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Publisher's Summary

It is December 1878, and war looms on the horizon in South Africa. British high commissioner Sir Henry Bartle-Frere seeks to dismantle the powerful neighboring kingdom of the Zulus and uses an incursion along the disputed border as his justification for war. He issues an impossible ultimatum to the Zulu king, Cetshwayo, demanding he disband his armies and pay massive reparations. With a heavy heart, the king prepares his nation for war against their former allies.

Leading the invasion is Lieutenant General Sir Frederic Thesiger, Baron Chelmsford, a highly experienced officer fresh off a decisive triumph over the neighboring Xhosa tribes. He and Frere are convinced that a quick victory over the Zulus will negate any repercussions from the home government for launching what is, in essence, an illegal war.

Recently arrived to South Africa are newly recruited privates Arthur Wilkinson and Richard Lowe, members of C Company, 1/24th Regiment of Foot under the venerable Captain Reginald Younghusband. Eager for adventure, they are prepared to do their duty both for the empire and for their friends.

As Frere's ultimatum expires, the army of British redcoats and allied African auxiliaries crosses the uMzinyathi River at Rorke's Drift into Zululand. Ten days later the British and Zulus will meet their destiny at the base of a mountain called Isandlwana.

©2016 James M. Mace (P)2017 James M. Mace

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-02-2018

Well worth reading

While it didn't detract from the story too much , I found the use of a non British reader and his inaccurate pronunciation of some of the army ranks and place names irritating. However, I'm sure that American readers would feel the same of a British reader reading an American book.

The story itself however, is well written and well researched, relating how the ineptitude of a few led to an inglorious defeat of the British army despite the gallantry and discipline of the many.

Now on to read the follow on book 'Crucible of Honour - The Battle of Rorkes Drift'

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-03-2018

Isandlwana

This is a story I know well, but still manages to stir the emotions even after all these years.

So listening to a a semi dramatised version was an interesting experience. Quite hammy in parts and really hammering home the jeopardy of the situation.

Overall done really well, although my biggest issue was the narrators pronunciation of many place and character names. He quite literally butchered many names, I mean calling Lord Chelmsford, Lord Kelmsford, that’s such an awful error. But maybe that’s just me?
Of course I’ll have to listen to the Rorkes Drift story now!!!

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  • Kevin McSweeney
  • 23-11-2017

Brilliant

A Wonderful insight into a well known battle brilliantly told. The characters became very real.

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  • Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • 22-11-2017

The Greatest British Defeat Explained

Thoroughly engaging audio book, which compelled me to buy the follow on book 2. The battle at Isandlwana is well known and well documented; however, this book treats the subject with an air of personal empathy and deals with the two sides equally well both prior to, during and after the battle.

Overall the book is well presented and the story clearly compelling; its one shortfall may well be the performance, which I found a tiny bit overly theatrical at times (but I can only compliment Jonathan Waters on his reading).

The personal stories blended well with the objective of the book; and brought to light a couple of items that in the film "Zulu Dawn" that were not dealt with; and indeed highlighted some of the errors that are contained within that same film production. This book helps put the record straight from the point of view of the film production.

The language is crude but appropriate in places; and this is what gives the book that personal reflective tone rather than reading (or listening) to a non-fiction historical book.

Worth a listen; and not excessively long, so you will not get unduly tired of it.

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  • daniel c.
  • 06-11-2017

proud but sad.

really good listen , very disruptive. It puts you right in the middle of the fight. you know the outcome but you still think that some of the key lads are gonna make it. can't wait for the nxt one.

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  • MKat
  • 21-09-2017

Great Title

What did you like most about Brutal Valour: The Tragedy of Isandlwana?

Well researched book, Really puts you at the heart of the battle

What was one of the most memorable moments of Brutal Valour: The Tragedy of Isandlwana?

The descriptive details of the individual soldiers

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The build up to the battle

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

all of it

Any additional comments?

nil

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • pauldrums777
  • 31-07-2017

did not finish.

A pet preev of mine is a dishonest/fake accent and I seem to have a ear for it.
the narrator is clearly a yank trying to do some type of old upper class style southern english accent. rather than just telling the story with some drama and genuine interest in ones true daily speaking voice it felt like some kind of reading performance or act. sorry.
maybe audiobooks arn't for me. think I'll stick to Dan Carlin and good old printed books.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Groverover
  • 02-05-2017

Brilliant book.

This is a brilliant book about something I already know a lot about but thus has really personalised the events for me. The narrator is good except for the odd obvious word which you would assume everybody knows how to pronounce. The most obvious example is ' Trafalgar ' which the narrator rhymes with raffle car!!!!!!!!! Don't let the odd howler like this put you off. The story is great, and I will definitely be buying the sequel to this if the author writes one.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-04-2017

Eye opening

It was a great book which was authentic in the way it took me back in time. With humour, love, and action.