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on 16 December 2013
Much as I admire some of his previous books this narrative is fairly repetitive & slow reading. No doubting the sentiment & bravery of the guys involved but story strung out & far better if written in half the words.
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on 26 June 2015
I have just read another's review that basically says "a good book but it gets a bit repetitive". I would say that pretty much sums it up. I have not read a book by this author before and enjoyed the read. You can tell he's coming at it from a positive and respectful angle, and there is always merit in trying to get the "real version" out there to redress the balance after negative press formed on half (if that) of the story. This must be very frustrating for those either involved or connected to those involved, who are sworn to silence or forbidden from trying to defend themselves or their loved ones. At least from this angle, the book is something I appreciate

Having read all of the main texts on the Bravo Two Zero debacle, I would have liked this book to have explored more of the similarities in failure. At one point in the book Lewis says that lessons were learned from Bravo Two Zero, but after reading the book it hardly seems the case, save for the use of vehicles and the issue of cold weather clothing. The incredible intelligence failures could have been explored more...or perhaps Lewis didn't want to turn it into an analysis of where it all went wrong. For me, the book could have benefitted from an in depth post script covering the post mortem that must surely have taken place. In a way the almost unbelievable repeat of such a clusterf*** was the really interesting story, and that was not investigated.

The action is repetitive. Ok that might be how it happened, but somehow it became frustrating to read. It would probably transfer to screen better than it does on paper.

The book is a good read if you appreciate stories about human spirit, and the incredible will to survive. It is hard to read without thinking how you might cope yourself in such a situation, and realising you wouldn't at all. You leave the book with a great respect for everybody involved (except for those behind the desks who dreamed it up)
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on 15 February 2015
leaving aside all questions of the legitimacy of the war,what is striking about the story is the utter and complete lunacy of the original mission which the SF was tasked to do and that British soldiers-one American in their group- had such poor air support having to struggle in and struggle out again on the Chinook shuttle....following this of course the men took a hammering in the media with their SAS commander sacked when the real issue was which idiot or group of idiots would send a team way into enemy territory to take the surrender of a massive enemy force-100,000 strong-without absolutely guaranteed and corroborated intelligence??? (Its also interesting to note that the earlier mission described to board the NV Nisha was also based on flawed intelligence)And one can guarantee almost that these idiots didnt even get a wrap on the knuckles.......rant over.
Its a well-told and lively narrative,with many human touches and little descent into SF jargon of brave men doing a tough and impossible mission and their escape.You dont have to agree with why they were there or indeed any of it to enjoy a powerful adventure.It could be shorter and chapters 2 and 3 dont tell you much(
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on 7 August 2013
As other people have said, this book is light on facts, and heavy on 'Boys own' fiction. A Sqn (-) task to take the surrender of a Corps, seriously!!!

Having been in the military for over 30 years, 5 of which spent in the Middle East in various countries, there are times I have almost thrown it in the bin (but it was a present so I am persevering!).

There are so many holes I don't know where to begin, but lets start at the beginning of the book. We are supposed to believe that Sgt Grayling (Grey) is an experienced SF op but when almost discovered by a boy goat herder, in order to try to keep the mission a secret (and not let the boy escape) he considers blowing him away (and half his goats) with a .50 Cal HMG!!! They dont make much noise do they, oh and unlike an assault rifle (which most Arabs have access to - from the 1st Gulf War) it couldnt be passed off as celebratory fire. Or, now heres an idea, why not take him down by hand and silently.

Terminology is incorrect, JTAC stands for Joint Tactical Air Controller Damien, not what you wrote. The Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM) goes from being the 'Troop SSM (!), to the RSM, back to the SSM. The clue is in the title. Now the SF boys tend to shy away from 'the rules' as we know but no one, ever, in my experience, says 'Afirm' on the radio (unless they are a Yank or been watching too may war films). The answer should be Roger over, or Roger out or even Ack but come on. These seemingly small issues undermine the credibility of the book.

If you are after a serious book with credible insights, avoid this like the plague!
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on 10 August 2014
I bought this book to read on my hols in sunnier climes and I wasn't disappointed, in fact it became a struggle to put the book down, lever myself from my sun-lounger and plop into the pool. Gripping, fast-paced and well written this has to be up there with the best of genre. As others have said, the "story" was one that wasn't widely reported and was new to me - had it been a work of fiction I would probably be marking it down for its unbelievability.

My only criticism is that it ended a little abruptly: the story was told, but it would have been good to have a little more detail on what some of the main players did next. But if a book leaves you wanting more then it has probably done its job well.

If you enjoy this sort of book, buy this - you wont be disappointed. But watch out for that red nose.
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on 13 January 2015
Enjoyed reading about this sf mission to Iraq ,very interesting,can't remember any of the bad publicity these men received,but it was probably written by someone who'd not go anywhere near a violent conflict.
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on 4 August 2016
This is a fairly good read, almost in terms of enjoyment on par with Ryan's and McNabs efforts on Iraq infiltration in 1991. However while the ending is truely explosive and dramatic and absorbing it does end quite abruptly with the feel of a draft final chapter. You also don't get much in the way of insight into the troopers minds, it's all a bit of a 'reads like a newspaper story' affair. But for the memorable final chapters it is worth a read.
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on 3 June 2013
What a depressing account of a ridiculous initial plan,carried out by Elite forces.I see the imbeciles are still in charge of planning.I would have thought it was better for the reputation of Elite forces to have buried this farce.
A dull story of one mistake after another,Nuff said.
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on 9 April 2013
Very enlightening and well received story which has, quite rightly, shed some new light from the SF perspective. Narratives such as this are usually quite dry (no pun intended), but better use of graphics or other visual illustrations (not limited to the few maps at the beginning of the book) would have helped. A view as to why the intelligence was so woefully wrong would also help, although we would have more chance of selling sand to the Iraqis than to get this contribution.

Recommended to the Boys Own type of reader who has an interest in military 'excursions'.
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on 3 April 2016
Very good book to read if you like true story's, I have to be honest I have read most of Damien Lewis's books I guess I am biased, never the less the book is a very good the story keeps you interested from start to finish.
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