Because writing a story is fun. The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period covers twenty-three years of near-continuous warfare, so it makes a wonderful vehicle for a series of ripping yarns.

I’m an Australian. Although I have no personal connection to France, the French revolutionary values of ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ resonate strongly both within me and are entwined within Australian culture around me.

I have agrarian roots, growing up in rural Australia as the son of a large-animal veterinarian. I have been a passionate horseman all my life. Living in Australia allows me to roam great distances along extensive trails, across vast properties and through massive forests on horseback. Because horses are relatively cheap to maintain in Australia, I have enjoyed playing the easily accessible sports of polo and polocrosse. A lifetime of these equine experiences allows me to base my descriptions of campaigning with, and combat on, horses. 

I was a soldier. I served twenty years as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the Australian Army. Initially an integral part of professional military development, I still relish the study of military history, and a weekly evening of Napoleonic wargaming slakes my thirst for tactics. Despite the passing of two-hundred years, I feel that soldiers still interact in a remarkably similar fashion.

I lived and worked in the towns and villages within the developing world for two-and-a-half years (Timor Leste, Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistani Kashmir and Iraq). My experiences provided me an insight into the over-crowding, filth and simplicity of times past.

My cast of characters are drawn from all the men and women I’ve met in military service, polo and rugby from all around the world. Once embodied in a character I can see their expressions, I can hear their responses. My part is to day-dream their interactions and scribble down their responses, removing what is distinctly national and contemporary from their comments.

Most of this day-dreaming and scribbling occurs in rural Queensland, where I live with my beautiful wife and two amazing daughters not too far from the hearts of both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Rob McLaren