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Words of Command, by Allan Mallinson (Bantam Press, £18.99). Matthew Hervey, the dashing cavalryman, is back in his twelfth adventure. Now a Lieutenant-Colonel, Matthew finally takes command of the 6th Light Dragoons, the regiment he joined as a youngster during the Napoleonic Wars.

There is little over-arching plot; rather in an episodic fashion, Hervey deals with internal regiment politics and civilian unrest. This is 1830, and old certainties about class and subservience are being challenged. Eventually, the 6th are sent to Belgium, where Hervey must act swiftly to quell an international incident. This is one for the fans; who will not be disappointed by Mallinson’s winning combination of scrupulous research and derring-do. Hervey is patriotic, courageous and, as ever, a tad humourless. With the French in front, and the Russians behind, Hervey’s your man. For a pie and a port, give me Flashman every time.