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Captain Matthew Hervey is suffering the effects of unrest within his beloved regiment, the 6th Light Dragoons.
Their new commanding officer - wealthy, arrogant and cruel - has taken an immediate dislike to him. Somehow, Hervey must earn promotion while retaining his integrity and the loyalty of his men.
Then the regiment is sent to Canada where, in the aftermath of war with the United States, Hervey faces danger on two fronts. Murderous native tribes are on the move. While, closer to home, he and his commanding officer have embarked on a collision course - the consequences of which will be devastating...
'A riveting tale of heroism, derring-do and enormous resource in the face of overwhelming adversity.' Birmingham Post
Fresh from the field of Waterloo, Matthew Hervey is dispatched on a mission of the utmost secrecy.
Leaving behind his fiancée, Lady Henrietta Lindsey, he must journey across tempestuous seas to India, an alien, exotic and beguiling land that will test his mettle to the very limit.
For the princely state of Chintal is threatened both by intrigue from within and military might from without, and Hervey - sabre in hand - finds he is once more destined for the field of battle...
'Captain Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons and ADC to the Duke of Wellington is back in the saddle ...He is as fascinating on horseback as Jack Aubrey is on the quarterdeck.'The Times
Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons is urgently summoned to the Cape Colony when he learns that the Zulu warrior King Shaka is about to wage war.
Soon Hervey, his old friend Eyre Somervile and their escort of dragoons and mounted rifles are riding north. When they arrive at Shaka's kraal it is a horrifying place. The sentinels at the gates are corpses, and it quickly becomes apparent that he has slaughtered thousands of his subjects - warriors and women alike.
When Shaka is killed by his own people, and the region plunged into civil war, Hervey and his men find themselves in the midst of terrible danger.
Yet worse is to come. Separated from his troop, Hervey must lead Shaka's queen across a hostile land where sanctuary has never seemed further away ...
It is 1831, riots and rebellions are widespread . . .
In England, the new government is facing protests against the attempts of the Tory-dominated House of Lords to thwart the passing of the Reform Bill. In India, relations are strained between the presidency of Madras and some of the neighbouring princely states.
Having taken command of the action in Bristol to restore order after one of the bloodiest and most destructive riots in the nation's history, Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Hervey is out of favour with the new government. But then his old friend, Sir Eyre Somervile, offers him a lifeline. Somervile has persuaded the Court of Directors of the East India Company to approve an increase in the Madras military establishment. Hervey and the 6th Light Dragoons are sent to the princely state of Coorg. The Rajah is in revolt against the East India Company’s terms and Hervey’s regiment is called upon to crush the rebellion. With the stakes raised by an unexpected visitation from his past, for Hervey the question is whether he and his men will get out of this brutal war unscathed?
1827: Britain and the Mediterranean
Captain Sir Laughton Peto, recently engaged to Matthew Hervey's sister, is sailing his mighty line-of-battle ship towards Navarino Bay, and war with the Turks.
Six months on, and Matthew Hervey is in London recovering from another bout of malaria and the wound from his battle with the Zulu. All is set fair for his marriage to the eminently suitable Lady Lankester, and his return to active duty at the Cape. But trouble lies ahead as familial commitments clash with affairs of the heart and Hervey finds himself embroiled in a military inquiry that could result in public humiliation.
As the cataclysmic battle of Navarino Bay looms ever closer for Peto and his crew, Hervey faces a crisis that could change both his life and his military career...
January 1830, and one of the hardest winters in memory . . .
And the prime minister, the Iron Duke, is resisting growing calls for parliamentary reform, provoking scenes of violent unrest in the countryside. But there are no police outside London and most of the yeomanry regiments, to whom the authorities had always turned when disorder threatened, have been disbanded as an economy measure. Against this inflammable backdrop Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Hervey, recently returned from an assignment in the Balkans, takes command of his regiment, the 6th Light Dragoons. His fears that things might be a little dull are quickly dispelled by the everyday business of vexatious officers, difficult choices over which NCOs to promote not to mention the incendiarists on the doorstep of the King himself. But it’s when the Sixth are sent to Brussels for the fifteenth anniversary celebrations of the battle of Waterloo and find themselves caught up in the Belgian uprising against Dutch rule that the excitement really starts. Will Hervey be able to keep out of the fighting – a war that would lead, nearly a century later, to Britain’s involvement in an altogether different war – while safeguarding his country’s interests? Not likely!
Newly returned from India, Matthew Hervey joins a party of officers sent to lend support to the Portugese regent. But the Peninsula is a place redolent with memories. For it was here as a seventeen-year-old cornet that Hervey had his first taste of military action. The French had forced the British army into ignominious retreat until, under the leadership of Sir John Moore, they made a defiant stand at Corunna.
As he prepares for battle once more, Hervey finds himself confronting ghosts from his past ...
'Captain Matthew Hervey is as splendid a hero as ever sprang from an
author's pen.' The Times
As the war against Bonaparte rages to its bloody end upon the field of Waterloo, a young officer goes about his duty in the ranks of Wellington's army. He is Cornet Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons - a soldier, gentleman and man or honour, who suddenly finds himself allotted a hero's role ...
Momentous times call for momentous acts: as the Napoleonic Wars escalate, Cornet Hervey faces decisions, both military and romantic, which will change the course of his life, and possibly the outcome of Waterloo...
'I have never read a more enthralling account of a battle ... This is the first in a series of Matthew Hervey adventures. The next can't come soon enough for me'
1827, and Matthew Hervey is on the look out for a new posting.
He soon finds one in the Cape Colonies, where there is need of a man to re-organise the local forces, and in particular to form a new company of horse.
Accompanied by a mixed-race captain from the disbanded Royal African Corps, Hervey heads out into the great South African plains and towards the territory of the Zulu and their legendary leader, King Shaka.
But it is not till he nears the Umtata River that his fiercest battle really begins. For the Zulus fight like no army he has encountered before. As Hervey and his greenhorn troops are plunged into battle, death is only a heartbeat away...
'Matthew Hervey has now joined Sharpe and Jack Aubrey as a creation of superlative skills and character.' Birmingham Post
Matthew Hervey and the 6th Light Dragoons are stationed in India, where conflagration looks set to flair.
The usurper prince, Durjan Sal, has taken refuge in the infamous fortress of Bhurtpore.A deep ditch, which can be flooded at a moment's notice, runs round it - and as its notorious Tower of Victory - built with the skulls of defeated men - bears witness, it has withstood all attacks made on it.
Until now.Hot and dangerous work lies ahead for Matthew Hervey and his courageous troop who know their fortunes will be decided by the sabre's edge.
'Captain Matthew Hervey is as splendid a hero as ever sprang from an author's pen.' The Times
Matthew Hervey is charged with raising a new troop, and organising transport for India - for he, his men and their horses are to set sail with immediate effect.
What Hervey and his greenhorn soldiers cannot know is that in India they will face a trial for which they are ill prepared. A large number of Burmese war-boats are assembled near Chittagong, and the only way to thwart their advance involves a hazardous march through the jungle.Soon Hervey and his troop are in the midst of hot and bloody action once again...
'The book picks up a pace that mirrors a cavalry charge ...Hervey continues to grow in stature, while Mallinson himself continues to delight.' Observer
January 1829: George IV is on the throne, Wellington is England's prime-minister, and snow is falling thickly on the London streets as Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Hervey is summoned to the Horse Guards in the expectation of command of his regiment, the 6th Light Dragoons.
But the benefits of long-term peace at home mean cuts in the army, and Hervey is told that the Sixth are to be reduced to a single squadron. With his long-term plans in disarray, he undertakes instead a six-month assignment as an observer with the Russian army. Soon Hervey, his friend Edward Fairbrother and his faithful groom, Private Johnson, are sailing north to St Petersburg, and from there to the Eastern Balkans, and the ferocious war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
Hervey is meant to be an impartial spectator in the campaign, but soon the circumstances - and his own nature - propel him into a more active role. In the climactic Battle of Kulewtscha, in which more troops were engaged than in any battle since Waterloo, Hervey and Fairbrother find themselves in the thick of the action. For Matthew Hervey, the stakes have never been higher - or more personal.
Badajoz: Christmas 1826
Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons is a prisoner of the Spanish, incarcerated in the infamous fortress of Badajoz.
As he plans his escape, his thoughts return to the year 1812 when he was a cornet in Wellington's Peninsular Army. He and the Sixth had survived Corunna to endure three more years of brutal fighting that would culminate in one of the most vital and vicious confrontations of the campaign - the siege of Badajoz.
While Hervey paces his prison cell, and re-lives the bloodshed of battles past, friends from expected quarters rush to his aid ...
'As good on the details of the workings of a cavalry regiment in 1820 as ever Patrick O'Brian was on the workings of an 1820 warship.' Spectator