"First to Land" By Douglas Reeman (Book #2 of 4 in the Blackwood Saga)

Captain David Blackwood, son of Henry Blackwood (read "Badge of Glory") is sent to China when the Boxer rebellion is gathering steam. While en route, he and fellow marines board a passenger steam ship while it is under attack by pirates. There he saves a German countess and falls in love with her. The countess must get to Peking to join her diplomat husband. Blackwood is appointed with some marines to guard her boat on the journey upriver. After several skirmishes with the Boxers they are forced to turn back.

The marines are then sent by rail to relieve Peking but are cut off fore and aft and are forced to abandon the train and return afoot. They fight their way into Tientsen, where they are surrounded, along with American, German, and Japanese forces. There, they fight off wave after wave of Boxers who are joined by the regular Chinese army. The battle descriptions in Tientsen are outstanding. The MOA (marine orderly attendant) sergeant Swan is another great character in the mould of the dog robber from "Badge of Glory"

Reviewed by Kenneth S. Smith 2/27/2001

Available from:
Arrow Books through McBooks Press

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