Mills and Bang are the foremost publishers of military romance, the only genre which satisfies both men and women with its extraordinary blend of war and passion, of kissing and killing. Here is the rundown on a couple of the latest novels from Mills and Bang, out in time for the Christmas market
‘Bad news, colonel’, said the man from the MoD as gently as he could, which was not very gently at all. ‘Your regiment is going to be amalgamated.’
Colonel Wilkerson gasped. His very own precious Cumbrian Rifles? One of the oldest regiments in Britain? But they couldn't do this! The Cumbrians had been everywhere. They had been at Blenheim. They had been at Waterloo. They would also have been at Sebastopol if they hadn't gone to Kabul by mistake. . .
‘May I ask who we are merging with?’
‘The East Kent Fusiliers.’
Oh God. It was so typical of the MoD. Merging a very old regiment from the north-west with a johnny-come-lately regiment from the far south-east.
‘People talk about amalgamation, but we prefer to think of it as a marriage,’ said the MoD man.
‘An arranged marriage,’ said Wilkerson bitterly.
‘Yes,’ said the MoD man. ‘Perhaps so. Wait till you meet Colonel Melville of the East Kents.’
Wilkerson could just visualise him. Some smooth young career man. More at home in a suit than uniform. More used to a computer than a gun . . .
So it was something of a surprise when he came face to face with Colonel Melville. Colonel Rosie Melville. Five foot six, curly-haired, no longer young but still damned attractive Colonel Rosie Melville.
‘But . . . you're a woman!’ he couldn't help gasping.
‘That's what all the latest tests say,’ she smiled, enjoying his discomfiture. ‘Well, Colonel, how are things up in bonny Cumbria?’
No, thought Colonel Wilkerson. I must not fall for her wiles. I must fight against this. But just how the two regiments were finally successfully merged in the eyes of the MoD, and just how the fates of Colonel Wilkerson and Rosie Melville were also finally amalgamated in the eyes of the Church of England, makes a gripping story of passion, drama and basic supply logistics.
‘Sir,’ said Petty Officer Bones. ‘Might I have a word, sir?
‘Y-e-e-s?’ said Captain Jolly absently.
He was staring from the bridge at the open ocean, hoping against hope to see South America on the horizon.
‘It's about our destination, sir.’
‘Going to Latin America. Courtesy visit. La Asuncion. Lovely place.’
‘Sir, the men can't help noticing that we always go to La Asuncion. Wherever the Admiralty orders us to go, we never go there. We always go to La Asuncion.’
‘I have made a promise to the Mayoress of La Asuncion to return there. She asked it as a favour. You wouldn't want me to offend a lady, would you?’
‘No, sir, but . . . we've been there fifteen times already this year, Sir! We haven't been anywhere else!’
‘It is my conviction that in any future world war, La Asuncion is going to be of vital naval strategic importance, Mr Bones,’ said Captain Jolly.
‘But sir ! La Asuncion is thirty miles inland! We have to get there by bus!’
It was no good. The old boy was besotted with Senora Herrero. Petty Officer Bones told himself that, at this rate, mutiny would be the only rational answer. Little did he know that he, too, within twenty-four hours was destined to meet a little senorita called Chiquita Linda who would utterly change his views on the importance of obeying Admiralty orders.
More Mills and Bang novels before next Christmas!
The Independent Thurs Dec 2 04