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A Close Run Thing: (Matthew Hervey Book 1) by [Mallinson, Allan]
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A Close Run Thing: (Matthew Hervey Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"'Now at last a highly literate, deeply read cavalry officer of high rank shows one the nature of horse-borne warfare in those times: and Colonel Mallinson's A Close Run Thing is very much to be welcomed.'" (Patrick O'Brian)

"'As astonishingly impressive debut...Convincingly drawn, perfectly paced and expertly written...A joy to read'" (Antony Beevor)

"'The scope of A Close Run Thing is quite breathtaking...A sustained piece of bravura writing'" (Observer)

"'The account of the Battle of Waterloo is an imaginative feat of high order, owing as much as to thorough scholarship as it does to compassion and sensibility. Brilliantly conveyed.'" (Daily Telegraph)

"'Allan Mallinson's grasp of the technical side of his subject is effortless and impressive...The portrayal of the men of all ranks is excellent." (Spectator)

Book Description

An heroic tale from the Battle of Waterloo and the final days of the Napoleonic Wars that introduces an unforgettable new fictional hero in Matthew Hervey of the 6th Light Dragoons...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1243 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (20 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003D87PLI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of the Sharpe novels, but must confess to struggling to get into the Aubrey/Maturin novels. A display in a Waterstones drew me to Mallinson's series of books chronicling the exploits of Matthew Hervey, whose adventures take off where Sharpe's (if you exclude his South American foray) finish, at Waterloo.
The novel is pitched somewhere between Sharpe and Aubrey/Maturin, sure there is daring and dashing-do, but there is also a greater depth to the novels. A greater understanding and description of life in the army at the time, particularly the cavalry, and in this and later novels in the series, a bigger draw on the political upheavals of the time.
Hervey as a hero does not commend himself to you as immediately as Sharpe, perhaps he never does. But his exploits, whilst not so tied with the big battalions as Sharpe's, are equally as riveting and make very easy reading. If you are looking for something that complements your interest in Sharpe, this is for you.
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Format: Paperback
There is no doubting the historical accuracy of this novel, in terms both of larger events and details. For that it can be applauded. I assume that, if this is to be a series of novels, the books will not be published in chronoligical sequence. If this is true, I'm looking forward to hearing of Hervey's adventures in Spain. Where the book does let itself down a bit is in its hero. Matthew Hervey is painted as a distilled perfection. In fact, too perfect to be credible. There is not a bad bone in his body. Every thought he has is noble, every deed brave and every action good in intent. Indeed, he is not the normal enobled cavalry officer but the son of a rural clergyman. Maybe I'm jaded, but I like my heroes to be a bit more flawed. If this were to be as accurate as the historic detail then this book would get 5 stars.
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By Manly Reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not read the various Sharpe novels (yet!) and so cannot compare Matthew Hervey to the Sharpe series. Having read both Flashman and Aubrey-Maturin, I can say that this novels reminds me of those in the search for historical accuracy, if with a protagonist not nearly so flawed (at this stage in his career) as presented by Flashy, Jack Aubrey or Steven Maturin. Cornet Hervey is a paragon of rectitude indeed; but for all that he is a "boys own" hero at this stage, its also clear he is terribly clueless with women other than his sister, or nuns. I don't think its correct to say he has no depth, as some others have, but I will grant that he is perhaps a little too old (at 25 or so here) and experienced (several years if not more) on the Peninsula campaign) to be such a naif. Its probably fairest to say it's a case of Hornblower on horseback.

That's our protagonist through which we view the troubled life and times of end of the Peninsula War in 1814, keeping the peace in Ireland, and then Waterloo in 1815. Like O'Brien, where much of what is told is really about the Royal Navy, here much of what we get is a study of a cavalry regiment of the British Army - the horses, the officers, the troops. I suppose it is to a degree idealised, but its not hard to imagine the horror of battle either, and no holds are barred in the descriptions of the tragedy of Waterloo, even as a battle won.

The set piece of the book is the battle of Waterloo, which it seems to tell quite accurately, albeit focusing on the little part of the battle around Hervey. Yes, Hervey plays an important role which stretches credulity at times, but does so in an engaging manner. The book is interesting and informative both, and pretty good for a first novel. I'm certainly minded to read on and see where Hervey goes from here.
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Format: Paperback
Mallinson sets himself up for the inevitable comparisons with O'Brien and I would guess had some advice from the great man. These are not the literary masterpieces that make up the Aubrey / Maturin series, not by a long shot. The author is less patient with his art and as such you get a lot less complexity and depth of both character and relationships. Bafflingly Hervey the Cornet is already a military genius whose advice to the Duke (and his actions in the battle) seem to have won the "Close Run Thing" for the British!!!

However the book was good fun and historically very interesting. There is no doubt it is a much easier read than O'brien and I found the immediate aftermath of the battle of Waterloo to be genuinely moving. This is a good debut, O'Brien himself started badly with a very difficult novel to read!! Keep producing them, and I'll keep buying them every summer holiday.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book by my dad. He loves them and has read the whole series. I am not totally won over. It does seem like a very well researched and authentic story and I can very much believe this was what life was like. So far however it has failed to grab my attention. My Kindle only says 20% read - which might be the problem and I need to stick with it. it just seem they have been trotting about between battle, not doing that much except bluffing at each other and being very military and 'stiff upper lip' about life. I am sure there is more action to come but I haven't been bothered to get there just yet...
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