08 November 2006

A Close Run Thing by Allan Mallinson

Huzzah! Another good Napoleonic military adventure series!

This is the first in a series about Matthew Hervey, an urbane cavalry officer. This novel generally introduces him and ends with him at the battle of Waterloo.

A generally good read, although Hervey is so supremely good at almost everything that I did not really find myself concerned that he would not come out on top in the end. Of course, in these stories that can be generally taken for granted in any case. But Hervey has none of the brutality of Sharpe or the complete obliviousness to certain areas of Aubrey. Still, the story is gripping and often fun. And his ability to know about almost everything and do almost anything is amusing as well.

The story also reflects Hervey's gentlemanly nature in the detail of battles presented. Mallinson is notably less graphic in his descriptions of battle and the effects thereof than most authors of similar novels. This is not to say that terrible scenes do not occur, but they are not quite as gruelling as some of the battles in the Sharpe novels, for example.

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