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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 August 2014
Settle down with a glass, reader, this review might go on for a while…
I feel well qualified to comment on Andy Farman’s Armageddon’s Song series (despite only being two boks in), since I’m not only a fellow author but a man with a deep affection for the genre. From Hackett to Coyle I’ve read them all, and when I saw the series on Amazon I was unable to resist. To be very clear, unlike Andy I didn’t serve apart from a stint in the university OTC whose only real value was to convince me that the SLR was God’s own rifle. I do however share many of his evident beliefs, especially the fervent wish that once in a while the Minster of Defence could be a former soldier - and preferably one who served at too low a level to have been sucked up by our very inefficient version of the military industrial complex.
I did foresee a problem, however. Andy’s books are *shiver* self published. My worry was mainly qualitative - many self pubs really are dire, and sorting the chaff for the odd corker is a task I’d promised myself I’d avoid. But I had to give it a go. And no, I’m not snobbish about self pub, I think it’s brilliant that so many people have got out from under the tyranny of what the publishers think their readers want, this sereis being a likely case in point. As a man who wrote to his MP in fury when the Coalition cancelled the Nimrod project (although I’ve subsequently read Empire of the Clouds and found out the reason why, which makes horrible but logical sense) I still take a deep interest in the military of all branches, have a Lee Enfield in my rifle collection and just eat that alternative history/WW3 s*** with a spoon.
So, what did I find?
Plot: Strong, inventive, pretty realistic (I have no idea if the Spetsnaz really are capable, but it all sounds credible) and good enough to drag the reader right in. And I’m used to looking at fiction with a jaundiced eye as I see straight through plots. Not this one! Sometimes a little far fetched, like the slightly artificial means by which the British PM gets changed at short notice, but I can forgive that. And, joy of joys, he kills characters routinely, chopping the reader off at the knees just when they’ve come to love them even when perhaps they shouldn’t.
Characterisation: Good. Sometimes a bit hackneyed (I’ve had the same criticisms, so I feel no superiority in saying that), but often plain brilliant.
Dialogue: More than good enough.
This is a great series, well worth a read, and I’m in it to the finish.
What didn’t I like, given this is *only* a four star review?
There have been some comments as to how realistic the air and sea battles are, but to be fair to Andy he does tell us very clearly that he’s not an expert in either. And neither am I, which is probably why they didn’t trouble me.
I struggled a bit with some of the biases that Andy showcases. A thirty year old female Minister of Defence as one of the bad guys? Not likely. (Now watch some idiot like Milliband prove me wrong). And I doubt the Civil Service would have tolerated that sort of behaviour… (see my previous comment!). Andy’s clearly tapping a rich vein of often merited anger as to politicians’ and some senior officers’ outlooks and cynicism, and while I share that desire for our armed forces to stop getting the s***ty end of the stick at the level where the loud noises and fast moving metal are to be found, it’s sometimes just a bit too strident (in that it stops me loving the story and starts me thinking about the writing process). I’ve no doubt that the ARRSE lads love the books, and I can see why. And I did love the return to service of the SLR…
And the editing. Andy, your books seriously need an edit. Changes in tense are really f***ing irritating half way through a sentence. If I could read it from cover to cover without the grinding of mental gears I get from that sort of thing I’d have 5 starred it.
But with that out of the way I’m delighted to have found the series. I hardly ever review, and the fact that I’m doing this is an indicator as to how much I’m enjoying it. The politically correct will probably hate it, and since publishing is 90% female I’m not sure that it could ever get published, unless of course enough people buy it to raise interest among the people paid to look out for that sort of thing, but who cares? We love this sort of book, and we’re loving it
Well done Mr Farman.
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on 6 August 2013
Written by somone who knows his stuff and anyone who has served can see that. I am very pleased that there was no endless repatition of drills or reams of info on weapoon stats. The autor admits that they are not experts on air and sea warfare but non the less, he did a very good job of describing combat at sea.

The follow on book is just as good and I bought it within 10mins of finishing the first (don't you just love the ease of Kindle).
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on 22 May 2014
I found the story exceptional. A very good read. The series is fast moving, at ground level in the gun pits and at the top, in the oval office, or COBRA. I find the inter mix of high level policy impacting on the people at the sharp end, very thought provoking. The personalization of the characters just right, not to deep to detract from the story line. My only critic is that one needs to get a better proof reader, as there are sections where a lack of clarity is evident. Also when scenes change they are sometimes very abrupt, and one needs to read through again to find the jump. It reminds me of the Bat Man series I used to watch as a child when the narrator says" mean while in the bat cave". A lesson could be had from small intros to remind people of whats happening else where. As there is a lot happening everywhere. Perhaps that is the kernel of that problem.
Spell checker is well and good but the correct spelling of a word in context is sometimes lacking and tends to spoil as it implies a lack of respect for his readers.
Must try harder. The author obviously has a talent for telling of stories but needs to be more careful.
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on 14 June 2015
Excellent read, but a word of caution this series of books is just one great long story so you get hooked in to buying the next and the next etc. However, high quality and totally believable scenario of East v West World war. Just load up your kindle and take a cruise holiday!
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on 29 August 2014
I'm a 22 year ex-military NCO and would have been right in the middle of all this had it happened (god forbid that it ever does) and I think the author has done a superb and imaginative job of telling a story that fortunately remains conjecture (the warplans wouldn't outlast the first contact). The scenarios are probably as accurate as we could guess them to be and his attention to detail is very impressive, also I'm very impressed that it's not all about how the Americans would win world war 3 but shows the efforts that would be made by many nations to protect themselves and others at such a time, and shows that the enemy can have a face and humanity as well. I'm only part way through the series but would recommend it to anyone who wants a ground level view of such an appalling possibility
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on 16 June 2016
What a fantastic read. For some reason I wan't expecting much but it didn't take me long to get into it, then I was hooked. I think if World War Three were to break out now then this is pretty much what it would look like - and no, the good guys don't always win. From the author breadth of knowledge on matters both military and law enforcement, it was clear that he was ex-army and police. The characters were credible and the portrayal of British soldiers in particular will appeal to ex-serviceman particularly those who served during the cold war. The resurrection of the SLR and Chieftan were genius! I enjoyed every word and decided I would read all the other books in the series.
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on 1 July 2013
The first book was good, this is even better.
Highly reccomended but start reading it on a day when you have nothing to do because you will not want to put it down.
When can we have next in the series please?
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on 1 August 2013
A first rate story which kept my interest throughout. The details are accurate, as far as my weary memories go, and I have no hesitation in recommending this as a first class read which I found difficult to put down. Part 3 is due soonish and I look forward to reading it, if only to find out what happens next!
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on 3 May 2015
I had difficulty "connecting" with the story, especially in the first chapters of Volume 1.
However Iam now thoroughly enjoying both Volumes 2 and 3.
Iam very impressed by the knowledge/expertise and writing skills of the author.
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on 5 October 2013
Started reading this book having picked it up on Kindle (Dead cheap by the way), then realised I was starting on the second book, doh!. Quickly purchased and read the first one then started again with this one. Result? I should have waited until I had all four to read back to back. I love this series, the story is brilliant I love the grandness of it all and the detail. I keep typing in the names of the weapons involved in Google to see what they look like as I'm reading the story. Brilliant!!!!
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