3 out of 4 stars
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It was said that the sun never set in the British Empire. This is because the British had colonies in all the hemispheres. They were at the peak of their colonial glory during the 19th century. British soldiers played a key role in expanding the British territories. While many joined the army due to their patriotism or station in life, some opted to become soldiers when presented with the "Queen's hard bargain." Michael McGuire was one such Irish. Surprisingly, the discipline and decorum of the army suited him well.
The year is 1883. The Mahdists rose against the Egyptians in Sudan. They had been able to isolate General Gordon and his troops in Khartoum. The British arranged the Gordon Relief Expedition to rescue their beloved Chinese Gordon. Soldiers from all the regiments calomered to take part in this highly prestigious campaign. Seventeen-year-old Irish soldier, Michael McGuire, got the unique opportunity to join the campaign. Khartoum was located in the midst of the deserts. Practically, there was no road to Khartoum.
What will happen to Michael? Will he survive the scorching desert sun? Will he be able to prove his merit? Most importantly, will the Anglo-Egyptian Army be able to reach Khartoum where no roads lead?
In No Road to Khartoum, Nigel Seed takes us on a thrilling journey through the drenched Irish lanes, the congested streets of Cairo, and the blistering heat of Sudan. Set against the Mahdist uprising in Sudan, the book showcases the efforts made by the Anglo-Egyptian Army to regain their territories. I loved the way the author portrayed the valor exhibited by the Mahdist forces in the face of the British attacks. They did not have the discipline or the advanced weapons of the British. The only thing they had was their unflinching bravery. Seed depicts this with perfection. The author shows the hierarchy and corruption in the British Army along with the discipline and bravery of the soldiers. This gives us an accurate picture.
It is evident that No Road to Khartoum is a diligently researched book. I can say with guarantee that none of the facts stated in the book is fabricated. In the 'Factual Content' section, the author gives a detailed description of all the historical events that are shown in the book. I also like the way he includes a list of uncommon words right at the beginning of the book. I would like to mention that the book is penned in the Queen's English. This made the milieu of the 19th century more authentic.
I have to say that all the battles are amazingly described. The action in the fields and the behind the scene diplomacy intrigues the reader. I loved how Seed showed the gradual growth of importance of McGuire and his ragtag reconnaissance team. Michael truly did a great job training them. I would be remiss if I did not mention Haroun and Asif. The loyalty and valor shown by the Bedouins won my heart. One of my favorite scenes is when Haroun explains the reason for the Mahdist uprising and the Bedouins' reasons for not joining them.
I will rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I had to take off a star as I found more than ten errors in the book. Apart from the editing, I cannot find any other con in the book. A round of editing and proofreading would make it a perfect read.
No Road to Khartoum has a perfect mix of action, friendship, and romance. This makes it an ideal read for any fiction lover. I would love to read the second book of The Michael McGuire Trilogy. I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. People who like to read about army tactics would love this as well.
No Road To Khartoum
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