1897. The North West Frontier.
A quiet life is a mixed blessing for the British Army.
For in slackness could lie the seeds of disaster, as Captain James Ogilvie of the 114th Queen's Own Royal Strathspeys sees in his own Highlanders.
But it is far worse in the 99th Rawalpindi Light Infantry to whom he is temporarily seconded in order, to quote the General, to pull the sepoy battalion up by its boot-strings. And only just in time.
Captain James Ogilvie and the Rawalpindis are entrusted with the task of returning through the Khyber to carry the terms of the Ghilzai chieftain, Jarar Mahommed, to Peshawar.
It will be a perilous mission.
The pressure mounts as Olgilvie becomes responsible for the safety of the British Resident, his charming daughter and ailing wife in mid-winter through a hostile pass where countless British lives have already been laid down for the Raj.
But that is not all. Ogilvie has also acquired another and altogether more perplexing responsibility in the shape of an unstable young subaltern, fresh from Sandhurst, who has already gained a far from savoury reputation...
Civilian cheese-paring in Calcutta spells the end of a discreet subsidy which was keeping the Ghilzai chieftain Jarar Mahommed, docile on his own Afghanistan side of the Khyber.
Jarar Mahommed retaliates swiftly by holding the British Resident at Kunarja to ransom with his family.
As Ogilvie and the Rawalpindis, sent to their relief, march into a Ghilzai trap, the gates of Kunarja close behind them...
‘The Lion’s Den’ tells of the action, hardship and violent death in the life of a soldier of the Queen-Empress on the bleakest and most inhospitable outpost of her Empire. It is the next thrilling installment in the James Ogilvie series.
"His character conflicts are well organised." — Daily Telegraph
"A most exciting successor to his first novel — and it is just as rugged." — The Times, Hamilton, New Zealand
Philip McCutchan is a well-known thriller and suspense writer whose special interest in the old British Army in India and the various frontier engagements of the 1890s and the turn of the century has led him to research the period with care and with a novelist's eye for detail.
Previously published as ‘The Gates of Kunarja’