‘Theirs Not to Reason Why’

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Apr. 24 | Modified: Apr. 24
‘Theirs Not to Reason Why’

West Jefferson author Mike Sawyer’s first attempt at writing a book was a bit of a catharsis: He just had to get what he had to say out of his system.

“My first book, ‘My Heresy: A Refutation of Religions,’ I wrote out of anger,” Sawyer said. “This one … I had fun with.”

His second novel, “Theirs Not to Reason Why,” is a fictional side story to a very real life event, the First Crimean War (1853-56).

Touching on a variety of themes, Sawyer’s historical romance is set in Victorian England against a background of poverty, excessive affluence and imperial ambitions of 19th-century Europe.

The synopsis reads of a soldier that serves with Britain’s 17th Lancers, who rises above humble beginnings and wins his love among the admiration of his comrades.

While the setting of the book took place well before Sawyer’s time, it is something he can very much relate to.

Sawyer served with the 1721st Lancers during the 1950s and based much of his research from the regimental history and his personal knowledge of Britain’s military conflicts.

“It wasn’t a hard book for me to write,” Sawyer said. “Most of my research was already in my head.”
Essentially, the Crimean War was initially used by European powers as an excuse to achieve differing political and military advantages.

Russia was in search of its first warm water port, while eyeing India, which was still part of the British Empire.

Britain used the conflict as an excuse to stop Russian advances, and France had its own agenda and stake in the war.

“It was all very political, which is nothing new,” Sawyer joked, adding that he also sees correlations to his book and the events transpiring in the Crimean region today.

At the time of the First Crimean War, Jerusalem was once again at the center of a power struggle, further stoking the flames of unrest.

While Sawyer was more than confident in his knowledge of the war and its events, he admits there were a few stumbles along the way.

“I may have made some errors as far as ranks at the time and some of the military drills,” Sawyer said. “I tried to keep it as correct as possible, but the British military had changed a lot by the time I was in it.”

But in keeping things in perspective, Sawyer remembered that it was a fictional account, after all.
“The big gap between rankers (enlisted men) and officers was so much greater than when I was in,” Sawyer said. “Officers (at the time) were way and above the common soldier. I tried to express that, but some of the plot of my book means there is a little (more) closeness with the officers and men than there probably was. But this is a novel, not historical.”

“Theirs Not to Reason Why” is currently available at http://www.amazon.com and http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore.

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