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An Infamous Army (Alastair-Audley #4)

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  2,228 ratings  ·  175 reviews

Brussels is a lively place to be in 1815, and red-haired widow Lady Barbara Childe is at the centre of the social whirl. However, the city was a nest of intrigue --Napoleon threatened Europe--but the talk was only of this dazzling and tempestuous young. Every brilliant ball, supper, and concert in the feverish spring seemed to bring her a new con
Published December 1966 by William Heinemann Ltd (first published 1937)
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Although I had read three other Georgette Heyer novels before this one, those were all detective stories, instead of the historical romances that she's more well-known for. I found this one in a bookstore a few weeks ago and thought that it would be a good introduction to Heyer's other body of work - although her mysteries aren't the best I've ever read, her characters are always well-formed and the writing is witty and clever, so I was looking forward to seeing how she applied this skill to ano ...more
This is exactly the bracing kind of story I needed. Jolly good fun, as the general population of characters in this book would say. Georgette Heyer has always been good at adventure stories set amongst the British upper class, but in this she has far outdone herself. Her research is astounding. The second half of the book largely consists of an enormously through (about 150 pages long) play by play account of the battle of Waterloo, and its' immediate lead up and aftermath. Heyer seems to know e ...more
Jane Stewart
I read Heyer for romance. This book was not what I expected. Too much military and hard to understand.

I think it might be better to READ this book rather than LISTEN to it as an audiobook. It was hard to understand all the military planning and battle action. I needed to see diagrams and pictures. It was also hard to follow the various officers’ names by listening as opposed to reading. I understand the author did a lot of research in order to be accurate about the “Battle of
Kenny Sellen
This was the first book I have ever read that was written by Georgette Heyer. I can see why her work is so loved. It was very well written and much attention was given to detail, which I always enjoy. She put much work it into it while still allowing me to use my imagination to a point that was satisfactory for me!

While I'm far from an expert on the Duke of Wellington or Waterloo, I still think the military aspects of the story were very well written and appreciate the research Heyer put into i
This was possibly Georgette Heyer's greatest book. Her research into the battle of Waterloo was so detailed and accurate that it is on the recommended reading list for officer cadets at Sandhurst. Even if you're not into battles (and you can easily skip these sections) there's plenty more here, not just the usual love story but an amazing telling of how the citizens of the town coped with the influx of wounded, the fear, the honourable and dishonourable behaviour of people in a war zone. When We ...more
As a child, I read lots of Georgette Heyer Regency romances, but as an older teenager turned to fantasy and other genres. It wasn't until recently that I discovered her two novels of the Napoleanic wars, "The Spanish Bride" and "An Infamous Army." Both have incredible historic detail. She said in her forward to one of these books that she had read every diarist (English soldiers) of these wars, in addition to all Wellington's dispatches.
I loved this book. Of course, keep in mind that I am a serious fan/student of the Napoleonic era. This is an in depth look at the Battle of Waterloo. I recommend this book at work to men who read the Richard Sharpe novels of Bernard Cornwell and the Jack Aubrey novels of Patrick O'Brian. The romance is not the central element of the story, and what there is, is relatively low key. In other words, not enough to make a guy think he's reading a romance. There is a lot of battle tactics here. It is ...more
This is the love story of the scandalous Bab Childe and her Colonel Charles Audley... but not really. It's a story about learning to be self aware, and how times of struggle and strengthen and mature a person.... kind of. This is about how frivolous people can be in times of impending doom.... in a way. This is really the story of the battle of Waterloo..... but not really that either.

Ugh! Apparently this is one of the most historically accurate tellings of the Battle of Waterloo in all of fict
Hannah Cobb
I have to admit I read this Heyer just because it continues the Alistair storyline. I found An Infamous Army to be both more and less than These Old Shades and Devil's Cub; An Infamous Army is (rather to my surprise) largely an account of the battle of Waterloo. On the plus side, I learned a lot about the major players in this famous historical conflict--though from what I've gleaned it looks like Heyer lifted a lot of Wellington's dialogue straight from various primary sources of that period. T ...more
An Infamous Army was the novel Georgette Heyer was most proud of. It tells the story of a romance set during Waterloo. Heyer is famous for her attention to detail and her research but in this book she absolutely surpassed herself in learning every detail of the the circumstances leading up to Waterloo and of the battle itself. At one point, the book was studied at Sandringham for its excellent descriptions of the battle. Unfortunately, this book just did not work for me. I applaud its ambition b ...more
Susan Ferguson
I love Georgette Heyer and so love all of her books. But this one is extra special. It's not only the 3rd in the Alistair series, but the sequel to Regency Buck. In fact, it begins with Judith and Julian Worth in Brussells with their child and Judith's brother Peregrine and his wife Harriet and their children. The Worths are in Brussells at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and Napoleon has escaped from Elba and is trying to regain his empire. The Royalists in France have fled to Brussells and eve ...more
Jan 03, 2010 Hazel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hazel by: David
Dec 20th
This is an interesting combination of historical romance and detailed history. So far, I'm not too impressed with the love story. The hero is unremarkable. Well, you know, he's a brave and principled and dutiful officer, as you'd expect. And he's tall and handsome, too. Yawn. The leading lady is remarkable for the emotional maturity and self-control of a two-year-old. It's love-at-first-sight, essentially, with no apparent reason for the attachment, and no sense so far, of a developing r
What did I know about the battle of Waterloo prior to reading this novel? Nothing. Nothing at all. I didn't even know who the Duke of Wellington was! But thanks to this wonderful masterpiece by Heyer, I now feel a lot more educated!:) This was just brilliant. The main character, Captain Audley, was in my opinion extremely appealing and the wonder is that he fell in love so quickly with the outrageous Lady Barbara. Bab was an excellent character (and in true Alastair fashion, incredibly notorious ...more
This is a strange hybrid of a romance novel and a detailed historical account of the Battle of Waterloo. Very detailed. I read a biography of Wellington not long ago, so I'm slightly familiar with the relevant people and events, and Heyer was still throwing out the names of people, places and regiments faster than I could process them.

The scenes with Wellington were very nice, and supposedly every bit of his dialogue comes from his letters or recorded conversations. I enjoyed the accounts of the
This was really in between 2 and 3 stars for me.
The first half of the book even barely made it to 2 stars. I liked finding back the characters from the previous book, Regency Buck. But I kept thinking "why did the nice and friendly fall in love with such an awful shrew?", because to say the least, the heroine, Barbara has absolutely nothing to defend herself. I kept wondering what horrific events had happened in her previous marriage to make her so disillusioned, so waspish, so cruel. Well, noth
Kat Powell
Wow. I expected this to be romance story with a little bit of war thrown in but in reality it's a war story with a love story thrown in for good measure.

I knew nothing of Waterloo, apart from the outcome and that it involved the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, which I suspect was all I remembered from reading Vanity Fair as I didn't learn anything about it at school. But apparently Heyer's description is historically spot on. I admit it was hard going, I admit I skimmed the war scene
June 2015 Georgette Heyer group read.
This was a difficult book for me. For starters, I didn't go into it expecting (as I should have) such a strong focus on Waterloo and the war; I was expecting perhaps more focus on the war than in other Heyer books, but still primarily a romance novel. This is not that. This is primarily a story of the war, with a romance on the side.

There are characters that are mentioned briefly, painted in hasty strokes, then referred to later with the full expectation that you'll remember them. There are wei
2012 SOA Listening Challenge: Historical 1/4

Part romance and part history, this is a truly incredible novel. I listened to the entire 15 hours over two days. I couldn't stop. I have put off listening to this book for a couple of years because I was afraid I'd find the details of the battles boring, but I needn't have worried. It's true I was a little overwhelmed at times by the sheer amount of information presented, but I was always fascinated. Even when I w
Maggie Craig
I didn't think there was anything more to be said about the incomparable Georgette Heyer and her Regency novels. I was wrong. An Infamous Army has all the usual wonderful components: the spirited heroine and the irresistible hero, the sparkling dialogue, the entertaining cast of characters who interact with and circle around the main lovers, the sumptuous clothes and the way GH used her deep knowledge of those and other aspects of the period. She gave us a treat too, showing us Dominic and Mary ...more
Kathy Davie
Not one of my favorites even if half of it is about the warm-up to the Battle at Waterloo between Napoleon and Wellington. In this particular story, Colonel Charles Audley (Lord Worth’s brother and Judith Taverner’s brother-in-law; Regency Buck) is smitten with Lady Barbara Childe, the granddaughter of the Duke of Avon, Dominic Alistair (Devil’s Cub) when he meets her on a dance floor in Brussels.

Bab Childe has a bad reputation and Judith is horrified at the thought of Lady Barbara ruining Charl
. Heyer's forte was historical research and it really shines through in this book. The last 1/3 of the novel consists of a detailed play by play description of the Battle of Waterloo complete with troop movements and every gory death exactly as it occurred. What happens to the characters during the battle is blended in with the real-life events and will keep the reader turning pages until the fictional history is resolved. Lady Barbara is entirely unlikeable in most of the novel. She's the femin ...more
This book tells the story of the eve of Waterloo. Several relationships are tracked in it with the usual intricacies and misunderstandings found in romance novels. But also it provides fascinating insight into the feelings in Brussels after Napoleon escaped from exile on Elba. Scenes of heroism and cowardliness, pain and glory, love and friendship are all intermixed with the story of the Duke of Wellington and the days before the final show down between the Duke and Napoleon . . . and the days a ...more
This must have been a real labor of love for Georgette Heyer. The book is a combination of the kind of romance she's known for, detailed aristocratic world, and a play by play enactment of the Battle of Waterloo. The battle definitely stands alongside other literary descriptions like the one in Les Mis. In Heyer's version you get a real sense of how these noblemen bring their drawing room personalities onto the battlefields. Even at their lowest moments, they never lose their wit--though without ...more
Michael Spring
You can hear the bodices being ripped at a hundred paces, but this is epically readable stuff. Lady Bab has every man in Brussels in thrall, while her paramour goes off to fight Napoleon at Waterloo. Her research is impeccable (the best of the British cavalry was in America, guarding Canada) and her description of the battle is as it should be - breathtaking, gob-smacking, poignant.
This one has some fun moments that shine. I really liked revisiting Judith and Worth, Regency Buck is one of my favorites. The case with this book is that its secondary characters are more fun than its two main characters. I don't like Lady Barbara at all. And I can't seem to understand why Colonel Audley would want to marry her.
The best scenes are with Judith and Worth and when whole groups of people are involved. The middle of the book gets fun to read when drama happens between Peregrine and
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May 22, 2009 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance fans that love historical detail.
Heyer is fabulous. That being said, there is too much historical detail for a history novice like myself. Well, I'm not a TOTAL regency newb, but when discussing commanders, troop types.. it's too much. I kept wishing that we could get back to the romance! By the end of the book, though, I was getting used to the names and people and connecting them with their different divisions, so it was much easier. Waterloo was a phenomenal section, though four chapters were, again, a bit much.

That being sa
Nov 03, 2012 Sho rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sho by: Mum
In some quarters this has been described as one of the best accounts of what went on at the time of the battle of Waterloo and I have to say that having read a few accounts of the actual battle I completely agree. (what can I say? Daughter of a cavalryman and I'm in literary love with Sharpe)

This is an account of the lead up to the Duchess of Richmond's ball, the call to the officers to take up their positions on the battlefield (some still in their dancing shoes) and what the wives and other ci
I get what Heyer was trying to accomplish, and indeed it was as comprehensive a retelling of the Battle Waterloo as I've ever seen. But the story was bogged down with historical detail and far too lavishly littered with names of people you wouldn't remember a chapter later. However, all of this great historic work was done at the expense of the story itself, which was not a wise move.

It doesn't help that Barbara Childe, our heroine as far as she was allowed to be one in the story, was not very l
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Georgette Heyer was an amazingly prolific writer who created the Regency England genre of romance novels.

Georgette Heyer was an intensely private person. A best-seller all her life without the aid of publicity, she made no appearances, never gave an interview, and only answered fan letters herself if they made an interesting historical point. Heyer wrote very well-researched historical fiction, fu
More about Georgette Heyer...

Other Books in the Series

Alastair-Audley (4 books)
  • These Old Shades (Alastair, #1)
  • Devil's Cub (Alastair, #2)
  • Regency Buck (Alastair, #3)
The Grand Sophy Frederica Arabella These Old Shades (Alastair, #1) Devil's Cub (Alastair, #2)

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