There have been a handful of these books now, but the bonus is that you don’t need to have read any of them to make sense of the next. The Crogan dynasty stretches across history and geography, with ancestors being pirates, gunfighters and, as here, a legionnaire.
Prefaced by the contemporary Crogan descendent telling takes of historical exploits to his children, the adventure moves swiftly to North Africa and 1912. Schweizer is clearly a history nut and immediately immerses us in the bleak and difficult existence of these desperate soldiers under an unrelenting sun. Occasionally slapstick and with a heavy dose of humour, there is still a raw edge of truth and an unflinching focus on the troubles the legionnaires face. Not least of these is the moral dilemma of imposing another country’s will, standards and culture on the people of another.
What I found to be remarkably effective was the coupling of Schweizer’s loose, dynamic style with the heavy story beats. It somehow made the characters more relatable, not too dissimilar to Cinebook’s The Bluecoats.
Schweizer plans to do a lot of these books, and I tip my hat to him if he can manage just half of the characters presented in the Crogan family tree. Regardless, each book is an individual treat you can savour for itself.
And if you liked that: There are more books to enjoy, so Google Schweizer’s name and enjoy.