On Fire

(6 reviews)


On Fire is the first book in the Miles Player trilogy – A Military Education. Miles is serving in Hong Kong during the 1950’s and is called up to the front line in the Korean war.


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Miles Player is a young army officer serving in Hong Kong in the early 1950s. When his regiment is called to the Korean War he finds his real military education starts. The polo and partying of colonial highlife and the arms of his beloved Kitty are left behind. Nothing could be more real than his new life with his soldiers and the dramas and feelings they share.

As Miles and his men face the harsh reality of battle we witness, through his eyes, acts of friendship and enmity, ambition and frailty, courage and cowardice, and love and betrayal. We also see the caprice of fortune. Yet there are moments of hilarity and periods of great fun. The intensity of life in the front line – makeshift living conditions, constant shelling, and ever-present fear – casts Miles’ earlier days into sharp relief. And, as he comes face to face with the impact of the war and his times, he also senses that Britain’s power and prestige are dwindling.

Additional information

Weight 1 kg

6 reviews for On Fire

  1. Andrew Roberts

    A compelling story of a young officer’s baptism of fire – and more – capturing the idioms and manners of the 1950s with uncanny accuracy. A really excellent read. (from back cover).

  2. Anthony Blond

    Most moving. Having published many first novelists it is a pleasure to welcome a new talent of mature years. (from back cover)

  3. Professor Gary Sheffield

    He has lovingly recreated the atmosphere of a British Infantry battalion of the Korean War with great skill and an accurate eye for period detail. An excellent read and a haunting evocation of a long-vanished era. (from back cover)

  4. Max Hastings

    I enjoyed ‘On Fire’ enormously. It presents a wonderfully vivid picture of the experience of Korea for young officers of the British Army. It is a campaign that deserves to be much better known than it is, and John Ogden has made a notable contribution to keeping alive its memories. (from back cover)

  5. The Tablet, Novel of the Week

    There is an infectious sense of fun as well as a melancholy. It is years since I enjoyed a novel quite so much and I recommend it unreservedly to readers. (from back cover)

  6. Country Life

    His prose is taut, his ear for class nuance sure, his characters well-drawn at all levels. A compulsively readable story, the Forgotten War comes vividly alive. (from back cover)

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