The youthful gentleman in the scarlet coat with blue facings and gold lace, who was seated in the window of Lady Worth's drawing-room, idly looking down into the street, ceased for a moment to pay any attention to the conversation that was in progress.
–Georgette Heyer - An Infamous Army - c. 1937 - pg 1
Bab Childe, renowned beauty, is in Brussels along with many a fashionable person. Britain had been isolated by Napoleon’s earlier campaigns so many took the chance to travel and revisit Europe when he was defeated. But now he is on the move again, prompting the arrival of the red coated officers, along with the rest of Wellington’s “infamous army”.
Bab is the great-granddaughter of Julian Alastair from Heyer’s earlier books. But her is not the only family to make a return, as the Worths also turn up.
As is usual in Heyer books there is a central romance to this novel, but it isn’t your average regency romance, as there is a much darker tone to this book. War and death will do that.
Overall I did enjoy this book, but it didn’t seem to quite fit together, almost as though Heyer wanted to write a serious book about war and Waterloo, Wellington and Napoleon, but at the same time wanted to fit in her romance. Or possibly didn’t want to alienate her publishers/readers. Whatever the reason, this ends up uneven in story and atmosphere. Moving from a light-hearted romance into descriptions of wounded and dying soldiers. Sections work really well. But as a whole the novel doesn’t.
Still entertaining, and interesting, especially if you have any interest in this time-period, because Heyer has a real ability to create a world-view and make it seem realistic, but not as readable as some of her other works.