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Hold Fast: A Hollywood Pirate's Tale Paperback – 21 Nov 2015
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Top customer reviews
The editing on this book is not particularly good. Spelling and grammatical mistakes abound. (The introduction by Ray Winstone - which is a classic example of character assassination - is called a ‘forward’) For a company that has published numerous books, this seems lazy and quite unforgivable.
The anecdotes recounted are sometimes confusing and are often left open-ended, which can be frustrating for the reader. Stories seem to pop up as though the writer has just thought of them, rather than appearing in a more logical sequence. It all seems rather fragmented and unplanned. Again, more time spent editing would have been appreciated.
The final result is a book that is entertaining but ultimately unsatisfying.
The book opens with a great introduction from actor Ray Winstone, which is in itself (almost) worth reading the book for. Anyone who has had the pleasure to sit down with Mr Ryan and listen to his life stories will find this book greatly entertaining. It touches on very personal subjects, on the people he shared parts of his lifepath with, his road to London's West End and Evita, the relationships with his fellow actors (among them Robin of Sherwood's Michael Praed, with whom he experienced a somewhat strained relationship during a later project in which they both participated), on his Robin of Sherwood days and on his subsequent move to the US. Ryan talks about the filming of First Knight and Bob Anderson the exceptional swordmaster, as well as of King Arthur and the great promise actress Keira Knightley already showed during shooting that movie. Talking about close contact points, Ryan's work in Ireland for King Arthur brought him unexpectedly close to Republican sympathisers (not the best place to be for a British soldier!).
Those who love background stories on famous actors won't be disappointed. Yet, all chapters in the book have a slight undertone of warning, maybe to remind the reader that underneath of all that glitter of Hollywood, there is a world that is the perfect negative image of the business' glamour. Ryan's work as a Licensed Private Investigator and his work in the recovery business (protecting recovering drug addicts from relapsing) provide for some very harrowing tales, recounting acts of unspeakable evil. The book offers insight in those interconnected worlds, and it provides a thorough education too! I know very little of modern weaponry, yet after reading Hold Fast I do know exactly which gun to use in a particular life-threatening situation!
Of course, Ryan also elaborates on his time in South Africa filming Black Sails, in which he played Mr Gates, for on a variation on a saying by Mark Twain, he lived and was good and God permitted him to be a pirate. Working on Black Sails was an amazing experience for him, even after a lifetime in the business (one does wonder, how much action and endeavour can a person pack into one lifetime?). The book's title Hold Fast derives from the pirate world, as pirates would tattoo the letters on their fingers, reminding them to hold fast to ropes and ship, or to inevitably drown.
Possibly the best part of the book, and the Transformer fans will absolutely love this, is Ryan's account of his collaboration with famous director Michael Bay on the four films of the franchise. It turns out that voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire and Lockdown involves a lot of running!
To conclude this review, I have to say I very much enjoyed the little quotes the book offers on how Ryan has approached his own rollercoaster type of a life, always emphasising boldness in making one's choices as well as trusting the Universe in opening paths for us when others seem irreversibly overgrown. I propose there should be a Hold Fast part 2, in which we see even more of Ryan's remarkable visions on life. But for now, let's focus on the Hold Fast before us, a perfect holiday read.
However, having read it, one wonders HOW he manages to have done some of the things he has done, purely based on the fact that to do them, one would have to conform to things like the official secrets act - and here he is, telling all???
The quality of the book itself is poor... and I find it amusing that he uses the hands on the cover, from art off the internet *clue these are not his hands.. And on his own web page, he claims “He originated the character of Nasir for the cult British TV series Robin of Sherwood” well, no Kip Carpenter did! Ryan was just lucky to play the (nearly) none speaking part. My points being these are 'half truths', and the book appears to follow the same, 'half truth' format. The only way you can give this a good review is if you are a blind fan of Ryan; then you would think anything he does is good.. Sorry this book isn't. Very disappointed.
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