I have wanted to publish a novel for many years and although my mind was bubbling with ideas none appealed to me sufficiently to make the time to write it. I then read "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, a splendid telling of the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. The story is told from the viewpoint of those who took part in the battle. I was intrigued by the structure of the book and it inspired me to put aside the time to write my own novel. Fortunately I had the prefect subject to hand. The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) has always held a fascination for me, especially the Battle of Paardeberg, which was, arguably, the turning point of the war. What intrigued me was why the British commander, Lord Roberts, a man of reputed enormous compassion towards his men, put them through such torment in a forced march of over one hundred miles across South African semi-desert and why the Boer General Cronjé responded in the way he did. It was the decisions and actions of these two men during the prosecution of this particular battle that were to change the direction of the war. My debut novel Paardeberg: Lord Robert’s Gambit is my attempt to understand the thoughts, values and convictions of some of those involved in the battle and to write down their story. Of French Huguenot stock, I was born in Kitwe, Zambia and spent most of my childhood in South Africa. I now live in England.
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The Battle of Paardeberg: Lord Roberts' Gambit
In the first months of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) the British suffered a series of catastrophic defeats. In response the British initiated an audacious manoeuvre to outflank the Boer army which sat astride the route to the besieged town of Kimberley. The move culminated in one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war, the Battle of Paardeberg. Would it be the British or the Boers who prevailed?
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