The Flying Ensign: Greencoats Against Napoleon by Showell Styles
1962, Bethlehem Books, 297 pages, softcover
This Bethlehem Budget Book contains two entire books in one volume.
In the first story, the treacherous mountains of Northern Spain in winter provide a unique backdrop for the harrowing and courageous endeavours of "the Flying Ensign" and his comrades in rescuing their friend from certain death behind enemy lines and subsequently attempting to rejoin the ranks of the British army as they retreat from a desperate and lop-sided challenge to Napoleon's forces.
Fans of Showell Styles' Midshipman Quinn stories will recognize the similar attention to detail and themes of courage and ingenuity tied up with actual historic events in the Flying Ensign but with fresh characters, settings, and adventures. The landscape, architecture and culture of Spain are a fascinating place to experience mountain climbing adventures, hair-raising rescues and escapes and a wide variety of heroes and villains on both sides of the battle lines.
Read the rest of the review of the Flying Ensign here (Reviewed by Alicia Van Hecke)
Like the first book, the second story has plentiful descriptions of landscape, escapes, rescues, heroes, villians and architecture. The latter two are grouped for a reason. This book finds the ensign and all the principle characters of the last book together again. This time however, the story centers around a diversion to rescue the beautiful Anita and her noble father Don Claudio del Riego (one of the wealthiest noblemen in French-occupied Spain). They have been kidnapped, along with their hidden cache of jewels, by the traitorous El Cuchillo - a brigand from an ancient and once respected family - who makes his home in the family castle in the mountains. The castle features a knife-like spike of rock projecting up from within the fortress.
That the Spanish nobleman is now allied with the occupying French force, or that he chose to be a brigand rather than a noble may each be subjects for discussion of how the author gave him his nickname and abode - El Cuchillo - The Knife.
This is an enjoyable, readable story about a heroic young man who braves dangers and wins. In other words, a good hero story for kids. And the pretty young sable-haired Anita should be appealing to both boys and girls as a person who knows courage as well as courtliness.
Read the rest of the review of Byrd of the 95th here. (Reviewed by John Van Hecke)
Donated by Bethlehem Books
Thanks to the generosity of Bethlehem Books, we have two copies of this book to give away AND we'll be giving more of their books away tomorrow! If you'd like to be entered in this drawing, please leave a comment before tomorrow (January 29th) at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) and check back soon afterwards to see if you've won!