Death and the Running Patterer by Robin Adair

Opening lines:

A scarlet-coated soldier, a private of His Britannic Majesty King George IV’s 57th Regiment of Foot, was dreaming, drunk and disorderly, as he leant against the bar with his head on his arms. He dreamt he was home in his West Middlesex village, safe and sweaty in the arms of his common-law wife. He hadn’t seen her for years, didn’t know if he ever would again.