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Coward at the Bridge
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About the Author
James Delingpole is a journalist, broadcaster and author of six books including How To Be Right, Thinly Disguised Autobiography, and the Dick Coward series. He writes for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Mail On Sunday, the Sunday Times, The Times, the Independent On Sunday on everything from rock to culture to politics and gardening. He is married with children and lives in South London. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
I loved it so hope you do too.
This is so, so bad. A couple of Delingpole's fans seem to be getting incensed at all the comparisons between the Coward novels and Flashman, their argument being that the two characters are different and therefore shouldn't be compared. Which would be a perfectly valid argument, except, that's clearly what Delingpole was aiming for. There's a fine line between emulation and imitation, and at times it felt like Delingpole came dangerously close to owing the Fraser estate money. The format, the rambling narrative style, the concept: there is almost nothing in this book that can't be viewed as a Flashman rip-off. The problem is, this author seems to want to have his cake and eat it: he wants Coward to get into loads of it's-his-own-fault trouble, but at the same time he wants his hero to actually be heroic; he wants to have the touch of naughtiness, but goes too far by also trying to appeal to the Fifty Shades audience; he wants the memoir-style format, but shoots himself in the foot by depicting it as a tape recording intended for a grandson (how many grandfathers do you know who would, when speaking to younger members of their family, go into graphic detail about the messy end results of premature ejaculation?); the list goes on.
And on top of all that, Coward at the Bridge is 'so' badly written. When I'd realised I wasn't going to enjoy the book for its humour, which falls so embarrassingly flat, I stuck with it in the belief that (as some reviewers have commented) the action scenes would be worth the effort of getting to them; but I am genuinely struggling to think of another military-themed novel in which the action sequences are so slow, disjointed and dull. The descriptions of battle were so 'distant', there was rarely any sense of urgency and, on a staggering number of occasions, the author resorts to summarizing (!) the actual fighting after he's spent pages and pages making his readers sit through the approach.
This was definitely a below-average read--at no point did I either laugh (or even smile) or get any sense of excitement. Which is a real shame. The book had such potential. All I can say is, thank God the third book in the series got cancelled.
This had me grabbed from page 1 - the first couple of lines are hilarious and I'm glad to say it continues right the way through to the end.
A fantastic book, only downside is the next one isnt due for over a year! When can I pre-order
Bravo Mr Delingpole
Delingpole has a fine line to tread. He has to make us interested in some of the absurdities of Market Garden (step forward the immaculately turned-out General 'Boy' Browning and his insistance of taking his Corps HQ into battle on Day 1) without making fun of the frontline troops.
The author writes his action secquences well, and while it is true that some of Coward's comings-and-goings do seem a bit confusing, Delingpole has to get his character around the campaign battlefield if we as his readers are to get a flavour of some the key incidents.
I enjoyed the action sequences and I will certainly read more in the series. However, I think Delingpole needs to rethink how he does Coward's domestic background. Like some others, I found the first few chapters slow going, the book definitely changes up a gear when we get into action, and is almost another book.
What saves it, for me, is Delingpole's obvious research and reading and deep respect for the airborne soldiers he writes about.