Matthew Hervey lays siege to the grim fortress of Bhurtpore
Allan Mallinson was a soldier for thirty-five years, serving first with the infantry and then the cavalry. He began writing while still serving. His first book was a history of four regiments of British light dragoons, one of whose descendant regiments he commanded. It was followed by A Close Run Thing, the first novel in the acclaimed and bestselling series chronicling the life of a fictitious cavalry officer, Matthew Hervey, before and after Waterloo. His The Making of the British Army was shortlisted for several prizes, while his centenary history, 1914- Fight the Good Fight - Britain, the Army and the Coming of the First World War won the British Army's Book of the Year Award. Its sequel, Too Important for the Generals, is a provocative look at leadership during the Great War. Allan Mallinson also writes for The Times, is history editor for Unherd.com and reviews for the TLS and the Spectator. He lives on Salisbury Plain.
While Mallinson has been hailed by the U.K. press as rivaling Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell, American fans of swashbuckling adventure will likely be disappointed to find Mallinson (a cavalry brigadier currently British military attach? in Rome) too lavish with rarefied British military idiom and references to India's obscure past to attract comparable legions of fanatical readers. In May 1824, cavalry captain Matthew Hervey is seriously wounded while accompanying an expeditionary force moving inland through the Burmese jungle at the beginning of the monsoon season. Four months later, fully recovered in Calcutta, Hervey is ordered to take his troops over 700 miles to Delhi to serve as escort to aging Sir David Ochterlony, the British East India Company's political resident. Deploring despot Durjan Sal's usurpation of power at the ancient fortress at Bhurtpore (near Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal) and anticipating war, Sir David dispatches Hervey to reconnoiter the impenetrable defenses of the infamous stronghold. After devising a bold plan, Hervey is given the task of setting his stratagem in motion. Although the novel affords interesting social insights into the politics of British colonial rule, only a studious minority will find slogging through this jungle of gnarly prose worth the effort. Agent, Ed Victor Ltd. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"'Splendid...the tale is as historically stimulating as it is stirringly exciting'" Sunday Telegraph "'What a hero! What an author! What a book! A joy for the lover of adventure and military buff alike'" The Times "We have joined for action and to see the world and that is what we get...a novel for our time, perhaps?" Spectator "Hervey is the thinking man's Sharpe. Mallinson is the true heir to Patrick O'Brian" Daily Mirror "'Mallinson's descriptions of regimental life and of the campaigns themselves ... crackle with detail and atmosphere ... Makes for an engrossing read, full of blood and valour.'" Observer