Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In other news. . .

 The ebook edition of my Civil War novel A Fine Likeness has been out a little less than three weeks. I’m busy finishing up a print edition before Christmas. This is important because a print magazine requested a review copy. They want print instead of an ebook so they can photograph it “in context”. Not sure what this means. Are they going to have some reenactors duking it out in the background?

In other news, we just moved into our new place in Santander, on the north coast of Spain. The top view is from my new home office, where I get a sweeping view of the bay. This should provide some inspiration! The photo below is taken from my son’s room, which looks out over the port. Hopefully this will instill the travel bug in him. National Geographic maps did it for me. He has a light-up globe, and that combined with this view should get him itching to travel. He already wants to join me the next time I visit Harar, Ethiopia. My wife likes the new place because it's within walking distance of her astronomy institute. No more long commutes!

We’ve been settling into Santander pretty quickly. I’ve been doing some hiking in the mountains and exploring the town’s nightlife. Also, my wife and I are preparing a photo exhibition of shots taken during last year’s road trip in Ethiopia and my shots of Somaliland.

I’m also on deadline to finish The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang—Jesse James and the Northfield Raid 1876, my next book for Osprey Publishing. I should be done by the end of the week. Tomorrow I’ll post some interesting tidbits from that research.

Another Osprey book, Armies of the Adowa Campaign 1896—The Italian Disaster in Ethiopia, has received its third five-star review. I’ve posted it below.

Excellent addition to the Osprey library

Armies of the Adowa Campaign, an account of Italian colonial defeat in Ethiopia in 1896, is an excellent addition to the Osprey library.

Any English-speaker with an interest in military history (or modeling, or miniatures) knows the Osprey canon. And knows that the quality of the various titles varies extensively. While (almost) never actually bad, there are many titles that are "just okay" while there are others that are outstanding. This is one of the latter.

The illustrations by Raffaele Ruggeri are very good (for the modelers and miniaturists), but what really sets this volume apart is the excellent account of the Adowa campaign itself. Sean McLachlan does a fine job of describing the historical background and then providing a vivid and detailed account of the fateful battle at Adowa itself. Similar to a prior reviewer's comment, this is one of the instances where Osprey has packed a good, though brief, campaign account into one of its slimmer Men-At-Arms series titles (viz Alexei Ivanov's volume on the Russo-Japanese War). The account clearly benefits from McLachlan's personal research at the remote battle site (a factor often missing from Osprey's weaker titles), enhanced with photographs of the terrain by the author which are included in the text.

Surprisingly little remembered today (outside of Ethiopia and Eritrea, one suspects), this battle was, as McLachlan points out, the third great contender (with Isandlwana in 1879, and Anual in 1921) for the title "greatest colonial defeat ever". Perhaps easiest thought of as the Italian version of the Little Big Horn.

Highly recommended, and an absolute must for anyone with a special interest in 19th Century European colonial warfare.


  1. Now that's a view!
    Hope you get the book ready in time and it's been successful so far.

  2. Some great window views. Santander sounds like an interesting place.

    There is so much history that most of us have no idea ever happened.

    Tossing It Out

  3. Santander is beautiful. It's part of the north coast of Spain, often called "Green Spain". Today we sat in an outdoor cafe eating rabas (calamari) in the sun. It was warm enough I could wear a t-shirt! Tomorrow might be cold and rainy, though. You never know here!


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