Watch Fergus Smith introduces his third novel Along the Swift River

Tell me about this novel?

  • This novel is in production and should be ready for publication in the next year or so. It continues the trilogy that started with In the Shadow of the Mountain and Sunrise in the Valley. My goal is to describe the rise, maturity, and decline of the Blair/Brown government through the eyes of the soldiers who served in the wars of the time.
  • The first novel is set in Northern Ireland in the run up to the 1997 General Election. The second one is set in Kosovo at the high point of British military interventionism. This one is set in Afghanistan in the latter stages of Gordon Brown’s period as premier.

What are the themes?

  • The novel is about self-awareness and self-deception. It is written by what is called a naïve narrator, meaning that the reader will be able to ascertain the reality of events much better than the character can.

What does the title refer to?

  • The river of the tile refers to the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan. But the title also refers to being sold down the river, something that I believe has happened to the British military over the last ten years.

Who would you like to read it?

  • We have to accept that we, the British, have caused untold harm by some of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan within my lifetime. There is now a horror, a fear in the publishing industry of writing about these places. The topic is viewed as toxic. This novel is therefore for those who are prepared to look critically at what we have done and accept the implications.

What would you like them to take from it?

  • That will be up to them.

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