AcreGrundner's fourth book in his Sir Sydney Smith's series starts after Nelson's victory at the Nile and describes the siege of Acre, using both historical fact and the fictional threads that have run throughout his series. It is not light reading: a story told about such a grisly event is hardly likely to be, and several of the key historical characters come out covered in anything other than glory. The pace is fast and captivating however, and some well placed humour and adroit focusing on the fictional element of the narrative make it an enjoyable and stimulating read. An unusually large proportion of the book is taken up by the author's notes, in which Grundner gives more detail about the events (and explains why a few had been placed out of context in the narrative).

The consequences to the Nile have not been covered in HNF as fully as the battle itself; Acre does much to address this, and certainly it is a story worth telling. Grunder's affection for Sir Sydney is obvious and, bearing in mind Smith's treatment before, during and after the siege, also understandable. Certainly fans of Nelson and the established naval command of the time will find some of the events related hard to accept.

Although one of a series, Acre does not depend heavily on previous books, and stands alone very comfortably. It is a book that gives an invaluable insight into a neglected, but crucial incident of the Revolutionary War: I recommend it.

Description of: Acre

Author: Tom Grundner

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