(Matthew Hervey 4)
Matthew Hervey is recalled to take up arms against Burmese rebels massing on the frontier with India in the fourth instalment of his adventures with the Light Dragoons.
1817 and 1818 have not been good years for Matthew Hervey. His beloved wife Henrietta is dead and, believing that he can no longer remain in a regiment where men like Lord Towcester can rise to command, he has turned his back on the Sixth. Now he is kicking his heels in a corrupt and unruly England far removed from its once glorious past. 1819 sees Hervey in Rome with his sister Elizabeth where a chance meeting with Percy Bysshe Shelley leads him to rethink his future. Joined by his old friend Captain Peto, the smell of gun powder in his nostrils, Hervey realises just how much he misses the excitement of military action and the camaraderie of his regiment. Soon he is en route for Hounslow via Whitehall where he hurriedly purchases a new commission and is refitted for the uniform of the 6th Light Dragoons. He finds a regiment that is much changed, however. Depleted in numbers, it is now under the assured leadership of Sir Ivo Lankester, brother of Edward Lankester, hero of Waterloo. Hervey's most immediate task is to raise a new troop and then to organise transport, for his men and horses are to set sail for India with immediate effect. What Hervey and his greenhorn soldiers cannot know is that in India they will face one of their toughest trials. For a large number of Burmese warboats are being assembled near the headwaters of the river leading to Chittagong, and the only way to thwart their advance involves an arduous and hazardous march through jungled territory. What begins as a relatively simple operation becomes a journey into the heart of darkness, as Hervey and his troop find themselves in the midst of hot and bloody action once more.
“'Wonderfully vivid... the real delight of Mallinson's books is their authenticity... His portrayal of his characters, as well as his vignettes of historical personages...show a rare and thoughtful understanding of the huan condition and the mind of the soldier. It all makes for a thoroughly satisfying and entertaining read'”
“Thrilling... In addition to his exceptional knowledge of history, Allan Mallinson shows his deep awareness of human feelings and failings. This is an exceptional book.”
“A riveting tale of heroism, derring do and enormous resource in the face of overwhelming adversity ... Another prime example of the unputdownable historical novel”
“'Oozing action, A Call to Arms is a military tale of epic proportions that will leave fans counting the days to the next adventure'”
Ireland on Sunday
“'With each book, Hervey himself is becoming a more complex and interesting characters...Mallinson writes of his inner questionings with subtlety and sympathy. This series grows in stature with each book'”