Napoleon's Blackguards-A Story of Courage and Adventure, Sacrifice and Loss.

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Map of Spain showing major battles in the novel and the British line of retreat to Corunna

Napoleon’s Blackguards - the first novel written on the Irish Legion of Napoleon - is a cracking adventure story, meticulously researched and based on real events. Poised to become one of the great war novels of the period, it's a must-read for fans of Bernard Cornwell, C.S. Forester and Simon Scarrow. The book contains, perhaps some of the most vivid and unflinchingly graphic depictions of war’s bloody effects written during the Napoleonic Wars.

Spain 1808.

Napoleon’s Blackguards introduces Captain James Ryan—brutally courageous, but haunted by the horrors of war. Wanted by the British for his part in the 1798 Irish Rebellion, he escapes to France and joins Napoleon’s Irish Legion. The Irish Legion’s reputation as the most hard-fighting and ill-disciplined unit in the French Army has been hard-earned, for they comprise a motley crew of blackguards, deserters, and others escaping the long hand of the law, all led by a band of former Irish rebels.            

Ryan’s Irish battalion deploys to Spain during the Peninsular War, a war that draws England into the conflict to oust the invading French from the Iberian Peninsula. When the British army arrives in Spain, they are faced with a much larger French force led by Napoleon himself, and are forced to retreat, fighting a desperate rearguard action to reach Corunna to ship them Dunkirk-style back to England. 

An albino, Captain Darkford of the 4th Light Dragoons who murdered Ryan’s family, is among them. Ryan and his band of renegades play their favorite Irish ballads, as they pursue the evil Darkford. Ryan must have his revenge. Will he have time to catch his implacable enemy before the British slip away?


'McGarry tells a great revenge story set among the Irish soldiers who fought for Napoleon. Compelling characters, exciting scenes and a fascinating fictional ride through a refreshingly different aspect of the Napoleonic Wars.' Tim Newark, author of The Fighting Irish.

'At long last! A novel that focuses on the significant Irish contribution to the extraordinary success of Napoleon's army, set against the backdrop of The Peninsular War. Napoleon's Blackguards is a pacy, sharp-shooting, vengeance-fueled ode to an age of deadly duels, cavalry charges, cocked hats and musketry.' Turtle Bunbury, best-selling author and historian


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Selected as an Irish Times Best Book of 2014

The history
of the Wild Geese including the Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, and Napoleon's Irish Legion.
Covering the period from King James II's reign of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1685, until the disbandment of the Irish Brigades in France and Spain, this book looks at the origins, formation, recruitment, and the exploits of the Irish regiments, including their long years of campaigning from the War of the Grand Alliance in 1688 right through to the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. What emerges is a picture of the old-fashioned virtues of honor, chivalry, integrity and loyalty, of adventure and sacrifice in the name of a greater cause


'Not since O'Callaghan's History of the Irish Brigades in France ... has there been such a comprehensive compilation of the Irish Brigades who fought across the Continent ... making it every historian's must-have book in the Irish Brigades.' An Cosantoir, The Irish Defence Forces Magazine.
'McGarry has produced an interesting read and his style is certainly more enjoyable than O'Callaghan's ...  Especially interesting is his account of the Brigade's participation in failed Jacobite efforts to restore the Stuarts to the throne ...'History Scotland                                  
'The book has become the first stand-alone history written in nearly 150 years...and looks at subjects including the Flight of the Wild Geese, the Jacobite Risings, the French Revolution and Napoleon's Irish Legion.'
'Irish Brigades Abroad provides a valuable insight into the human experiences associated with the art and science of the profession of arms... deepens our understanding of the important role played by Irish soldiers [in the period]... an exceptional piece of work.' Military Heritage of Ireland Trust.