Title The King of Dunkirk (King’s Germans Book 2)
Author – Dominic Fielder
Genre – Historical Fiction
May 1793: The French border
Valenciennes, Paris then home! Every common soldier knows the popular refrain so why can’t the commanders see sense?
The protracted siege of Valenciennes exposes the mistrust between the allies. National interests triumphed over military logic. The King’s Germans find themselves marching north to the coast, not east to Paris. Dunkirk has become a royal prize, an open secret smuggled to the French, who set a trap for the Duke of York’s army.
Lieutenant Erich von Bomm and Captain Werner Brandt find themselves in the thick of the action as the 14th Nationals, the Black Lions, seek their revenge. In the chaos of battle, Sebastian Krombach, working alongside Major Trevethan, the engineer tasked with capturing Dunkirk, must make a dreadful choice: to guide a battalion of Foot Guards to safety across the Great Moor or carry a message that might save the life of a friend.
The King’s Germans and the Black Lions do battle to determine who shall be crowned the King of Dunkirk.
Two lines of redcoats scurried forward, huddled like round-shouldered old men, as the ferocity of the rain increased again driven on by a quickening north-easterly wind. Reaching the junction ahead of his men, von Bomm peered around the corner. The main street was narrow, no more than ten yards across at most and hemmed in by a terrace of squalid cottages. Sixty yards to the left were the grounds of the church and the main crossroads. He could see eight horses within the walled cemetery, being held by two hussar troopers, the animals skittish as rain gave way to driving storms of hailstones. The crackle of musketry rang out. Keithen’s men had started to warm to their work.
The balance of the skirmish company had little choice. Fix bayonets, move fast, hold their fire and make every shot count. Von Bomm turned, wiped the water away that was streaming down his face from his saturated bicorne and issued his commands.
Behind him the curses of men who skidded over slick cobbles through a wall of hail. A chunk of brown stained wooden window shuttering broke off, a yard above von Bomm’s head; another flash of musketry followed by the cry of a wounded man behind him but all other sounds were drowned out. The hussars would be reloading; with any luck the enemy had not kept any loaded carbines as a reserve.
The redcoats made the crossroads at just the same moment that the cavalry column emerged from the tight street that led from the bridge. For a brief second, both groups of men looked at one another in mild surprise. Von Bomm close enough to hold the bridle of the hussar trumpeter that rode next to the officer who led the cavalry column. The trumpeter shifted his wax jacket to sound the instructions of the officer who was already kicking his horse in the right flank to wheel it left.
Von Bomm saw the ornate patterns of lace on the blue riding trousers; the neat regimental number ‘Five’ stamped into a rolled saddle cloth; the glimpse of white pelisse under grey wax riding cloak; the tall, elegant blue and black mirliton head-dress and the look of shock as the trumpeter raised a bugle to his lips. Two red explosions shook the man’s body and threw him back, dead, into the next rank of horsemen.
More muskets cracked: three more hussars fell.
Packed into the confined space between the stone buildings, horses and riders panicked. The hussar officer wheel his horse and ride straight at von Bomm. The horse took flight at the very moment that the rider threw his body weight into the downward stroke and the blade clattered harmlessly above von Bomm as he ducked. Muskets erupted; men cursed as other Brown Bess weapons misfired.
A wounded horse careered down the street causing redcoats to dive for cover. More cavalrymen surged forward to clear the claustrophobic death-trap that the narrow road threatened to become. Von Bomm slashed wildly at the head of a horse, seeing a stream of blood arch high from the wounded animal which writhed in pain and pulled to its right further constricting the roadway.
Within seconds the hussars had broken. Five horses lay dead or dying in the street, along with as many Frenchmen. The hailstorm that had given way to heavy rain returned, bouncing off the outstretched gloved left hand of the French trumpeter, his brass instrument hanging by rich silk thread.
The skirmish captain pressed himself hard against the stonework of the building then carefully peered around the corner to watch the flight of the hussars. The cavalry had wheeled sharply to the left. Beyond them, another column of horsemen waited and then turned to follow the passage of the hussars. No doubt the enemy would encircle the village and approach from behind the church.
There was no time to wait. Von Bomm stood up in the centre of the street so his redcoats could see him and pointed towards the few enemy soldiers who remained in the in the grave-yard.
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The King’s Germans is a project that has been many years in the making. Currently I manage to juggle writing and research around a crowded work and family life. The Black Lions of Flanders (set in 1793) is the first in the King’s Germans’ series, which will follow an array of characters through to the final book in Waterloo. The King of Dunkirk will soon be released and I hope that the response to that is as encouraging as the reviews of Black Lions have been.
While I’m self-published now, I have an excellent support team that help me to produce what I hope is a story with professional feel, and that readers would want to read more than once. My family back-ground is in paperback book sales, so I’m very keen to ensure that the paperback design is something that I would be proud to put on my bookshelf.
I live in just outside of Tavistock, in Devon where I enjoy walking on the moors and the occasional horse-riding excursion as both inspiration and relaxation.
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