There used to be a picture of the Duke of Wellington and his staff, because one of the scarlet coats had to be Major George Hawkinville, part of the Quartermaster's division, and master of logistics. He was probably close to his boss, Colonel de Lancey, an interesting man with a romantic but ultimately tragic story. See if you can find a copy of In love and war : the De Lanceys at Waterloo by James B. Lamb.Your library or Inter Library Loan might be your best bet.
This mini-series links into the Company of Rogues books. Tongue-in-cheek, I call this series "Three Guys Called George" because they were all christened George. I don't know why that name has such dull connotations these days, since the George who slew the dragon is one of the great heroes.
Of course, in 18th and 19th century England, during the reigns of four King Georges, George was also a highly patriotic name, which is how my three guys ended up with the same name. They were all born at around the same time to neighboring families (must have been a wild party nine months before to celebrate the wedding of Sophronia Hawkinville to John Gervase, now Hawkinville.) This was also the thick of the French Revolution, when the French royal family was in dire straits. Of course the patriotic families decided to show their support of their monarchy by calling the three lads George.
George Hawkinville (back right, intelligent and cool)
George Vandeimen (front, center, and dramatic)
George Somerford.(back left, solid, reliable)
The three lads grew up almost like brothers, in and out of one another's houses, getting ponies at the same age and all that, but of course having the same name was rather awkward. They all wanted to be George -- George-the-dragon-killer -- but they decided that if they couldn't all be, none of them could, and chose other names. George Hawkinville became Hawk, George Vandeimen became Van, but George Somerford didn't like the sissy name Somer, so he took his nickname from his middle name, Connaught and became Con.
They don't spend all their young years together because their fathers insist on sending them to different school in their teens. That's how Con ends up at Harrow, meets Nicolas Delaney, and becomes one of the Rogues.
At 16 they all decided to join the army together. They originally intended to be in the same cavalry regiment, but Con soon decided he preferred the discipline and purpose of the infantry, and Hawk's brilliant mind for organization was recognized and he was snatched off to the Quartermaster General's Department. So, over ten years of the Napoleonic Wars, they didn't see a great deal of each other, but they ended up together at Waterloo, a gory battle that left a mark on each of them.
Speaking of marks, back when they were 16 they decided to have tattoos so that they'd have a better chance of finding each other's bodies after a battle. (Trust teenagers to think like that!) Hawk predictably has a Hawk, and Van a demon after the sound of his name. Con, however, surprised them by chosing a dragon, which to them had always been the symbol of evil and chaos. But then, Con had not been quite the same since a recent visit with his father and older brother to Crag Wyvern in Devon, which Con's older brother would one day inherit, along with the title, Earl of Wyvern. (And thereby hangs a tale, of course, the tale of The Dragon's Bride.)
So now, in 1816, war over and battles survived, they are back in the environs of the Sussex village of Hawk in the Vale, but all is not well. Van's family has died from various causes, the last death being his father's suicide, leaving the estates impoverished. Con's father and older brother are dead, leaving him first Lord Amleigh and then Earl of Wyvern. He could have coped with this better if Waterloo had not hit him so hard, especially the death of his fellow Rogue, Lord Darius Debenham, an enthusiastic volunteer whom Con had tried to keep safe. Hawk is the one who would have been glad of his father's death, for John Gervase, having married to gain Hawkinville Manor, mistreated his wife and son, but Squire Hawkinville is still alive. What's more he has managed to acquire the title of Lord Deveril -- a name despised throughout England -- and in the process mortgage Hawkinville Manor to a man who intends to tear it down. The only hope is for Hawk to prove that the young woman who inherited the late Lord Deveril's fortune -- The Devil's Heiress -- is a murderess and thief.
If ever the Georges needed one another it is now, but the stresses of the years hold them apart until love begins to break down the walls.
The three stories are:
The Demon's Mistress in IN PRAISE OF YOUNGER MEN (NAL March 2001)
Read an excerpt here.
THE DRAGON'S BRIDE (NAL May 2001)
Read an excerpt here.
THE DEVIL'S HEIRESS (NAL Aug 2001)
Read an excerpt here.
You can find out more about Clarissa Greystone, the "Devil's Heiress" in An Unwilling Bride. An Unwilling Bride was reissued in December 2000, and it follows on loosely from An Arranged Marriage, which was reissued in November 1999.
To be notified when this omnibus edition is out, and about other new and reissued books,