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!
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.