Brigadier Mallinson spent over thirty years in the army, first as an infantryman, then in light cavalry; he commanded the 13th/18th Hussars for four years, and his last post was as defence attaché in Rome. He retired to a life of authorship, and has written a number of historical novels about nineteenth-century warfare. His latest book, strictly historical, begins in 1642 on Edgehill, with mostly amateur soldiers fighting the opening battle of the war that cost Charles I his head, and goes right through to the present day, when the individual volunteer professional soldier belongs to a much more sophisticated unit, with equipment undreamed of in the 1640s but with some ideas in his head that were first instilled into the national consciousness during the Civil War.
Mallinson does not recount every battle, but describes a great many, picking out those he thinks most memorable – such as Steenkerk, fought in 1692 between William III and the Duc de Luxembourg. William lost, with heavy casualties, but the army learned a great deal – above all,