In the Shadow of the Mountain

5.00 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)

£9.99

Author: Fergus Smith

This novel is the first in a trilogy following two characters through the wars of the Blair/Brown period of government. Paul Illingworth, an ambitious young army officer at the threshold of life’s great adventure, is confronted by the realities of military command. In order to win the trust of an experienced and uncompromising platoon he must choose between his childhood love and a path that lures him onwards.

Set against the collapse of the IRA ceasefire in the mid 1990s, this is a compelling story of leadership written with precision and authenticity. As Paul grows in confidence, mirroring the rise of New Labour, the novel creates a beautiful allusion of Tony Blair coming to power.

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Description

Paul Illingworth, a dedicated and ambitious young officer at the threshold of life’s great adventure, comes face to face with the brutal realities of military command.  In order to win the trust of an experienced and uncompromising platoon, he must choose between his childhood love and the path that beckons him onwards.

Set against the IRA ceasefire of the mid 1990s, this is a compelling story of leadership and the tough decisions it requires.  This is writing with the precision and authenticity that only comes from personal experience.  This novel creates a beautiful political allusion of Tony Blair and New Labour coming to power.

The British public sympathises with its army, but does not empathise with it. That is why it needs to read ‘In the Shadow of the Mountain’, and not just because it will help it understand what motivates soldiers. Fergus Smith’s characterisation is strong. None of his principal protagonists is overdrawn, and their ambitions, foibles and strengths are plain enough, as well as – ultimately – admirable. The army trumpets the ideals of leadership; this book explains what they are, and how they operate.

Professor Sir Hew Strachan, author of the BBC TV series 'The First World War', and Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College Oxford

The true scale of the impact politics has on modern military operations, from an individual mission to the grand strategy, is one the taboos of recent history. This book breaks that taboo with brutal clarity and should be as thought-provoking as it is enthralling. In many ways, this is a story which has needed telling since Kosovo.

James Clark, former Defence Editor, The Sunday Times

This fascinating book unpacks the day-to-day practice of front line professional soldiers… Anyone with ambitions to lead should read this book…

Professor Chris Ivory, Anglia Ruskin University

About the Author

The author served as an officer in The Parachute Regiment for twelve years. He is a keen political observer and writes a regular blog on Headsail Books Blog and www.fergussmith.com.

3 reviews for In the Shadow of the Mountain

  1. 5 out of 5

    I read this book cover to cover in no time at all – I simply did not want to put it down. On every page there was a gem of an anecdote. I winced at the agony of being a platoon commander, I cringed at the callousness of the officer and girlfriend relationship and I laughed at the situations created by the corporals and private soldiers. The story was really credible and it built up the tension so realistically. The characters were captured perfectly. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    For someone who has been through similar experiences, I found this book to be a remarkably honest account. And one with which I could identify from the start of the book.

    Like Mr Dunn I finished the book in no time at all – not because it was easy reading; it can be quite painful to read someone’s accounts of errors of judgement that one has made oneself. But the growing competence and confidence of the character – as in real life – make this a tale of triumph without any hint of arrogance.

    A story well told…

  3. 5 out of 5

    The British public sympathises with its army, but does not empathise with it. That is why it needs to read ‘In the shadow of the mountain’, and not just because it will help it understand what motivates soldiers. Fergus Smith’s characterisation is strong. None of his principal protagonists is overdrawn, and their ambitions, foibles and strengths are plain enough, as well as – ultimately – admirable. The army trumpets the ideals of leadership; this book explains what they are, and how they operate.

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