Most helpful positive review
Bawd and Bullets
on 22 November 2010
I enjoyed this, but it is a very hard book to categorise. There is a bit of Tom Sharpe in here, along with Leslie Thomas, maybe a bit of Jeeves and Wooster too! This is a bawdy and semi comic romp set within the Airborne assault of Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in 1944.
Dick Coward and his trusty sergeant Price join the forces that dropped into Arnhem in what was anticipated to be an easy mission to take the bridge, Coward is keen to prove to his father that he is worthy of inheriting the family estate and Price wants to keep Coward alive while killing as many of the enemy as possible.
Told from the perspective of an elderly Coward recounting his life's adventures this blends an accurate and detailed military perspective with the light touch of very entertaining characters. The author treads a careful path between respect for the military action and the lives lost but injects circumstantial humour around his lead character. The Brits are shown with a stoic and sarcastic humour in the face of considerable adversity and the author also resists the opportunity to make light of the Americans, instead showing their enormous bravery as they tried to support the beleaguered British troops. In the middle of this we have the likeable Coward trying to do his best but ending up in all sorts of scrapes ranging from the bawdy to the circumstantial. The one liners zip around as much as the bullets.
This is the second in what I thought would be a long series, but I sense that the author has resolved things to the degree that he does not need to continue if his inclination takes him elsewhere. That would be a shame as the balancing act shown here demonstrates his ability but I also understand that this must be a hard book to market.
Worth seeking out.