Billy Bacon the butcher’s apprentice, faces the choice of being abused or of killing his abuser. Charged with murder, he flees and joins the Army. In 1786, he finds safety in a battalion bound for India where he survives disease and conflict and learns to be a good soldier. However, he doesn’t feel safe once back in England. With the chance of another foreign posting, Billy rises through the ranks and joins a previously unknown regiment of slave soldiers in the Sugar Islands. Books best read in series order.
An estimated ten thousand slaves were bought and became soldiers in the period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the survivors became free men. It was always difficult to find officers and very few commissions were sold. A number – how many is unknown for lack of records – of regular sergeants were given regimental commissions and rose to senior rank.