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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Return' - what a great read
I served with Chris Darnell in the Army and operated in some of the places he describes - his fluent pen evoked strong memories for me of places, times, events and people; and he also managed to weave all that military authenticity into a well-paced and absorbing first novel. His words and intent are as honest as the man himself - this is a very genuine book by someone...
Published on 14 Jan 2012 by porte368

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but...
Was tempted to give it 4 stars but not quite there! First part set in NI very good but the awful comedy theatre Irish dialogue spoilt it for me (touch of the Big Jim McDonald form Coronation Street so it is so it is to be sure begorra !!) I don't know any Irish that speak like that. The actual incident happened on 13 Dec 1989 at Derryard, of course I do remember it, PIRA...
Published 4 months ago by P. M. G.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Return' - what a great read, 14 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I served with Chris Darnell in the Army and operated in some of the places he describes - his fluent pen evoked strong memories for me of places, times, events and people; and he also managed to weave all that military authenticity into a well-paced and absorbing first novel. His words and intent are as honest as the man himself - this is a very genuine book by someone who knows what he is talking about and has 'been there'. Stanton's care and love for his men reflects what almost every military leader feels about his soldiers; and is certainly what Chris felt about his Jocks.

What I really liked about this novel is how smoothly Chris combines fact and fiction, never getting bogged down in technical explanation (and operations in Northern Ireland could be very technical) but rarely leaving the layman struggling for understanding. The characters are believable, the pace hot and the descriptions of the hardship of soldiering on operations bang on.

There is a freshness in Chris's writing that demands an audience; this is not McLean or Cornwell or Iggulden repackaged, it's a genuinely new contribution to fact-based fiction. This is a great first novel; I can't wait for Paul Stanton's reappearance. Bring it on, Chris!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracker, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
What a wonderful book. The Return is a great blend of fact and fiction creating a real sense of place and time that many will recognise. Once you start reading you can't stop, everytime you think a pause is on its way, it grips you again. I can't wait for the sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return by Chris Darnell, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A great read and a real page turner. Ranging from the 'Bandit Country' of South Armagh to the Cold War streets of West Berlin this is a story of true soldiering with gritty authenticity and a human heart. Looking forward to Major Stanton's return.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Return, 7 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
At a time when politicians of all hues would like us to conveniently brush the "Long War" in Northern Ireland under the carpet, Chris Darnell confronts us with a gripping tale that is a version of thinly disguised partial reality coupled with a wild revenge fantasy. This makes "The Return" both compelling and yet highly disturbing reading for those who know about operations in Northern Ireland in the 1980's, particularly the incident upon which the story is based, as well as for the more discerning general reader. There is no doubting the authenticity of the descriptions of the British Army in Northern Ireland and Berlin of this period, which are instantly recognisable and well drawn. The characters strike one as true and believable and the plot line is delivered at a cracking light infantry pace. One senses that this novel has been an act of catharsis for the author, but in the process it may well have raised the "Banquo ghosts" of unanswered questions, to which some explosive responses may yet come to light. As a pure novel, this is an action packed story of its genre that delivers highly in plot and atmosphere and will give the general reader a good insight into the courage, fear and loathing that was a feature of this troubled conflict. For any TV or film producer, this novel could be adapted easily for the large or small screen to make forceful viewing. The author has laid the groundwork for a greater development of the moral and ethical dilemmas facing governments and those who do their dirty work at the sharp end through the character of Paul Stanton and his exploits and I hope that his future novels will explore this theme in more depth.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informed and Enthralling..., 5 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paperback)
In a world penetrated by cold and darkness, isolation and incarceration, it is his men that provide a shimmer of life and light, bringing warmth to Major Paul Stanton. A credible yet deeply compelling character, Stanton's perilous venture across forsaken territories takes the reader from Northern Ireland to West Berlin. With fanatical enemies camouflaged in the darkness, it is hard to know where the plot will next take us. Entwining fact and fiction, Darnell's narrative dissects an essential period of British military history whilst also capturing the courageous and demonic faces of man. Raw, terrifying and utterly enthralling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspense, 28 April 2012
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This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a fantastic book and a great insight into the troubles in Ireland. Well worth a read as it covers both sides struggle and abhorrance of all that it entails.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Return - a great first novel, 26 April 2012
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This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
A good read with a fast-moving plot combined with believable characters and a good flow between the sections.

I was impressed with the sense of place, a feeling of "being there". Images created - such as the scenes in the Milltown Cemetery - have a strong sense of realism. It captures a feeling of both Northern Ireland and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Berlin from the military "insiders" viewpoint.

The characters are well drawn, but not too stereo-typical, and keep the reader interested in what happens to them next. All in all a great first effort.

When do we get Paul Stanton (2) Chris??
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading The Return, 15 April 2012
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This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this as my first digital book, to read on my phone, and I didn't have very high expectations about how the experience would pan out. So I was surprised one night to find it was 2 hours earlier that I started reading and that I had a very cold arm and hand!
This is not a reflection of reading off a phone, more of the story. An interesting insight into services life in Ireland that became a gripping page turner - and on a phone you do a lot of that !
Not quite a Dan Brown but a great story with good descriptive passages and fast pace action too. But the best bit was not the style or particularly the story and especially not the presentation on my phone, but it was getting lost and living the story in the pages, and that for me was the surprise. That made the book a pleasure to read.
Expectations well exceeded by Darnell - can the next one be as good ? Let's hope so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Return - One for the Jocks, 28 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
An excellent read from start to finish. Much to my wifes annoyance, I often give running commentary on how unrealistic a situation is because the author has went over the top and taken certain liberties with the truth for dramatic effect. Definitely NOT this one! There was no need. Chris has captured more than enough dramatic effect in the reality of operations in Northern Ireland and Cold War era Berlin. How do I know? - I was there, you can't separate the facts from fiction. Where does Stanton go from here? I hope I don't have to wait too long to find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Retun, 14 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Return (Paul Stanton Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a cracking good read, well informed and with great attention to detail. Having served in the areas featured in the book, Chris darnell has very much captured the atmosphere. The almost claustrophobic feeling of being in that border town, the hostility so tangible that one could almost taste it, the heart-stopping moments when on patrol, mixed with the mind numbing boredom that made up 90% of the tour took me back in my head to a time when life was much less routine than it is now.
A very good first novel, and I look forward to more from this author.
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