1827, and Matthew Hervey is on the look out for a new posting.
He soon finds one in the Cape Colonies, where there is need of a man to re-organise the local forces, and in particular to form a new company of horse.
Accompanied by a mixed-race captain from the disbanded Royal African Corps, Hervey heads out into the great South African plains and towards the territory of the Zulu and their legendary leader, King Shaka.
But it is not till he nears the Umtata River that his fiercest battle really begins. For the Zulus fight like no army he has encountered before. As Hervey and his greenhorn troops are plunged into battle, death is only a heartbeat away...
'Matthew Hervey has now joined Sharpe and Jack Aubrey as a creation of superlative skills and character.' Birmingham Post