While Mallinson has been hailed by the U.K. press as rivaling Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell, American fans of swashbuckling adventure will likely be disappointed to find Mallinson (a cavalry brigadier currently British military attach? in Rome) too lavish with rarefied British military idiom and references to India's obscure past to attract comparable legions of fanatical readers. In May 1824, cavalry captain Matthew Hervey is seriously wounded while accompanying an expeditionary force moving inland through the Burmese jungle at the beginning of the monsoon season. Four months later, fully recovered in Calcutta, Hervey is ordered to take his troops over 700 miles to Delhi to serve as escort to aging Sir David Ochterlony, the British East India Company's political resident. Deploring despot Durjan Sal's usurpation of power at the ancient fortress at Bhurtpore (near Agra, the site of the Taj Mahal) and anticipating war, Sir David dispatches Hervey to reconnoiter the impenetrable defenses of the infamous stronghold. After devising a bold plan, Hervey is given the task of setting his stratagem in motion. Although the novel affords interesting social insights into the politics of British colonial rule, only a studious minority will find slogging through this jungle of gnarly prose worth the effort. Agent, Ed Victor Ltd. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Of "A Call to Arms": "Confirms his undoubted talents and marks him as the heir to Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester." -- "Observer" "From the Hardcover edition."