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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 10 July 2011

On His Majesty's Service

I picked up a copy of Alan Mallinson's latest book On His Majesty's Service, primarily because it appeared to cover the 1829 Russo-Turkish War in the Balkans.

After struggling through the first 100 pages, I remembered why I hadn't bought his books recently. This is an author who has a very detailed understanding of cavalry regiments and the society they operated in during the period. The problem is that he feels the need to share that detail with the reader. So the first hundred pages takes us through a fairly tedious round of social engagements typical of a upper class officer of the time. This is supposed to be historical fiction and as such should have action and a fast paced narrative. Sadly this book has neither.

On His Majesty's ServiceThe book improves when we eventually get to the Balkans, although the research is a little less detailed here. In fairness, this is not a well covered conflict in any language. In the best traditions of historical fiction our hero manages to be everywhere that matters and it does give a reasonable flavour of the conflict and in particular the problems faced by an Ottoman army in transition.

Overall, not my favourite author and not recommended.

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