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Two soldiers: one a celebrated military hero and the other a broken veteran living in the gutters of London. Their paths last crossed nearly twenty years ago. Now, amidst a hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again. And the Strike Back is about to begin.
John Porter was involved in a hostage raid in Lebanon in 1989. The raid went disastrously wrong; several Regiment men died. John spared the life of a Lebanese fighter and blames himself for the deaths. Struggling to come to terms with the past, John has hit the bottle and is sleeping rough.
Colonel Peregrine Collinson was involved in the same raid. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, it was Peregrine’s fault that the mission went wrong. He was awarded a Military Cross and is heralded as a military hero for something he didn’t do.
After the disastrous raid, the lives of the two men couldn’t have been further apart. Until now. A hostage crisis in the Middle East draws the enemies back together again. Who will be the hero this time?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
caught a glimpse of Perry Collinson. He was talking about Katie Dartmouth: it was a replay of the same interview he’d seen earlier in the day. As he finished his Churchill quote, the report cut to a blonde, smartly turned-out woman in her late fifties. It was an interview with Katie’s mum, from her home village in Hampshire. There were tears in her eyes as she said how worried they were about Katie, and how desperately they wanted to see her again. ‘We’ll be back right after the break with the
Kings, he was here to get drunk. As quickly as possible. ‘A vodka,’ said Porter, looking across at the barmaid. ‘In fact, make that a double.’ He looked at the glass of pale liquid. I’ve seen the bottom of a lot of glasses, he thought to himself, but I’ve rarely seen anything as clear as I see this. There’s no way back for me. I just have to forget about Sandy, the same way I did all those years ago. And pretty soon, she’ll forget about me as well. Taking a hit of the vodka, he threw it down
transported back to a windy, cold barracks, a quarter of a century ago, back in the days when you could still smoke on the tube, and your career choices amounted to signing up to shoot people or going down the pits. He could recall himself as a young recruit, being bashed through his first paces on the parade ground. It was cold and windy, his head was shaven, and the food was terrible, but at least I had plans back in those days, he reflected. He wanted to be a career soldier: regimental
was some truth to what she was saying. He’d had nothing, not any kind of life to speak of, but now he had a daughter again, and he’d had done something for her, and that was something he could take to his grave and feel proud of. He had the Firm to thank for that. It didn’t mean he couldn’t handle a drink, though. She was wrong about that. ‘What the hell do you know about soldiering?’ he said, levelling a stare right into her eyes. ‘There are only two rations every commander in history has made
accident. Then he realised we’d escaped, so he sent his boys from Connaught in to quietly finish us off.’ ‘This issue is,’ said Hassad, ‘how do they always know where you are?’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘They knew you were in the mine, and they knew you were in the safe house. How did they know that? How did they even know you’d escaped from the mine?’ Porter shrugged. He wondered that himself. The trouble was, he had no idea of the answer. ‘They must have a tracking device,’ said Hassad. ‘I’m