Raiffe and the Angels of Mons, set in the summer of 1914, is based loosely around a British cavalry regiment, the 5th Hussars, and in particular a young officer, Lieutenant Sebastian Raiffe. The story opens on a polo match on a summer's day. There have been rumblings of disquiet over affairs in Europe since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but the cavalry officers are intent on enjoying the last of the summer... until everything changes. The men are forced into action, and we follow Raiffe, his friend Archie Alexander and his colleagues, from their carefree pre-war existence to the mobilisation of the British Expeditionary Force and the regiment's arrival in France as war is declared against Germany.
Raiffe finds himself amidst the carnage of modern warfare and is one of the first British officers to taste action. He is involved in the fighting at Mons, Nery, the Marne and the Aisne. Bleak though the fighting is, there are moments of humour and self-sacrifice, and Raiffe experiences wartime Paris, tastes the exhilaration of flying and finds love.
Raiffe and the Angels of Mons is a gripping wartime novel, at times harrowing and at others uplifting, that will appeal particularly to fans of military history fiction.
Mark Hadley practices as a solicitor. Prior to entering the legal profession, he served as an officer in the Royal Navy where he served in a number of warships and submarines including the nuclear deterrent submarine HMS Resolution. He started his seafaring career at the age of 18 in the Mercantile Marine, serving as a navigating officer with BP shipping. He later experienced conflict in the Persian Gulf and Africa. He lives in rural Devon with his partner Gail, his two children James and Jemima and their menagerie. His interests include polo and military history. He is currently researching for a part-time doctorate at the University of Exeter.