Book review

Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby (2005)

Part one of the Boy Soldier sequence

Here's a real life drama that bomb bursts off the page. I don't mean it's a true story, just true-to-life, but not your ordinary, average, every day kind of life.

Danny Watts is going to be a soldier. He's planned it. And he's on his way. He's actuallydoing very well in the three day selection procedure at the Army Regular Commissions Board - until he's suddenly dropped, because of something his grandfather did.

Who? Danny's grandfather? Never met him. Danny lost his parents when he was six and, with no other relatives, he hasbeen 'in care' ever since. But what he doesn't know about his own grandfather, he soon finds out, on the internet:

Every new fact was a revelation. Fergus Watts's special skill was explosives. He had a natural flair for languages, particularly Spanish. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the box cover to guide the way.
The SAS man's skills led him to Colombia and the war against the FARC drugs barons. His ongoing mission had been to lead patrols deep into the rainforest, to seek and destroy drug manufacturing plants. Danny tried to imagine the jungle, the heat, the heroic battles.
But then hero turned villain. Fergus Watts vanished and soon after it was discovered he'd gone over to FARC, purely for the money.

Suddenly, Danny has a new life plan. He's going to find his grandfather. And it won't be a happy family reunion:

'I'll turn him in,' said Danny, picking up the phone directory. 'I want him to suffer the way he's made other people suffer.'

Easier said than done, of course. Grandfather Fergus is trained to avoid capture. And worse than that - young Danny hasn't given any thought to why he's been unceremoniously dumped by the army because of something his grandfather did. Perhaps someone wants him to find his grandfather. Now, who might that be? And why? Danny's life is about to change...

Great stuff. I loved this story. I loved all the surveillance talk and the old soldier's unshakeable professionalism. A real glimpse into a different reality. Highly recommended, and not just for the boys!

What can I read next?

Brilliant. This is the first part of a sequence, so there's more to look forward to soon.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy this kind of adventure story, you could have a look at the Alpha Forceseries by Chris Ryan, another ex-SAS member turned writer:

You might also enjoythe Darkweaver Legacyby Mark Robson. Mark served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force in the Falkland Islands and much of his military training surfaces in the story:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

Boy Soldier features in these lists: