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To the Beat of a Savage Drum


From Enniskillen to Waterloo

A Drummer’s Story




Price € 15.00 



About the Book

From Enniskillen to Waterloo - a Drummer’s Story


‘ The drum brings out the savage in a man.

Can you be that kind of drummer?’


Enlisting as a drummer in the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot, James Burns discovers brotherhood and brutality in equal measure until his depot life is interrupted by the call to join Wellington’s Allied Army. But nothing could prepare him for the journey to Waterloo or for the terror of drumming men towards the slaughter at La Haye Sainte.


And, in a chance encounter, James Burns finally discovers the savage within himself.


* * * * *

To the Beat of a Savage Drum joins the very short list of fiction set around the Battle of Waterloo and commemorates the 27th Inniskillings, the only Irish Regiment of Foot to take part in that epic encounter.


* * * * *




About the Author

Aidan J Herron – A winner of the Irish Writers Centre 2015 Novel Fair


Since retiring as a primary school principal, Aidan is fortunate to have more time to devote to writing fiction. All of his previous publications were in the field of education. He combines his passion for history and military research with voluntary tour-guiding in Ardgillan Castle. The Napoleonic era drum featured on the cover and a marching scene from the film, Barry Lyndon, were the main inspirations for To the Beat of a Savage Drum. By happy coincidence, Aidan’s mother was from Enniskillen, the home town of the 27th Regiment of Foot, The Inniskillings.



Author’s Note:


This is not the story of the Battle of Waterloo, nor is it an analysis of what happened on that day. Rather, it is the story of a young man who enlists as a drummer in the 27th Regiment of Foot, the Inniskillings, and ultimately finds himself participating in that epic confrontation. I have used the events leading up to Waterloo, and the battle itself, as a setting in which to place drummers from their initial recruitment into the army to the moment they find themselves in the line marching courageously towards the enemy, beating time for their musket-bearing comrades. I have tried to be historically accurate in my depiction of the life of the common soldier in the early nineteenth century, and in presenting the battle scenes at Waterloo, to allow James Burns to tell the drummer’s story in an authentic voice. The earlier events that I have described, prior to the 27th arriving in Ghent, are entirely fictional as are most of the book’s characters. For ease of reading, military slang of the period is kept to a minimum and, where used, is explained in context. Drum signals are referred to using capitalisation as are some military terms and units; French place-names are not italicised. All mistakes are mine.

This book is written as a tribute to the brave drummers of all armies who, as unarmed non-combatants, marched into battle with their comrades, and whose drums were silenced.

Photos from the launch of

To the Beat of a Savage Drum


Photos from Ardgillan Castle launch 08/12/15

courtesy of martin fanning


Mayor of Fingal, David O'Connor

and my family

With County CEO, local County Counsellors, Ardgillan Castle management and my family.

Fingal County CEO, Paul Reid, with Aidan Herron


The author beside the monument to the 27th Inniskillings at Waterloo

The author on top of the Lion Mound at Waterloo



The twists and turns were unexpected and made reading the very descriptive narrative of events so much more compelling as I began to wonder when was the next one and where was it going to go. You kept the very best ones until the very last.    David James




I expected a lot of bullets, bayonets and battalions (which there was) but the story woven from the start to the very end was captivating.        Jo Taylor




I had to read it at every opportunity as I was hooked.       Gabriel Burns




I have just finished reading your novel and am still recovering from its moving final pages. Congratulations.        Urs Misteli, Switzerland




Review in Comhnasc Magazine