way back to the regiment and on the way he picks up a rag-tag band of fellow stragglers who he must rally as he discovers that the French are trying to outflank the retreating British and the only thing standing in there way is Williams and his rag-tag band of stragglers. The research and the detail for the period that Adrian Goldsworthy brings to the page soon has you in the thick of the battle and I for one felt that I had walk every step of the way with Williams as he must decide whether his life and that of his rag-tag band are the price he must pay to save the army. I will now look forward to the next outing of Ensign Williams and the 106th as they take on the French ,with the same anticipation as I did when a new Sharpe appeared.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please pay attention 21 Jan 2012
There are only six reviews to date. The reason for adding this one is that I firmly believe this series of novels deserves more attention. This is far from simply a 'me too' novel, many of which frankly cannot hold a candle to well known authors such as Bernard Cornwell.

Book 1 was good; this was better. Perhaps I just prefer my heroes to be under-stated and far from perfect, but it's allied with decent measures of drama, history and sparkling dialogue. I hope that formula will win people over.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and brilliant. 7 Sep 2011
I'm already hooked on this series, after just this, the second book. A fresh breeze is blowing through this genre, previously dominated by Richard Sharpe. I read the Sharpe books from the very first and have been waiting for a long time for the gap to be filled, here, at last is a series that I think will qualify. Loved the second book more than the first, great story telling and attention to military detail. Loved the story line with Hamish and Jane and it's more than time that Sir John Moore was given space in a historical novel. A super read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Sepoy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have read my review of Adrian Goldsworthy's first venture into the world of a British line regment in the Peninsular War, True Soldier Gentleman, you will know that I am a fan: I look forward to these books enormously. I was not disappointed with this one either. Writing about any retreat cannot be easy; lets face it a retreat is a pretty depressing event for those involved and does not necessarily lend itself to fiction, but Adrian Goldsworthy has pulled it off brilliantly. The story line is for me, very believeable, with the events unfolding just as one expects might have happened to some of those involved in the retreat, of 1808/09, for real. A thoroughly enjoyable book and I hope the next adventure for Hamish Williams is published soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beat the Drums Slowly is the second novel in Adrian Goldsworthy's series on the Peninsular War. It follows on from the events of his first novel, True Soldier Gentlemen. I found Goldsworthy's first novel a refreshingly good read, which provided a decent and authentic account of the hardship endured during the early phases of the Peninsular War. Beat the Drums Slowly shares many of the same qualities as its predecessor. The novel follows the men of the fictional 106th regiment of foot in Britain's army in the Peninsular, now led by General Sir John Moore. After pushing deep into Spain, the British find themselves hugely outnumbered by the French forces. In a desperate bid to escape the danger, the British retreat to Corunna, through the mountainous north of Spain in the midst of winter. The setting provides great drama, and the narrative zips along with commendable gusto. Goldsworthy wonderfully captures the fear among the ranks that arises from their situation. The sense of terror during the set piece battles is transmitted to the reader particularly well.

The development of Goldsworthy's characters however, sets this novel apart from the first. One of the few criticisms of True Soldier Gentlemen was that there were too many characters for a book of its size, thus no protagonist featured enough. In this instalment, Goldsworthy focuses the plot on Hamish Williams. Williams, who is frustratingly shy towards women, finds himself separated from the army as he hunts for the missing Jane MacAndrews, a woman he adores. As the events of the campaign unfold, Williams' mission to see Miss MacAndrews return safely to the army is sidetracked when he learns of a French plan to secretly outflank the British forces.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beat the drums slowly
Good read. It is building into a great series with the central characters proving interesting central figures as the war develops in the peninsula . Read more
Published 1 month ago by KenB
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting better.
A much better and exciting story in the second book than the first. Hope that the next book in the series will be even better.
Published 1 month ago by Ceirion Parry
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read. I will look to read more of ...
A good read.
I will look to read more of this author's work.
Published 1 month ago by Eve Barratt
4.0 out of 5 stars Good follow up.
The characters take on a more enduring form a the sub plots thicken. Not so much repetitive gory description and the stories are only impossible rather than ridiculous
Published 2 months ago by andrew miller
4.0 out of 5 stars the Retreat to Corruna
This is possibly the best account in a fiction book of Moores retreat there is, excellently detailed and we'll told
Published 3 months ago by Senseisama
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good
One of my favourite authors who I always enjoy. This one did not disappoint and I am looking forward to the next one already
Published 12 months ago by Stuart Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down
I enjoyed this much more than it's predecessor (True Soldier Gentleman) probably because the book begins in Spain rather than in England. Read more
Published 12 months ago by John Townsend
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic but readable as a novel
Goldsworthy has written a book that is both authentic but readable as a novel, which is a difficult feat to achieve in itself as many historical novels are one or the other but... Read more
Published 14 months ago by D.Buttery
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
For anyone who enjoys stories written about Napoleonic Warfare, a good mixture of history and fiction, with human emotions and failures thrown in.
Published 15 months ago by peter eells
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep writing novels!!
For a researcher of Roman history, Adrian Goldsworthy makes an excelent Napoleonic novel writer! As a critic said " Jane Austin meets Bernard Cornwell". Read more
Published 16 months ago by John W A Toye
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