This is a stirring and gripping read. David Gaughran has chosen to write about an epic time in history, the long and tragic wars for independence in South America. His book is huge in scope and ambition. It takes place over a number of years and with a vast geographical area. It has a large cast of characters who seem at first to have nothing in common.
What they do have in common, however, is that they will become part of General San Martin’s herculean effort to free the continent from the Spanish yoke.
San Martin is a brave choice for a protagonist. He was aloof and taciturn and lacked the charisma of his fellow liberator, Simon Bolivar. Such a hero is a challenge for any novelist and Gaughran rightly chooses to people his novel with other, more vivid characters to help enliven scenes with the General.
These characters stay in the imagination. We travel with them through the terror and trauma of war. The heroism of these times of courage and sacrifice is bought vividly to life.
This is Gaughran’s debut novel and, goodness, it is an impressive debut. I eagerly await to read more from him.