THE DRUMS OF WAR by Roy Clews

THE DRUMS OF WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Historical melodrama, with the same crude crackle as Clews' The Valiant and the Damned (I 976). Young Corporal Jethro Stanton is comfortable in the militia of the home guard back in England when he's among the troops called to fight with Wellington against Napoleon on the Spanish Peninsula. Jethro's camp-following commonlaw wife Sarah doesn't want him to enlist for the foreign war-she might get left behind--but through the benevolence of lustful Captain Daniel Baby, she is granted space on the ship. So it's off to the war, where Jethro--whose social conscience dictates that he must prove his own combat mettle before presuming to be a leader--proves a coward tn his first battle. And before he eventually redeems himself, he is taken prisoner, separated from Sarah (who is slowly being drawn toward Captain Baby), and attracted to beautiful Sophia Dennetry--whose horrible rape he is forced to watch. At last, Captain Baby is blinded and Sarah chooses to care for him, while Jethro receives a battlefield commission for his ultimate heroism and becomes engaged to Sophia. Properly gory scenes on battlefield and in hospital, overdrawn characters and stock situations, but a bit more grit and realistic scratch than in more romanticized derring-do's.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1979
Publisher: St. Martin's