Stand by to weigh anchor. Captain Rowden sails again.
December, 1941. Having survived the Atlantic convoys, Oriental Venture, under the command of hard-bitten and war-weary skipper Bill Rowden, is bound for Bangkok. The Japanese are locked in brutal combat in China with the Nationalist government and the communists but, elsewhere, the Far East enjoys a fragile peace. With orders to load a cargo of rice for Singapore, Rowden arrives in a city awash with intrigue in which Allied and Axis spies jockey to discover one another’s secrets.
Invited to dinner at the Oriental Hotel, once favoured by Joseph Conrad, Rowden is surprised to meet an old friend, military intelligence agent Arnold Spencer, recently promoted to Colonel in the Australian Army. Enigmatic as always, Spencer gives little away, but Rowden’s tingling fingers are a sure sign of trouble.
With loading complete, the ship is ready to leave when an unseasonal thunderstorm blankets the city during the night. At the height of the storm, a boat unexpectedly pulls alongside. Its passengers, including two Russians, one of whom is a woman with whom Rowden has previously tangled, bear a secret that could change the fortunes of the war.
Together with his uninvited guests, Rowden embarks on a race against time, treachery and a looming enemy. With the clock ticking, will the Far East remain at peace or will the Second World War spread to all corners of the globe?
In this, the third, instalment of his adventures, Captain Rowden and his crew face their toughest challenges and deadliest enemies yet, with no guarantees of survival.
The new book, Oriental Valiant, is scheduled for publication in December. The first chapter can be read here.
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