This is the fifth book in the ‘Fancy Jack’ Crossman series, following the adventures of a British soldier through the various imperial wars of the Victorian era. There are obvious similarities with Harry Flashman and Richard Sharpe. With such a huge variety of exotic settings to sample, each loaded in legend, the attraction is obvious.
Fancy Jack is of aristocratic birth, clearly officer material even though he joins the army as a private after a quarrel with his father. In Rogue Officer he has finally made it to commissioned rank, fighting in the last phases of the Indian Mutiny, the mopping-up operations we did not learn about at school. Not that we have any details of the ruthless repression that followed the Mutiny. The story mainly concerns a vendetta between two army officers, involving the aristocratic code of honour and practice of duelling. Jack is not the ‘rogue officer’; that is his rival, who has his comeuppance at the end of the book, although not quite as one might expect.
This is not a tongue-in-the-cheek satire like the Flashman series. The absurd code of honour is accepted without comment, as the framework for a straight adventure story.