Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars156
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Love this book!! 'The Scarlet Thief' introduces Jack Lark - 'a bit of a lad' - and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride culminating in the bloody Battle of the Alma, during the Crimean War. Jack experiences love and loss before he ever gets near a battlefield, and has to make a decision that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for himself, but for those around him. He sets himself upon a path that he HAS to follow through.........but will he? Can he? Surrounded by the harshness and brutality of war, the incompetence of some of those in charge, and the utter futility of the fate that awaits, Jack finds courage, bravery, loyalty and compassion, not only in himself, but in the band of brothers around him. Jack has a nemesis, Slater, who haunts his every move, waiting to strike when least expected, and is a vicious, cruel, sadistic tormentor. Slater knows the secrets that Jack carries, and bides his time, taunting Jack at every turn. Paul Fraser Collard has written a book that is so vivid, so REAL, that I found myself actually 'seeing' events as they unfolded, 'feeling' the fear of the soldiers before battle, and experiencing the devastation along with them. I really got into this book, couldn' t put it down, and, not wanting to give too much away, was immensely moved by Digby-Brown. I can't wait to read more of Jack Larks' adventures - he is someone that I want to know more about, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book!
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the story of Jack Lark, the first of many, I hope. We first meet Jack as he leads his men in an astonishing act of bravery in an attack on the Russians at the start of the Crimean War. Then we flash back six months to when Jack has just become Captain Arthur Sloames’ orderly, hoping to escape the notice of the psychopathically violent bully, Colour Sergeant Slater. Unfortunately they both fancy the same girl, Molly.

How Jack proceeds from orderly to leading his own men and what happens afterwards, is the story of this book.

It is a story about soldiers, battles and war, so you have to expect military details and violence, but the military details are not sufficient to bog the story down and the astute reader can glide painlessly over them if they choose. The violence is another matter. At times the book is very violent, but I believe that it is necessary and not gratuitous. War, and the military life which supported it, was brutal, violent and squalid. A story set during the Crimean War has to depict these elements if it is to have any authenticity.

This is an excellent, rollicking read – and, as I said before, hopefully the first of many about Jack Lark.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Battle of Alma in the Crimea is historic reality, and though ‘The Scarlet Thief’ is fiction, its storyline is true to what really happened when in 1854 General Raglan pitched his troops against a massive Russian army. There has been criticism over chaotic conduct and enormous losses - but there is no doubting the courage and tenacity of those involved. Author Paul Fraser Collard has produced a stirring and swashbuckling narrative, but it relates to a sham as main protagonist Jack Lark is an imposter masquerading as an army officer. The author portrays him as a rogue yet likeable character appealing to readers, but the plot is hardly credible. It supposes Jack started as an urchin from London and from the first chapter it is clear he is to become the hero of the Battle of Alma. The story embraces Jack’s romance with a laundry girl and the spiteful bullying of his colour sergeant, but main emphasis is on the tactics of fellow officers with detailed battle scenes and descriptions of the horrors of war. The ending is not fully expected, and as a fictional read ‘The Scarlet Thief’ is as fast and furious as the truly fast and furious reality of war in the mid nineteenth century.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've heard quite a bit about Paul from friends of mine who are avid Historical Fiction fans. They promised an epic debut with characters that I'd love to spend time around with so many facets that I'd be hooked from the start to finish. So with all that promise I really couldn't wait to see what would unfurl within.

Firstly for a debut novel it's a cracking title. The characters within do stand on their own and whilst the history is cleverly woven within, it doesn't feel like its treating the reader to a history lesson but weaves need to know within with ease. Add to this solid prose, high octane battle sequences and all round a tale that was a pure joy to read as every twist revealed itself. Definitely something for fans of well crafted battle sequences and something that will stay with you for quite some time. I'm just pleased I have the second to read straight away.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 23 January 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are a fan of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe then I feel sure you'll like The Scarlet Thief.
Our protagonist is a man of chance who takes his opportunities when he can. He is somewhat of a rogue but one with a goid enough heart and copious amounts of nouse and courage. He is certainly a character that you wish well by the end and whom I hope more books will be written about.
The battle descriptions are filled with blood and gore which, whilst difficult to read at times, do give things an authentic feel. I don't know a great deal about this period of history but things seem to sit right so historical accuracy seems pretty good though I'm sure others will be better placed to comment on this.
The Scarlet Thief is a cracking read, ripping along at an exciting pace that keeps you reading until the conclusion.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 July 2014
What a great start to a new series, long may it continue. I knew very little about the war in Crimea with all it's despair & ugliness,a forerunner to the WW1 waste of human life if only those in power had the sense to realise it. It does bring home to the reader how brave the ordinary officers & men of the British Army were despite the very poor leadership & appalling conditions they had to endure. Perhaps a lesson to all. The characters were well thought out with Jack Lark being particularly appealing as a great opportunist who could make full use of the situations that arose. Well done that man & may he long prosper if only the benefit himself & show a thumb to the establishment of the period. His exploits kept me interested right to the very end & I look forward with great anticipation to his further adventures.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 January 2014
very gory and realistic,no glamorisation of the hardliner led by the majority back in the Times of the Crimean war
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 May 2013
Any debut novel with quotes from both Bernard Cornwell and Anthony Riches must have something going for it so I bought this book with confidence. Im pleased to say I was right to do so.

The pace of the book is fast. It is not so quick that you don't get to feel the setting or learn a lot about the period but fast enough that the story flows effortlessly along. I hate historical fiction where the writer shows off their great in-depth knowledge of their period at the expense of a good story. I want the flavour and the feel, I don't want a history book. Collard delivers the right balance.

Jack Lark is a great new hero. I am pleased to see that this is just the first book in a series and I am really looking forward to book two that I see is out in November. I missed the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell. I can only hope
that Jack Lark gets as long a run.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 7 February 2015
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Alma was a famous battle in the 1850s in the Crimea, which even now is a hotly disputed area with strategic importance. Our hero is a young Jack Lark who is looking to survive the battle with his comrades and defeat a force of Russians much superior in numbers.

I liked the easy flowing writing style that does remind me of the Sharpe series. If you like this period of history then the Flashman series would be a great complimentary read.

A great start for the author and I will looking forward to more adventures in the series, with the next one Maharajahs General already out.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 6 July 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Year is 1854. Jack Lark is an orderly in the army, looking after Captain Sloames and stuck in Aldershot. His officer fancies a taste of glory and war when they discover the regiment is being posted to the Indies, renowned as a place with a very high death rate from fever and disease, so he applies for a transfer to another regiment, going to fight the Russians in the Crimea. There is a sadistic colour sergeant who picks on Jack and tries to rape his girlfriend. Jack fights him off, but he's made an enemy for life, so Sloames' decision comes at a good time.
On the way to the new posting, Soames falls ill and dies. In desperation to avoid being sent back to the sergeant's clutches, Jack takes over Sloames position - now read on.
This is a well written book with carefully drafted characters that one can identify with (Jack) or hate (Sergeant Slater). The battle scenes are well written, bloody and brutal. The author, Paul Collard, was raised on Sharpe and Flashman and his admiration for Bernard Cornwell and George MacDonald Fraser shines through. As far as I can tell the historical facts are about right. I was a bit concerned about the mention of revolvers initially, but later in the book the author tells us the pistol in question was a percussion Beaumont-Adams. If I wanted to nitpick I could point out that this gun was not adopted until 1856, but it's a minor point. The rifles described as "Minie Rifles" would be the 1853 pattern Enfield, which certainly saw service in the Crimea, and the desrcription of it's lethal killing power is correct, being effective out to 600 yards and deadly at 100, able to penetrate several people through and through. (And I can brag of having one on my wall!)
So a great start then for what would appear to be a series and recommended for lovers of historical military fiction.
0Comment|5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

£8.83

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.