Britannia’s Gamble: The Dawlish Chronicles March 1884 – February 1885 by Antione Vanner

It’s 1884. A fanatical Islamist revolt is sweeping all before it in the vast wastes of the Sudan and establishing a rule of persecution and terror. Only the city of Khartoum holds out, its defence masterminded by a British national hero, General Charles Gordon. His position is weakening by the day and a relief force, crawling up the Nile from Egypt, may not reach him in time to avert disaster.

But there is one other way of reaching Gordon…

A boyhood memory leaves the ambitious Royal Navy officer Nicholas Dawlish no option but to attempt it. The obstacles are daunting – barren mountains and parched deserts, tribal rivalries and merciless enemies – and this even before reaching the river that is key to the mission. Dawlish knows that every mile will be contested and that the siege at Khartoum is quickly moving towards its bloody climax.

Outnumbered and isolated, with only ingenuity, courage and fierce allies to sustain them, with safety in Egypt far beyond the Nile’s raging cataracts, Dawlish and his mixed force face brutal conflict on land and water as the Sudan descends into ever-worsening savagery. And for Dawlish himself, one unexpected and tragic event will change his life forever…

Britannia’s Gamble is a desperate one. The stakes are high, the odds heavily loaded against success. Has Dawlish accepted a mission that can only end in failure – and worse?

This is the sixth volume of the Dawlish Chronicles historical naval fiction series – action and adventure set in the age of transition from sail to steam in the last decades of the 19th Century. It can be enjoyed as part of the series or as a standalone story. Britannia’s Gamble is more than a naval thriller, or a tale of war and military conflict, for it continues the story of Nicholas Dawlish, a Royal Navy officer who is more familiar with steam, breech-loaders and torpedoes than with sails, carronades and broadsides.


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