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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 police outside London and most of the yeomanry regiments, to whom the authorities had always turned when disorder threatened, have been disbanded as an ecomy 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 t 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!
At seventeen, Allan Mallinson gave up the promise of an exhibition at Brasenose College, Oxford to go instead to theological college. After three years he decided to take a break in training with a short-service commission in the army. He served with the infantry worldwide, and then, on deciding to make the army a career, transferred to the cavalry. He began writing while still serving - first, a history of the antecedent regiments of that which he commanded, and then the Matthew Hervey series of novels chronicling the life of a fictitious cavalry officer before and after Waterloo. He left the army in 2004 as a brigadier to write full time, including defence comment for the Daily Telegraph and then The Times. In 2009 his The Making of the British Army, a survey of the army's history and development since 1660, was shortlisted for several prizes and chosen by Jeremy Paxman for the Observer's 'Books of the Year'. An updated edition, with a commentary on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, was published in 2011. His centenary history, 1914: Fight the Good Fight - Britain, the Army and the Coming of the First World War was shortlisted for the Westminster Medal and won the Army Book of the Year Award 2013. Its sequel, Too Important for the Generals, examines the failure of Allied generals and politicians to find a less bloody strategy for victory in the First World War and will be published in June 2016. Allan Mallinson lives with his wife, Sue, a dressage trainer, on Salisbury Plain.