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The Diehard by Wendy M. Wilson

New Zealand, November 1868: Sergeant Frank Hardy has been sent into hostile territory to bring back a witness to the murder of a prominent man, but the killer is still out there and the rebels are closing in. After escorting a prisoner down from the front, Sergeant Frank Hardy of the 57th Regiment ("The Diehards") is ordered to return north to Woodall's Redoubt to bring a murder witness back to headquarters. A retired major and his wife, relatives of the new governor, have been shot to death on their farm near the redoubt. Five hundred Māori rebels have been spotted within a day's march of town. A line of fortified hilltops, or redoubts, stands between the town and the rebels, but Woodhall's Redoubt has been all but abandoned, the cavalry having ridden to Poverty Bay to attend to the aftermath of a horrendous massacre of woman and children. A small contingent of raw recruits and volunteers remains in place to slow the advance of the rebel force and to shelter the locals. The captain in charge has sent a volunteer into town to bring back an armed escort for the witness. In response, headquarters sends a single man: Sergeant Frank Hardy. By the time Hardy arrives the situation is so perilous the captain has decided to send two of the older settlers with Hardy. Hardy reluctantly agrees to escort the small group, but less than an hour into the trip another murder occurs. Now he has a witness and civilians to protect from a murderer. And all the while, the drumbeats of war are growing louder. This story takes place four months before the events in Chapter One of Not the Faintest Trace, book #1 of The Sergeant Frank Hardy Mysteries. As always, the background of the story is based on actual events but the story itself is a product of the author's imagination.
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