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The Horns of the Buffalo (Simon Fonthill Series) Paperback – 6 Sep 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (6 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755309839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755309832
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A swashbuckling tale of epic proportions, slashed through with adventure, bravery, and the utmost danger' Good Book Guide (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

The first novel in an acclaimed series of wartime adventures in the tradition of Bernard Cornwell and C.S. Forester

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
John Wilcox has produced an extremely readable, entertaining tale of action and adventure set during the lead-up to the Zulu Wars. However, the (eventual) hero of the piece, Lt. Simon Fonthill, has neither the dash nor the dangerous edge of a Bernard Cornwell 'Sharpe', nor does he possess the depth of characterisation of a 'Hornblower'. In fact, some of the supporting characters - particularly Jenkins 352 and Alice, are far more colourful and convincing. On a further positive note, key female characters are depicted as refreshingly liberated and strong. Mr Wilcox has certainly not resorted to period Victorian stereotypes of swooning and essentially weak and weeping maidens.
To summarise, despite Fonthill's slightly understated characterisation, the book remains a very well researched,well-written and entertaining read. I look forward to the sequel, 'The Road to Kandahar', in which I hope to find Fonthill's character fleshed out into a more convincing, red-blooded persona more appropriate to his role in what essentially is a theatre of swashbuckling tales of 'derring-do'.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book by accident when browsing through Amazon and what a great find. This is the start of a new adventure hero in the veign of Sharpe and Hornblower. I think it is a shame when you have to compare one book with another authors (Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow to name but a few), but in a packed market of Historical fiction comparisons are going to be made. This book stand on its own with its tale of the Battle of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu wars of 1879. Far more insight than the film Zulu which was a classic.

Well researched, well told with characters that will continue in the forthcoming adventures. I am sure as the books unfold the writers style will improve and the main players will slowly flesh out. Like Sharpe and Harper, Simon Fonthill and his trusty man servant Jenkins will go from strength to strength.

As with any 1st book in what is going to become a series there will be teething troubles but I found this to be a crisp refreshing tale of good old stiff upper lip and daring do.

I have ordered the next to books in this series and am looking forward to them. Ten out of Ten !!!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A writer of historical fiction, before he puts fingers to keyboard stands at a cross roads. He can do the blood and guts brakes off, all action ripping yarn where history is used as a back drop in front of which an all conquering hero performs great deeds. Or he uses fictional charactors to illustrate a realistic and accurate picture of events. Cornwell is the master of the former and Pressfield the master of the latter.

John Wilcox also takes the historical illustration road and makes a very accomplished debut in the process. As a result his main hero, Simon Fonthill, perhaps lacks a bit of 'umphh!' when compared to Sharpe or Aubrey. He is more the pivot around which other more colourful characters revolve. Chief amongst them the, hard drinking little Welsh hard man Jenkins. A truly loveable rogue!

The book takes us on a whistle stop tour of the Zulu wars. The blundering British diplomacy, the disaster of Isandlwana and of course Rorkes drift! If I have a gripe it's that Rorks drift isn't made more of! I thought it would make for a good third of the book, and every ounce of drama wrung out it. However it was not quite like that. In fact a court room drama is given more time, as Simon's character and actions are called to question, having said that though, it is very well done, and makes for the most nail biting bit of the book.

The author creates a great cast to carry events along. A caddish superior officer, a fiesty tomboy reporter, a cattle rancher gone native and the afore mentioned Jenkins.

A well rounded and believable story with interesting little historical gems thrown in, such as how the term 'Jingoistic' came into being and the fact That Bromhead (Michael Cain's) character in the film Zulu was actually quite deaf. As well as this throw in some witty dialogue and you have a very accomplished debut!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am rather at a loss as to how to properly rate this book. When I started to read it my first thoughts were "the Four Feathers" by A.E Mason as the character was facing the same situation. However the story developed a little from this and was readable particularly the section up to the landing in South Africa. Then the story seemed to follow that of the Films of "Zulu". and "Zulu Dawn". If I had as a student submitted this story to a Professor for marking i would have been accused of Plagearism and got very low marks.
Apart from these faults the rest of the story was quite entertaining. I was however amused at the Lady reporter especially when she very easily gave up her Chastity. (not the thing expected of a Victorian) I hope future stories develop differently.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always feel obliged to write something on the reviews section after reading a book that I have bought, mainly due to the reccomendations of others on this site.
Well, this book is worth a look, not in any way a great piece of literature, but worth reading. You can tell this is a new ish author, as the style clearly needs some working on to get it slicker, but that said, the story is pretty good, and the charracters have lots of room for development.
As the other reviews state, this is similar to the Fancy Jack novels, but not quite as many interesting charracters.
I am currently reading the next installment, the road to kandahar...
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