Saturday, 4 May 2013


     A couple of days ago I typed the most beautiful words in the English language:  The End.

     It's always a relief to finish a book but this one - the tenth novel in the Simon Fonthill series and the thirteenth of mine in all - had a kind of modern resonance.  As I finished it, signing off after Simon had fought with the Gordon Highlanders in the great Pathan Revolt in the North West Frontier of India in 1897, I heard on the radio that three Scottish soldiers had been killed by the Teleban in Afghanistan.

     My book - BAYONETS ACROSS THE BORDER, due out next year - has the British fighting against Muslim fundamentalists, stirred up by Afghan preachers.  The events in Helmund Province and, indeed, the assassination of a Pakistani candidate in the elections there, virtually at the same time, were caused by the same breed of religious fanatics in roughly the same place.

     Can any other war have lasted for 116 years, albeit intermittently, fighting over the same ground?

     Talk about the Wheel of Life!  Makes you weep, doesn't it?