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Leopardkill - A Cavalry Tale [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Hopkins
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A thrilling war novel set against the dramatic backdrop of the Peninsular War that saw a small British force pitched against Napoleon’s Grande Armee.

It is Autumn 1808. The French army is gone from Portugal...except for one man. And what he has stolen is deadly secret.

Sergeant Joshua Lock and Captain the Honourable John Killen pursue the spy deep into Spain ahead of Sir John Moore’s British army - a force now ordered to fight the French alongside native troops. But instead of helping their new allies, the Spaniards seem to have turned against them.

Their quarry still free, Killen’s discovery of Lock’s affair with a fellow officer’s wife drives the childhood friends apart as savage winter storms grip the Galician mountains. With discipline breaking down, and Spain’s armies in disarray, every man must decide for himself - who is friend and who is foe? Should the outnumbered, starving British stand and fight, or run for the sea, and home?

Whilst unbeknown to the bickering allies, Bonaparte himself is storming through Spain with but a single purpose...to destroy every ‘mangy English leopard.’

Meticulously researched to be historically and militarily accurate, this dashing novel of cavalrymen at war is written by an expert horseman.


About the Author
Jonathan Hopkins has worked in occupations as diverse as bulk tanker loader and kitchen designer, but since 2001 has fitted and repaired saddles professionally.
A lifelong horse-keeper and long term chair of an affiliated riding club close to his home in South Wales, his interest in the cavalrymen who served under the Duke of Wellington originally grew out of research into saddlery worn by troop horses, for which there are no surviving patterns.
Leopardkill is his second published novel.

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More About the Author

Jonathan Hopkins has worked in occupations as diverse as bulk tanker loader and kitchen designer, but since 2001 has fitted and repaired saddles professionally.

A lifelong horse-keeper and long term chair of an affiliated riding club close to his home in South Wales, his interest in the cavalrymen who served under the Duke of Wellington originally grew out of research into saddlery worn by troop horses, for which there are no surviving patterns.

Leopardkill is his second published novel.

Find out more at his author website www.cavalrytales.co.uk and occasional blog http://cavalrytales.wordpress.com

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tale set during the Peninsular War 4 Aug. 2013
By david
Format:Kindle Edition
`Leopardkill' is set during the Peninsular War in the early nineteenth century, when Napoleon was threatening to rule the roost in Europe and the British were committed to a desperate last-ditch effort to throw his armies out of Spain and Portugal.

The British field army is commanded by Sir John Moore, a fine soldier and the only enemy general whom Napoleon considers worthy of respect. Assisted by Portuguese guerrilla fighters, the British have won a victory at Vimeiro, but still face a hellish uphill struggle against overwhelming numbers of French troops. Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, is still in the background at this stage of the war.

The book mainly focuses on the adventures of two British cavalrymen, Joshua Lock and John Killen. The two men are friends, though there is a necessary professional distance between them - Lock is a mere trooper, while Killen is a Lieutenant - and the difference in rank sometimes constrains their relationship. Their rather awkward friendship is well conveyed by the author, along with their contrasting personalities: Lock is something of a dandy with an eye for the ladies (an eye that gets him into deep trouble in the book) while Killen is a more blunt, straightforward character and unimpressed by the other man's excesses.

The dusty, violent world of wartime Iberia is also seen from the perspective of Melville Rapton, the book's villain and an absolute rotter (think Harry Flashman without the charm), his neglected and suffering wife Elinor, and various historical figures of the period. The latter include Sir John Moore and Napoleon, `Old Boney' himself, here depicted as a shrewd, temperamental man and a master at manipulating the moods and loyalties of his men.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, well-researched - thrilling read! 27 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's 1808, and the beginning of the end is nigh for British troops who are vastly outnumbered and facing up to the might of Napoleon's Grand Armée. Albeit Napoleon's forces have retreated from Portugal, the Emperor remains undaunted by British derring-do and sets out to smite some of the deadliest of cavalry opponents. The Spanish, - once allies of the British throughout the Peninsular Campaign - have all but melted away seemingly unwilling to fight to regain their state from Napoleon's grip, thus they prove more hindrance than advantage.

What is worse, a French spy has infiltrated the British camp and takes flight with a secret, for which the Emperor will reward the bearer handsomely, that is, unless a British officer and heroic rough-neck sergeant can hunt him down and silence him before the villain reaches enemy lines. The journey proves a feat in itself, not least for the two British soldiers who have a complicated bond existing between them. Nonetheless, they soldier on facing triumphs and defeats in equal measure. All the while, rumour of the sergeant's misconduct with an officer's wife, threatens to wreck their longstanding covert friendship, but it is that very friendship, that special bond that endures as each face the terrible crisis of mass evacuation of their army from foreign soil to waiting ships. The tragedy of the evacuation brings to the conscious mind the dreadful and wilful sacrifice of stores, equipment and horseflesh in order to lessen the gain of the victor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By BlackBrigand TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the second volume of what is turning out to be a really excellent series. I was very impressed with the first book by Jonathan Hopkins and more so with this continuation of the saga, which I felt was even better.

I do not believe that a review should recount the story and spoil the enjoyment for other readers but this continuation again follows the fortunes of two childhood friends now a sergeant and captain in the 20th Light dragoons serving in Spain during the Corunna campaign.

Mr Hopkins has come up with what promises to be a really first class contender to fill the gap left when the career of Richard Sharpe ceased to be chronicled. The series is well researched with few historical flaws the fictional characters fitting seamlessly into the historical background without any noticable bending of history to fit the story.

I hope that Mr Hopkins intends to continue this series as I am now looking forward to the next enstallment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Justin
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent sequel to "walls of Jericho". One of the most compelling and enjoyable books I've read for a long time. The cavalry viewpoint is novel, and the author clearly understands horses, the role of cavalry and their tactics. The two key characters Killen and Lock are well drawn with the occasional tension between the childhood friends of their rank and social status making for interesting side stories. It would be nice in future novels to see whether Killen remains the epitome of a cavalry officer and gentleman, or whether he will develop some of the flaws that make Lock such an interesting character.

Jonathan Hopkins writes vivid and detailed action sequences, and you can imagine the speed, and pace of a cavalry charge from his writing.

So, how good is the book? Bernard Cornwell sets the standard for this genre, and Hopkins is better by far. I can't wait or the next novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story line makes a great read
Published 6 months ago by Mr. D. Cox
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
ok
Published 6 months ago by S.L.Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very enjoyable, well written Napoleonic War novel.
Published 6 months ago by Brian Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars ... for christmas from my son in law what a great read, well...
got this and his other book for christmas from my son in law what a great read, well researched and written enjoyed every minute. Read more
Published 6 months ago by cooldude13@altavista.co.uk
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book was brilliant and it could only get better
The first book was brilliant and it could only get better. Jonathan has obviously kept up with his research and has written two great books to rival the sharpe series written by... Read more
Published 7 months ago by alex w chalmers
4.0 out of 5 stars From Corunna to Waterloo
The first attempt to stop the French, by the British. A good tale sketchy in parts but well worth a read. I will certainly try the sequel. Care has been taken with the research.
Published 8 months ago by ISOK
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read and Interesting Characters
Like the genre and the the Iberian Peninsula in the years prior to Waterloo gives every opportunity for adventure. Historically accurate.
Published 13 months ago by Mr M R White
4.0 out of 5 stars Leopardkill a Cavalry Tale
Leopardkill a Cavalry Tale by Jonathon Hopkins Enjoyable story easy to read, looking forward to his next book, would like the story spread out a bit longer.
Published 19 months ago by Joe C.
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
Poor read struggled to finish it, the only character of interest is Locke the others are thin and feeble particularly Locke`s officer Killian. Read more
Published 22 months ago by HP
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read
I waited a long time for the authors second novel and wasnt dissapointed - this is a gripping tale from start to finish so be prepared to immerse yourself with a book that you will... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Mr. Robert Leach
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