The year is 1884. A fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and establishing a rule of persecution and terror. Only the city of Khartoum holds out, its defence masterminded by a British national hero, General Charles Gordon. His position is weakening by... show more
The year is 1884. A fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and establishing a rule of persecution and terror. Only the city of Khartoum holds out, its defence masterminded by a British national hero, General Charles Gordon. His position is weakening by the day and a relief force, crawling up the Nile from Egypt, may not reach him in time to avert disaster. But there is one other way of reaching Gordon… A boyhood memory leaves the ambitious Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish no option but to attempt it. The obstacles are daunting – barren mountains and parched deserts, tribal rivalries and merciless enemies – and this even before reaching the river that is key to the mission. Dawlish knows that every mile will be contested and that the siege at Khartoum is quickly moving towards its bloody climax.
Outnumbered and isolated, with only ingenuity, courage and fierce allies to sustain them, with safety in Egypt far beyond the Nile’s raging cataracts, Dawlish and his mixed force face brutal conflict on land and water as the Sudan descends into ever-worsening savagery. And for Dawlish himself, one unexpected and tragic event will change his life forever...
'Britannia’s Gamble' is a desperate one. The stakes are high, the odds heavily loaded against success. Has Dawlish accepted a mission that can only end in failure – and worse? This is the sixth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles historical naval fiction series – action and adventure set in the age of transition from sail to steam in the last decades of the 19th Century. It can be enjoyed as part of the series or as a stand alone story.
'Britannia’s Gamble' is more than a naval thriller, or a tale of war and military conflict, for it continues the story of Nicholas Dawlish, a Royal Navy officer who is more familiar with steam, breech-loaders and torpedoes than with sails, carronades and broadsides.
Other volumes in this naval fiction series - Britannia's Wolf, Britannia's Reach, Britannia's Shark, Britannia's Spartan and Britannia's Amazon, chart Dawlish's rise in the Royal Navy. As a boy in the late 1850s he joined a service still commanded by veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. But now, in the early 1880s, sail is yielding to steam, new technologies are creating new weapons and established international power-balances are shifting.
Against the background of real historical events Dawlish has to confront challenges inconceivable to earlier generations of officers. Why this series? “I’ve enjoyed sea adventures since I was introduced to C.S. Forester’s Hornblower books when I was a boy,” says author Antoine Vanner , “and I’ve never tired since of stories of action and adventure by land and by sea. The Napoleonic era has however come to dominate the war and military fiction genre but the century that followed it was one no less exciting, an added attraction being the arrival and adoption of so much new technology. I’ve reflected this in the Dawlish Chronicles and for this reason I’m pleased that nautical author Joan Druett has described me as ‘The Tom Clancy of historical naval fiction.’ My novels have as their settings actual events of the international power-games of the period and real-life personalities usually play significant roles. 'Britannia’s Gamble' - in which General Charles Gordon is a key figure - is no exception."