The Chinese city of Shunkien is under siege, the Japanese military laying it to waste. In the middle of the city sits the American consulate, a fragile sanctuary packed with refugees, threatened not only by artillery, but by the ravages of starvation and cholera.
200 miles away, on the USS Miami, stands their only hope - Marine Gunnery Sergeant James Mitchell. As tough as Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan - and just as stubborn - if anybody can negotiate a crucial supply of gold and medicine through 200 miles of bullets, bombs and butchery, it’s Sergeant Mitchell.
But the Japanese are the least of his problems. First there’s Goldy Brown, the American fan-dancer who’s hitched along for the ride - a girl as unpredictable as her skirt is tight. And then there’s the greatest enemy of all: alcohol. Mitchell has a weakness for the bottle, and if he falls into one, it’s America that will pay the price.
As a young man, Hubbard visited Manchuria, where his closest friend headed up British intelligence in northern China. Hubbard gained a unique insight into the hostile political climate between China and Japan - a knowledge that informs stories like Orders Is Orders. In addition, he served as a First Sergeant with the 20th United States Marine Corps Reserve - giving him first-hand knowledge of what it means to be a Marine.