Tom Connery,
Markham of the Marines #2: Honour Redeemed
(Regnery, 2000)

The second book in Tom Connery's Markham of the Marines series finds Lt. George Markham leading his men on an amphibious assault on San Fiorenzo, a French-occupied city on Corsica in the Mediterranean. His reputation for bravery, never solid among his superiors, takes a new hit when he delays his landing to rescue drowning Marines from another boat.

But Markham and his men don't spend a lot of time sieging the city. Rather, the scrappy band of Marines are sent on a special mission to find and enlist the aid of retired Corsican General Pasquale Paoli, whom the French hope to capture to forestall an island uprising.

Along the way, Markham will encounter old enemies and new betrayals. He'll also find himself allied -- unwillingly -- with a squad of local female soldiers.

Honour Redeemed is very solid with regards to action. Connery keeps the pace moving swiftly, placing Markham and his men in constant peril. Markham remains a competent and (mostly) likable character who leads his troops from the front lines.

The book suffers a bit with regards to the racist attitudes -- made manifest through the addition of a black soldier to the squad -- of many of its characters. While casual racism might be appropriate for the time, it makes for uncomfortable reading; Connery at least gives some of the characters a chance at redemption as the soldier proves to be a valuable addition to the team, a factor they slowly come to appreciate. The blatant sexism toward the female Corsican soldiers is equally realistic for the time and equally uncomfortable to read, especially since Markham shares his men's views and fails to make any great strides forward by the end.

Otherwise, the book is an exciting adventure, and I look forward to reading the third and final volume in the series.

book review by
Tom Knapp

27 January 2018

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