- € 9,49
From the Sunday Times bestselling author Allan Mallinson, a riveting read with the perfect combination of hero, history and adventure - perfect for fans of Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell.
"Convincingly drawn, perfectly paced and expertly written...A Joy to read" - Antony Beevor.
"I can't wait to read the next in the series..." - ***** Reader review.
"A captivating read..."- ***** Reader review.
"Allan Mallinson is a truly gifted storyteller..."- ***** Reader review.
Waterloo 1815. The war against Napoleon Bonaparte is raging to its bloody end at Waterloo.
A young officer - Cornet Matthew Hervey - going about his duty suddenly finds himself at the crux of events.
The decisions he has to make - both military and romantic - will change the course of his life, and possible have far reaching political consequences...
A Close Run Thing is the first book in Allan Mallinson's Matthew Hervey series. His adventures continue in The Nizam's Daughters.
Intrepid cavalry officer Cornet Matthew Hervey rises through the Duke of Wellington's forces, moves through British and Irish society and helps the U.K. win the Napoleonic Wars in this first of a projected series by a British writer. Hervey's story begins in 1814, with Napoleon's defeat. Hervey narrowly escapes a court martial for impetuous, albeit brave, action in the Peninsular Campaign against the French, and is invited to purchase his lieutenancy. He returns to Britain, rekindles his affections for his childhood sweetheart, and is posted to Ireland: there he explores the country's religious strife, rides horses and reads Pride and Prejudice. But when Bonaparte escapes from Elba and raises a new army for a rematch with Wellington, Hervey's dragoons must return to war. In the battle of Waterloo, Hervey so distinguishes himself that he is again promoted and ready to carry on his derring-do in the next volume. Hervey's exploits would make a good adventure story, but Mallinson hasn't quite written one. Instead, the novel enshrines his knowledge of the period: it's full of historical data that buffs will recognize, and consequently is rather slow-moving. Mallinson's acknowledged debt to Patrick O'Brian, and his decision to emulate Austen's prose style in describing her era, serve his story poorly. None of the characters converse; they make speeches. Except for Hervey, none develops beyond a name and, occasionally, a dialect. The brutality of combat remains offstage until the end; even there the Battle of Waterloo seems recounted more than shown. Mallinson (author of the nonfiction Light Dragoons, published in the U.K., and himself a real-life officer in the British cavalry) has loaded each chapter with details of politics, geography, economics, diet, firearms, uniforms, horsemanship, courtship, huntsmanship and even ceremonial headgear. These minutiae mix with period idioms, cultural references and scholarly glosses to make the book feel at times like a study guide for an exam. Even so, this first installment of Hervey's travels will entertain the well-educated, and delight amateur historians. Readers seeking action can look to the future: Mallinson reveals real promise whenever he stops trying to demonstrate the breadth of his research and simply tells Hervey's story. FYI: Mallinson was recently appointed military attach for the British embassy in Rome.