Book Review: The Queen’s Colonial by Peter Watt

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Published on the 23rd July, 2018 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Imprint: Pan Australia.

Australian RRP: $19.99

Purchase Links:

Pan Macmillan Australia:


Angus & Roberston:

Book Depository:


Genre: Historical Fiction.

Page Count: 416

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Sypnosis from Pan Macmillan Australia:

Sometimes the fate for which you are destined is not your own…

1845, a village outside Sydney Town. Humble blacksmith Ian Steele struggles to support his widowed mother. All the while he dreams of a life in uniform, serving in Queen Victoria’s army.

1845, Puketutu, New Zealand. Second Lieutenant Samuel Forbes, a young poet from an aristocratic English family, wants nothing more than to run from the advancing Maori warriors and discard the officer’s uniform he never sought.

When the two men cross paths in the colony of New South Wales, they are struck by their brotherly resemblance and quickly hatch a plan for Ian to take Samuel’s place in the British army.

Ian must travel to England, fool the treacherous Forbes family and accept a commission into their regiment as a company commander. Once in London, he finds love with an enigmatic woman, but must part with her to face battle in the bloody Crimean war.

In this first instalment of Peter Watt’s new series, Captain Ian Steele stares down the relentless Russian military…but he will soon learn that there are even deadlier enemies close to home.

My Review:

I recieved a copy of The Queen’s Colonial and its sequel, The Queen’s Tiger (along with an author intervie opportunity with Peter Watt, so stay tuned for that!) from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

Historical Fiction to me, is one of the optimal ways to see vicariously to what the past may have been like! When done well, it can be a sweeping portal to leap into the past!

The Queen’s Colonial is a high example of this! My first foray into Peter Watt’s writing, definitely not my last! As soon as I started reading this, I felt instantly immersed in 1845, where in Sydney and New Zealand, Ian Steele and Samuel Forbes, respectively, dream of opportunities slightly beyond their grasp. Ian is a lowly blacksmith, dreaming of fighting in Her Majesty’s Service and Samuel, a poet at heart, would give nothing to escape the tragedies and brutality of war.

I should mention, that these gentlemen bear an uncanny resemblance to one another! Why, they could almost pass as brothers were they not from such different backgrounds. However, Ian’s beloved Mum, a wise Scottish woman who has come to rely on Ian after the unfortunate death of her husband and Ian’s Father, remarks that their future is bound unlike no other!

Ian and Samuel instantly bond and I loved seeing their friendship develop, Samuel confiding to Ian that he doesn’t want to lose his lover James (moment of appreciation for the gay representation here) and how Samuel fears that his father and malicious brother Charles would see him extinguished from his rightful inheritance if Sam himself does not complete a certain number of years in the Army.

Sam doesn’t want to do this, though, but of course he wants his inheritance. I mean, fair enough, it is rightfully his.

Ian dreams of serving Her Majesty on the battlefields…..

What ensues is honestly one of the very best historical fiction novels I have read in some time! I absolutely loved every moment of this, from Sam teaching Ian how to be Sam, to Ian literally taking Sam’s place as Sam himself on the bbattlefield, but in every other sense too! Seeing Ian interact as Sam to Sam’s family was perfection! Even though I know Ian was Ian just disguising as Sam, I could tell that Sam’s younger brother, Herbert, and sister Alice, and Alice’s sweetheart Peter, all absolutely adored Ian and had no question that he was indeed Samuel Forbes!

Someone who was slightly weary of his apparent brother’s return was Mister Charles Forbes, scoundrel extraordinaire. I passionately despised his character, I mean he conspired to have Sam/Ian and even young Herbert killed! And he pretty much uses his entitlement to beat any woman who doesn’t want to lay with him. He also detests Peter, a humble Doctor from Canada who has Alice’s heart.

Whilst I didn’t love Charles, I did love mostly everyone else! I just felt that Ian, Samuel, Conan (a scoundrel at first, but if he didn’t have a path of redemption, well he did, and it was wonderful), young Hebert, Alice, Peter, Molly…I was just so wrapped up in these chatacters, I’m so excited that I get to read more about them! Especially given how much is up in the air after that ending! My expectations are all of the high!

If you love a sweeping, soaring Historical Fiction then look no further! The Queen’s Colonial is for you!

Happy Reading,


About Peter Watt (from Pan Macmillan Australia):

Peter has been a soldier, articled clerk to a solicitor, prawn trawler deckhand, builder’s labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. He has lived and worked with Aborigines, Islanders, Vietnamese and Papua New Guineans and speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin. He now lives at Maclean, on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire service, and is interested in fishing and the vast opens spaces of outback Queensland.


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