February 1793. King Louis XVI has been executed and the new Revolutionary Government of France declares war on the major powers of Europe. Drawn into the conflict, George III, ruler of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover has promised to send an army. In truth, there are few British redcoats to be spared and in this moment of national emergency, loyalty is demanded from the Hanoverian state. The King’s Germans are ill-prepared for such a command!
Private Sebastian Krombach, a young and idealistic recruit finds the army to be little of the life he supposed. He survives the harsh regime of training and camp life but the road to war is equally perilous. Short on promised pay and fresh food, the redcoats riot at Halle. Krombach finds himself under suspicion of involvement.
Captain Werner Brandt has promised his wife that he will resign his commission. But newly arrived Colonel Jacob Neuberg is a persuasive man and Brandt finds himself agreeing to leave the Grenadier company and assume command of troubled 2nd Company. Brandt’s support of the new colonel is vital as Neuberg is beset by powerful enemies at every turn. Leading his men, Brandt’s Company, into the fire and chaos of Rumes, he must the rescue 1st Grenadiers and his friend, Erich von Bomm.
When news of war arrives, Erich von Bomm is transferred to the ‘1st Grenadiers’ but trouble dogs him. His new promotion does not last long. Leopold Baumann arrives to assume the captaincy and seek vengeance against von Bomm over a supposed slight. Baumann’s Company is sent to the lonely outpost at Rumes where von Bomm disobeys Baumann’s direct order leaving the battle and his military career in the balance.
Interwoven into the Kings German’s preparations for war and their first action at Rumes story are a series of stories from the perspectives of allies and enemies alike.
Cornishman Stephen Trevethan is a British engineer sent to Holland to aid the Duke of York. Once there, Trevethan is instrumental in foiling the plot to storm the key fortress of Willemstadt. Trevethan strikes a ready friendship with the Commissary General Brookes Jackson, a Devonian. The bond between the pair strengthens as the unwelcome political interferences from London and distrust for their European allies deepen.
In Dunkirk, Jean-Baptiste Mahieu an experienced French soldier, leaves a violent town on the brink of starvation to join his new battalion, the ‘Black Lions’. The battalion is a mixture of veteran soldiers from the King’s army and new recruits pressed into the revolutionary cause. Mahieu quickly becomes a sergeant. Despite the political interfering from Paris and personal ambitions of General Dumouriez, he is pivotal in keeping his soldiers alive when the Black Lions are treated as expendable.
General Francois Dumouriez, a mercurial figure with ambitions beyond restoring the Bourbon monarchy, plans a campaign to drive the British from Holland, with the help of Serge Genet, his chief of intelligence. Mahieu’s brother, Arnaud a smuggler and captain of the Perseus, is drawn into General Dumouriez’ scheming. Involved in the failed attempt to capture a Dutch fort and drive the British from Holland Mahieu forms a strong friendship with a dragoon captain, Julian Beauvais.
Beauvais, who received a scarring facial wound in saving Dumouriez’ life has become part of the General’s inner circle and faces a growing realisation that Dumouriez’ lust for power is unlimited. The dragoon captain meets and falls in love with the beautiful Juliette, Countess of Marboré. Another of Dumouriez’ pawns, she is sent to help strike the alliance with Austria.
Friend and foe know one simple truth: trust your ally at your own peril.