Wednesday, July 04, 2018

"The Passage to India".. a review..

We Hervey fans have waited a log time for this one (three years), but for me at least, it was WELL worth the wait..

Six months after the previous events in Belgium, this book is set in 1831 at the time of the riots and rebellions over parliamentary reform..

Hervey is summoned to Bristol where widespread fire setting, looting and rioting, has almost taken over the city..  setting to with his usual calm efficiency and zeal, Hervey musters his available forces, assumes command, and puts down the riot forcibly ("flat of the steel, only use the edge if threatened")

Despite it needing to be done, the radicals and liberals, take him to task in the press, and with remembrances of Peterloo still fresh, and Wellington no longer prime minister and able to provide support, an inquiry is held in to the events, and in which Hervey although never charged is brought to the public's attention. The descriptions of what it must have been like for an army officer of the time, treading the fine line always between what is, and is not, seen as 'sufficient force' in civil disturbance is very well put.. either way Hervey is under a dark cloud indeed.

With time on his hands attending the enquiry, Hervey has time to attend a charitable concert at which his estranged wife is playing, and is present when she collapses on stage . .  I always thought of her as a cold fish, but it turns out the doctor suggests post natal depression may have been behind her reserve, and her endless piano practice.. 

A very long overdue recovery and rapprochement follows, but is followed by the further good news that his friend Eyre Somerville has persuaded the Court of Directors of the East India Company to approve an increase in the Madras military establishment and that Hervey and the 6th Light Dragoons are to be sent to the princely state of Coorg where the Rajah is in revolt against the East India Company's terms.

Hervey is given command of the expedition and substantive rank of Major General, and successfully completes the annexation, returning with the Rajah as prisoner..  no spoilers here, as the campaign is arduous, and fascinating...  more here if interested [clicky]

Returning to garrison Hervey is met with further good news, but you won't hear it from me - buy the book you will not be disappointed..

It's been a good year for 10's on the book reviews, so in the words of the immortal 'Spinal Tap', Steve the Wargamer rates this one as an 11.. or at least 10+ 

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