Review: A Tainted Dawn, The Great War 1792-1815 by B.N. Peacock
Title: A Tainted Dawn, The Great War 1792-1815
Author: B.N. Peacock
Publisher: Fire Ship Press 1 March 2012
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Historical Fiction, Ships, Sea Adventure, 18th Century, England, France, Spain, Coming of Age Story, Historical Fiction Virtual Tours
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 352
Rating: 3 Stars

A Tainted Dawn is book one in a series.
In the beginning of A Tainted Dawn three boys just happen to be in the same place at the same time, at a London Tailor's shop. A young English boy named Jemmy that works with his father as a carpenters helper and also plays the fiddle. Edward, well-dressed and educated, the only son of a ships Captain. Louis, slightly older than Jemmy and Edward, is the zealous French son of a hard working tailor. Each boy would later remember their brief meeting. 
A Tainted Dawn is a coming of age story of the three youth. Each of them from different economic backgrounds, one of them from a different country and with different views on culture and government. What they have in common is their broken relationships with their father's. Each were compelled to go to sea, to board a ship with the aim of proving themselves worthy of being a man; of learning to work hard a days labor, of obeying orders, of being unafraid of adventure, and of making an important and valid mark in life.

The story is a bit rough, for several reasons. 

  1. I came across a few words that I thought were misspelled; but after looking them up in a dictionary I found I was wrong, they were words I'd not heard of before. For example the word munificence. This word means "very liberal in giving or bestowing" (from M-W Dictionary On-line). After coming across several words that I needed to define, I wondered if maybe the author could've used other words that the average reader could read and understand. 
  2. Two of the boys are English and the other boy is French. I wondered how they were going to tie in together or harmonize in the book. I don't think this was accomplished in book one. I'm hoping book two will tie together.
  3. I wondered sometimes if there was an editing problem or maybe it was the authors way of expression in her characters. For example, "Edward didn't touch the summer soup. It was begrudged him." page 16. 
  4. When I would come across a sentence like the above example on page 16, this broke the rhythm of the story for me. 
  5. Edward's mother Elizabeth is a secondary character. Several times in A Tainted Dawn she has chapters or scenes. Just enough information is given to me to make me more curious about her. I would've liked to know who she really is, is she a likable character? I feel the need to know what to make of her. 

 What I loved about this story and what led me to give it 3 stars for good. 

  1. The characters Jemmy and Edward became endearing to me. I felt invested in their stories. I'm hooked enough to want to read book two.
  2. Life aboard a ship is described in depth. I loved reading about their duties, what they ate, medical treatment, and ship terminology.
  3. I have a better understanding of the relationship between officer's, midshipman, and seaman. 
  4. Some of the scenes in the story are written dramatically well. One of my favorite quotes from the book---"Directly underneath them rode the upper half of a buxom female who wore brightly painted and gilded classical robes: Amphitrite, the sea queen who lent her name to the ship. Eyes forward, the goddess ignored mere mortals. Likewise the excrement-caked water beneath her." page 34. This sentence speaks volumes about not only the ship itself but the men aboard her.

Thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and B.N. Peacock for my free review copy!

Authors link:
B. N. Peacock’s love of history started in childhood, hearing stories of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire from her immigrant grandparents.  They related accounts handed down from their grandparents about battlefields so drenched in blood that grass cut there afterwards oozed red liquid. Such tales entranced her. These references probably dated to the time of the Napoleonic Wars. No wonder she was drawn to this time period. 
In addition to history, she showed an equally early proclivity for writing, winning an honorable mention in a national READ magazine contest for short stories. The story was about history, of course, namely the battle of Bunker Hill as seen from the perspective of a British war correspondent.

The passion for writing and history continued throughout high school and undergraduate studies. She was active in her high school newspaper, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief. After graduation, she majored in Classical Studies (Greek and Latin) at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. In her junior year, life took one of those peculiar turns which sidetrack one.  A year abroad studying at Queen Mary College, University of London in England led to the discovery of another passion, travel. She returned and finished her degree at F&M, but now was lured from her previous interests in history and writing.

Her work continues on Book Two in The Great War series, tentatively to be called Army of Citizens, with new trips planned to England, France and Belgium.

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $19.95
Kindle $8.50


  1. Thanks for your review. Interestingly enough, I thought what you highlight in your "rough points" 1 and 3 gave actually a lot of quality to the novel. According to me, too many novels are written with very basic vocabulary, and just entertain. Centuries ago, entertainment went with culture; I am glad this book can invite a reader to open his/her dictionary and increase his/her vocabulary.
    This is exactly what I had to do myself for all the nautical vocabulary.
    As for 'munificence' and 'begrudge' (no, I don't think there's an editing problem there), they are close to words in my mother tongue, so I was lucky to know them.
    Here is my review for the same tour:

  2. Thank you for leaving a comment, it means a lot. I feel like I have a large vocabulary, at least I've been told I do by family and friends. To look up a few words is not a problem for me. But in thinking of the average reader, I just don't believe this would be accepted. Where I live I am in the very small minority of avid readers. Most people I know would rather be entertained by television. My parents both loved to read. I have 2 siblings out of 4 that read. No one in my husbands large family reads. My husband hates books, despises them. Amazing. Anyway, I understood the nautical terminology as I've read other books about sea life, so we were opposite in our understanding of word usage. Before I wrote my review I'd visited all the other hosts for the tour including you. Thanks again. Happy reading.


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