PERSONAL: Married; children: two daughters.
ADDRESSES: Home—Rome, Italy. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Overlook Press, One Overlook Dr., Woodstock, NY 12498.
CAREER: British Cavalry, career officer serving as military attaché for Italy British Cavalry, 1969, second in 13th/18th Hussars, 1975, then commander, 1988–91, retiring as lieutenant colonel.
Light Dragoons: The Origins of a New Regiment (nonfiction), Leo Cooper (London, England), 2003.
Contributor of reviews to periodicals including London Times and Spectator.
"MATTHEW HERVEY" SERIES; NOVELS
A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Nizam's Daughters, Bantam Books (London, England), 2000.
A Regimental Affair, Bantam Books (London, England), 2001, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2002.
A Call to Arms, Bantam Books (London, England), 2002.
The Sabre's Edge, Bantam Books (London, England), 2003, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 2004.
Rumors of War, Bantam Books (London, England), 2004.
An Act of Courage, Bantam Books (London, England), 2005.
ADAPTATIONS: An Act of Courage was adapted to audio cassette, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: British author Allan Mallinson entered a career in the British Cavalry in 1969 after deciding against becoming an Anglican priest. He served in various posts abroad, including in Germany, the Far East, and Northern Ireland, prior to being seconded to the 13/18th Hussars in 1975. At this time he assisted with emergency training in anticipation of a tour of Ulster. He eventually transferred to the Hussars permanently, and served as the commander from 1988 to 1991. His military career continues to afford him the opportunity for travel, providing background for his writing.
Mallinson developed an enthusiasm for the works of Patrick O'Brian, enjoying the adventures of Aubrey and Maturin, but was discouraged by the lack of a similar series that did equal justice to Wellington's cavalry. He decided to take matters into his own hands and began writing a book series that would fit his interests. The first volume begins the story of Matthew Hervey, a cornet serving in the Sixth Light Dragoon, a regiment Mallinson created. Subsequent books follow Hervey through various battles and adventures, across a broad range of locations. Mallinson's early religious roots are reflected in Hervey as he reflects on the role of Christianity and his beliefs in army life. A reviewer for BrothersJudd.com noted that "Hervey's spirituality and morality, his need not just to do the right thing but to understand which is the right thing and why, add a texture to his character that prevents him from being merely a pulp fiction hero."
Hervey's character develops throughout the series, even if Hervey himself advances very little in his career. Instead, Mallinson uses Hervey to reflect on the changes going on around him, both politically and within the world of the military. In A Regimental Affair Hervey returns to the Sixth Light Dragoons after a tour in India, only to find that the platoon is very different due to the leadership of a new commanding officer who does not appreciate Hervey's vast experience and record. Margaret Flanagan remarked in Booklist that "Mallinson's meticulously researched yarn represents historical military fiction at its finest."
A Call to Arms sees Matthew Hervey traveling to the jungles of Burma in a novel Kliatt critic Edna Boardman called "slow-moving and detailed." Mallinson describes the difficulties of travel and the long wait times required on such a campaign, highlighting the vast differences between past and current military strategies. Boardman commented that, while not a quick read, the book is "a treat for the reader who enjoys intimately sharing the milieu of the military of that period."
The Sabre's Edge finds Hervey in Calcutta, following a recovery period from an injury he suffered in Burma. A contributor to Publishers Weekly observed that Mallinson was "too lavish with rarefied British military idiom and references to India's obscure past," while Flanagan, in another Booklist review, called the book an "authentically rousing martial epic [that] evokes all the sweat, gore, and glory of the British Raj."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Margaret Flanagan, review of A Regimental Affair, p. 992; May 15, 2004, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Sabre's Edge, p. 1609.
Kliatt, September, 2004, Edna Boardman, review of A Call to Arms, p. 54.
Publishers Weekly, May 31, 2004, review of The Sabre's Edge, P. 52.
Spectator, March 13, 2004, Robert Stewart Castlereagh, "Soldiering on in Spain," review of Rumors of War, p. 39.
BritishEmpire.com, http://www.britishempire.com.uk/ (February 23, 2005), "Allan Mallinson."
BrothersJudd.com, http://www.brothersjudd.com/ (February 23, 2005), review of A Close Run Thing: A Novel of Wellington's Army of 1815.
Fantastic Fiction Web site, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (February 23, 2005), "Allan Mallinson."
Random House of Canada Web site, http://www.randomhouse.ca/ (February 23, 2005), "Allan Mallinson."