In Allan Mallinson's critically acclaimed A Close Run Thing, young Matthew Hervey displayed valor and acumen at the Battle of Waterloo with his beloved 6th Light Dragoons. Now, in this rousing new military novel, Hervey is promoted to captain, and the late summer of 1815 finds him on an adventure to a far-flung corner of the burgeoning British Empire. In India Hervey encounters a fascinating land of dust and heat, spice-laden breezes and primal jungle--and a challenge of a more tortuous kind.
As the victorious English cavalry see Napoleon exiled, and hail a long-awaited "peace on earth," Captain Matthew Hervey finds himself posted to a place of ingrained strife. The Duke of Wellington's new aide-de-camp, Matthew must postpone his marriage to the beautiful Lady Henrietta Lindsay and make the long and hazardous sea voyage to India for what Wellington has called "deuced tricky work." Matthew's covert mission will embroil him in the jostling of native potentates and England's encroaching East India Company--both threatened by lawless bands of horsemen bent on plunder and massacre.
When Matthew's journeying leads him to the small key state of Chintal, he thinks himself close to his objective. But at the rajah's sumptuous court he discovers that war in India is waged as often with money and spies as with the clear-cut tactics of the battlefield--with battles won through devious conversations and murderous perfidy. And Matthew, torn between his honor and his destiny, is drawn deeper into the court's serpentine coils than he ever dreamed.
What are the secrets of the charming and cultivated rajah? Of his daughter, exotic as any temple carving, who is the true power of the palace? Are the English officials all what they seem to be? And will the neighboring nizam, a Muslim greedily eyeing the Hindu terrain of Chintal, make it the target of his infamous "beautiful daughters," the most fearsome guns in India?
With vividly authentic detail, ferocious action, and beguiling characters, Honorable Company brings to life a forgotten era in a land as sensual as it is magnificent, where human intrigue vies with fate for the lives and souls of men.
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Published November 28, 2000
History, Literature & Fiction.