1828: The stability of the Cape Colony has been threatened by Xhosa tribesman who have been making incursions across the borders.And when Hervey is told by his old friend, Sir Eyre Somervile, that the Zulu warrior king Shaka is about to make war on neighbouring tribes in the south of the country, he knows that matters are perilous indeed. Leaving his new wife in England, Hervey speeds to his friend's aid. He and Somervile journey to meet the Zulu king, but Shaka's royal kraal is a horrifying place. The sentinels at the gates are corpses, and it is soon becomes apparent that Shaka has slaughtered thousands of his own people. Into this febrile atmosphere ride Hervey, Somervile and their escort of dragoons and mounted rifles. But the sudden death of the Zulu king plunges the region into civil war, and Hervey and his men into terrible danger. Yet worse is to come. As Hervey leads Shaka's queen across the veldt to safety, he knows he must cross an alien landscape where they will be hunted by wild animals - and deadly warriors.
Allan Mallinson is a former serving cavalry officer. He is also the author of Light Dragoons, a history of four regiments of British Cavalry, one of which he commanded, a defence commentator for the Daily Telegraph and a regular reviewer for The Times and the Spectator. His previous novels, all featuring Matthew Hervey, are available in Bantam paperback.