'Merdeka' (which means freedom or independence in Malay) is set in Malaya in 1957. The story covers both sides in the conflict and moves from jungle combat to romance on a tropical beach..... it shows the emotional cost of war.
Acting on secret intelligence a Gurkha patrol from the British Army is sent deep into the jungle to ambush a group of Chinese Communist Terrorists. It is accompanied by Alick Gordon, a young officer from the Scottish Border Regiment, Arthur Bryant, a seasoned District Superintendent from the Special Branch of the Malayan Police and Jalil, a tracker and guide from the local orang asli people.
The Communist Unit is led by Hor Too, a renowned and ruthless jungle fighter and is accompanied by Ah Sim, a female member of the Politburo. The tide has turned for the Communists due to the successful counter-insurgency campaign, where the phrase winning the 'hearts and minds' of a population was first coined.
The outcome of the ambush is unexpected and Alick Gordon is deeply affected by some of the deaths. In the days after independence (Merdeka) he takes a short break and makes a journey across Malaya. He finds comfort and solace in the company of those he meets, and one person will change his life forever.
“Merdeka is an excellent first novel from an exciting new author about the Malayan Emergency - a forgotten war and an emerging theme for contemporary fiction.”
The British Army Rumour Service
“This is a crisply told tale with a strong narrative line and a cast of well-drawn characters.”
Trevor Royle - Broadcaster and Author
"Merdeka is a military book that smoothly finds the balance between love, history and warfare."
Lachlan was educated in Edinburgh, except for two years spent in Malaysia and Singapore where he attended the Royal Naval Primary Schools in Johor Bahru and Singapore. He was awarded a University Cadetship by the Royal Navy, and went to Edinburgh University. A six month deployment to the Falkland Islands convinced him to join the Army, and he was commissioned into the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. During his military career he saw active service in Northern Ireland, before seconding to a Gurkha battalion (1/2 GR) in Hong Kong. He finished his Army career in charge of a Rifle Company and commanded a UK Contingent on a major international training exercise in New Zealand. He also attended a military training exercise in Malaysia, based at Terendak Camp near Malacca. He left the Army in Hong Kong and started work as a management consultant, before taking up a management position in a regional joint venture between Securicor plc in the UK and Jardine Pacific Ltd in Hong Kong. After nearly seven years in Hong Kong, he was sent to Taiwan where he set up Securicor Taiwan Ltd. Four years later he was sent to Thailand where he ran Securicor's businesses for two years. After a short spell in India, he returned to the UK at the millennium and, in July 2000, set up his own business, BenAlpin Ltd, a UK based independent consultancy providing commercial security advice and business support & advisory services. In 2004 Lachlan co-founded the European ATM Security Team (EAST), which gathers and provides security related information for the European ATM industry and facilitates effective representation of ATM related security issues at relevant European central institutions. He is a Director of EAST and manages the group, which now has representation from 28 countries. Married to Becky, and father of Neil and Craig, Lachlan now lives in Scotland on a hill overlooking the River Tay. Neil M. Gunn, the acclaimed Scottish writer, is