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Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite
Churchill's Gold, the second book in the Quintrell series by Clive Hawkswood, is an action-packed tale set during one of the darkest times of human history. Fresh from the relative success of his latest adventure, Captain Quintrell of the Belgian 11th Regiment de Ligne, together with his companions, must undertake a mission of the highest importance, one that can tip the war in their favor.
Military historical fiction is a hard thing to get right. You can have vivid characters that don't quite fit the era the author is trying to force them into. On the other hand, you can go the opposite route and have characters that become mere cardboard cutouts used to emphasize the historical setting the author is trying to showcase. Clive Hawkswood has made Quintrell a perfect character for his times. He is everything an anti-hero should be - brash, ruthless, and charismatic. He thrives in the backdrop of the First World War, and it is captivating to watch his suppressed humanity struggle against the inhumanity of war. There are many shades of honor and duty and Quintrell and his cohorts manage to express the nuances of men trying to do some good during evil times with fascinating realism. War is brutal, inscrutable and vicious, and luck is often the only thing that separates survivors from corpses. Hawkswood manages to capture the ever-present sense of danger and the uncertainty of every action taken by soldiers and non-combatants during war.
Churchill's Gold is filled with action and adventure, more than enough for casual late afternoon reading, yet it manages to imbue readers willing to think deeper with moments of introspection about morality, human nature and the horrors of conflict. A nostalgic read that reminded me so much of the Sharpe series, though the Quintrell novels are more polished, darker, and much more action-packed.