I’ve had a few queries recently about whether there is a new Jack Tanner in the pipeline – I suppose because for the past four years, a new one has always come out around this time. The answer is, yes, there is, and it’s underway, but will be coming out in hardback a bit later – in the autumn this time. The paperback will be out this time next year, as normal – in fact HELLFIRE is published in paperback this coming week, on the same day as DAM BUSTERS.
I’m setting the new book in Sicily in July and August 1943, and has a working title of ‘Betrayal’ – for all sorts of reasons, but not least because by 1943 the original moral reasons for Britain entering the war have started to become blurred by the terrible compromises that have to be made in times of war, and especially now that the war is being fought on densely populated territory. But this new book will also have the Mafia playing a part; they had been almost eradicated during the Mussolini years, but swiftly come to dominate many Sicilian’s lives once more as they work alongside the Allies to help with the invasion.
Tanner himself is recently returned from a stint working with the Americans in Tunisia and is a company commander under a new battalion commander – and a man who takes against him from the outset. There is also the death of one of the long-standing characters, and all in all, Tanner is getting pretty browned off with the whole affair and questioning both his future and what they are fighting for.
Seaborne invasions, a dusky Sicilian beauty, the murder of some Italian troops, a vicious commanding officer, Mafia hoodlums, a few Yanks, and the mortal wounding of Hedley Verity – and lots and lots of action against the Hermann Goering Fallschmirpanzerkorps. I hope it’ll be more than up to scratch…