Heart of Oak by David Cook is a captivating book that I enjoyed very much This is Historical Fiction at its best I m a bug for research When an author tells me something that I know from my own research, or from personal experience, is just plain WRONG, it throws me right out of the story I regard such clinkers as a violation of the compact between author and reader and I hate it when someone breaks a solemn promise to me.That s one of the things I like best about David Cook s work he does his homework, and never violates the unwritten contract between us that I will suspend my disbelief, and he will not make me regret that decision.I also like his feel for the period in the case of Heart of Oak, the Napoleonic era I like his choice of heroes Here, it s Simon Gamble, a British Captain of Marines, haunted by the battlefield horrors of the Siege of Acre, yet bound by duty to Crown and Country and, importantly to him, to the men under his command to lead his band of veterans in a daring foray behind enemy lines to capture a key fortress in the fight against the Napoleonic French occupation of Malta.The plot is straightforward The action is not And Gamble is a classically British soldier not the stiff upper lip Etonian variety, but the coarser, commoner kind The kind who hates everything about the aristocracy he serves but serves it anyway. It Is December And Captain Of Marines Simon Gamble Has Been Sent Behind Enemy Lines To Capture An Impregnable Fortress Called Dominance On The Maltese Island Of GozoGamble Must Lead His Lightly Armed Men Against The Prime Veteran Soldiers Of France, In A Daring And Brutal Fight Where There Can Only Be One Winner Success Means Freedom For The Gozitans From Their French Oppressors Failure Means The Marines Face An Unmarked Grave On Foreign SoilA Hero And A Soldier To Some, But Certainly No Gentleman, Gamble Battle Scarred And Haunted By The Horrific Bloodshed At The Siege Of Acre Prior To This Mission, Must Fight A New Guileful Enemy, Even If The Price Means Death Or DishonourThis Is Gamble S Toughest Fight Yet, And One He Knows He Cannot Afford To FailFor The Ultimate Battle Will Be For RevengeHeart Of Oak, Is An Authentic Historical Story Set During The Liberation Of The Maltese Islands, The Second Novella In The Soldier Chronicles Series The second in the historical series The Soldier Chronicles A series which I m really excited about to be honest.Captain Simon Gamble who is a brave warrior of a man, a professional soldier and not so much of a gentleman But then fighting the French during wartime who wants to be Gamble is tasked with his company of tough marines to take a series of strongholds on the Maltese island of Gozo Its a chapter of our British history that I didn t know much about, so this was a pleasure to read A simple mission No, because that would be boring.Gamble is deeply troubled by a previous mission set during the siege of Acre a few months before this story A friend of his was killed, and HEART OF OAK see s him suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress It is quite refreshing to see a new action hero with foibles and fears It is told well and doesn t detract from the story.The fighting scenes are done very well again as well written as Mr Cook s first story LIBERTY OR DEATH which I reviewed.I really felt as though I was there climbing the ladders, smoke wreathed around my body, stinging my eyes and smelling the blood and powder.Very enjoyable, not as amazing as LIBERTY OR DEATH, because I found that refreshingly original HEART OF OAK is fast paced throughout In fact I devoured it this afternoon and will read again tonight.A good story and I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in British Maltese history. This is the second novella in David Cook s The Soldier Chronicles series I love history Here s the premise1799, British Captain Gamble and his company of Marines attempt to liberate the Maltese Islands from the iron grip of the French who took it in their quest for glory.The plot is simple It revolves around Gamble s mission of freeing the island of Gozo, which leads to the French stronghold, the last bastion to freedom This is an enjoyable quick read for a summer afternoon The historical events battles are well researched and there is plenty of gory scenes, action packed events, fast paced, in some parts it is easy to side with the villain in the fight for his cause.HEART OF OAK is a thundering, swashbuckling tale that will get your blood pumping. I follow David on twitter and the facebook page so had to buy it from the advertisement of the new story What i liked was the book cover Its very striking and sums up the feel very well.Is it as good as the first series opener set in Ireland Yes, it damned well is I really enjoyed this story about a marine officer and his trusty men sent behind enemy lines to liberate the Maltese from the French.I m a big fan of the Kydd series and anything by A Kent, so I have added this into the same vein Good crafting of the story, another novella, but with a satisfactory end I actually liked Tessier, the rotten Frenchman, so was enthralled in the final confrontation set in valletta which gives it a good conclusion I hope I read about Gamble because there s scope for The Nile, Trafalgar and possibly what is hinted in the novella, The Siege of Acre.I m really enjoying the series and I can see novella 3 will be about the Flanders campaign of 1793 1795. This was my first historical book I have ever read that didn t involve bodice s ripping from the amount of creamy white cleavage This novella was fast paced, with descriptions that had me enthralled in the story immediately The characters were developed very well, and I found myself tense during the battles hoping that they survived The author did a fantastic job researching the events, and making the story as authentic as possible I was amazed how quickly I read through this book, and was surprised how fast I was able to get through it The ending did not disappoint, and I felt vindicated with the characters I highly recommend this book to anyone that has a proclivity for history. Engrossing Historical Drama Gamble must lead his lightly armed men against the prime veteran soldiers of France, in a daring and brutal fight where there can only be one winner A well written historical novel An absolute must read Of course I love it Being a lover of Historical Fiction and having been dazzled by, David Cook s, Liberty or Death, I swooped in to buy Heart of Oak, hoping for the same calibre of writing I m very happy to say that not only was I not disappointed in this book but that it surpassed my expectations This is a seriously good author with well researched and entertaining books on offer His lyrical prose and hard hitting dialogue has captivated me and I am really looking forward to reading a giant sized book of his in the future.Captain of Marines Simon Gamble is a credible character, filled with thoughts of revenge and desire to wipe memories he would rather not have If you want to know what the story is about, you will not hear it from me Let s just say that this late 18th Century tale about Malta, the British, the French and their battles to win the Island, was engrossing and action packed from beginning to end. This is David Cook s second offering in The Soldier Chronicles series about the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods One thing I particularly like about Mr Cook s books is that they are unpredictable, and each one is an engrossing and riveting read on its own They provide the reader with snapshots of fighting men of the period and each story is unique and gives the reader a different perspective on the life and times of these men.HEART OF OAK is a good example of this It begins with two distinct situations Capt Gamble and the Marines attempting to liberate the Maltese Islands and Gamble s struggle with grief over the death of a friend, killed in a previous action some months prior From Cook s heart rending description of Gamble s inner turmoil, it is apparent that he is suffering from PTS syndrome Others are suffering as well, most notably Marine Crouch In addition, I really liked the way Cook portrayed Gamble s closest friends, Powell and Lt Kennedy the humor, banter and language seemed very authentic Note I hope Cook writes about the Siege of Acre in the next in this series.This is an extremely well crafted novella The writing style is comfortable and enticing and it is easy to get lost in the tale The attack on the fort and aftermath were very well written I could almost smell the blood and powder smoke from the muskets and could visualize the resulting horrible wounds.In addition, the characters come off as vivid and real Lorn Mullone and Sergeant Cahill from Cook s other work, LIBERTY OR DEATH, are prime examples of this, and carry on from eBook to eBook Cook s villains also leap off the page you could really visualize Capitaine Tessier and feel his ire The finale of the novella was riveting a chase through the streets of Valletta like a thriller than a historical piece.David Cook is truly a new voice in historical fiction and HEART OF OAK is an absorbing masterpiece that deserves a fan base Give it a try I know you won t be disappointed.