Carr writes well! Let's make no mistake about that! However, he is doomed to failure in this attempt to bring to life the enigmatic "devil soldier," Ward. For one thing, most of Ward's letters, that might have given some sort of insight into his character, were destroyed by a relative. Sad! This means that putting thought's into Ward's, mouth, & flesh on his bones, is largely conjecture on the part of the Author. Another weakness, is that Ward was simply not around long enough to develop into a subject worthy of a biography of this depth. He died in his early thirties, & details of his early life are sketchy. Indeed, 4/5ths of this book are about Ward's Chinese career in a three year period between 1860 & 1863, when he was killed. A better candidate for Mr. Carr?s attentions would have been the "larger than life" British Admiral "Fighting Jimmy" Hope. Even the Chung Wang, Ward's Taiping opponant, would have been a more logical candidate for central character. Inspirational leader & motivator of men, Ward undoubtedly was. Master tactician, I think not! His military achievements consist mainly of blasting away at the poorly armed Taiping rebel's entrenched positions, with far superior ordnance, followed by a reckless, albeit dashing, general charge on the defensive walls. In my opinion, the "devil soldier" ultimately remains the "unknown soldier" & this book ultimately remains, unsatisfactory.