Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby
I recently set one of my tutor groups to read Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby. To make sense of the challenge and allow me to set questions, I read the book too.
Danny Watts’s grandfather, Fergus, was a traitor. One of the worst sort. An SAS explosives expert who betrayed his country and his Regiment for money. Drug money. He was arrested and left to rot and die in a Colombian jail.
At least, that’s what seventeen-year-old Danny is told when his hopes of becoming a soldier are destroyed for ever.
But he knows something the army doesn’t seem to know. Fergus Watts is alive and in the UK, living in secret under an assumed name – but where? Fergus is Danny’s only living relative.
Burning with fury and desire for revenge, Danny sets out to track down his grandfather and expose him. In doing so he sets in train an explosive sequence of events which throw Danny and Fergus together on the run from the people who want Fergus, and now Danny, dead.
I usually try to avoid books with more that one attributed author. However, as I had set Boy Soldier for a tutor group, I could not avoid this one, and I’m glad I didn’t. The book is a gripping, action-packed SAS thriller. It is ideal for adventure-seeking readers.
Boy Soldier commences in Colombia in 1997 where a former SAS soldier, Fergus Watts, is shown to be training members of the illegal guerrilla force FARC but quickly moves to England in 2006 where a promising recruit, Danny Watts, fails to be accepted for the army that he dearly wants to join.
The reader learns more about the youngster, Danny, and his friend Elena when he returns home to the hostel where he lives since being orphaned in a tragic accident. The connection between the two men and Danny’s search for Fergus develops into an exciting adventure that requires Danny to learn fast and stay safe.
Boy Soldier is packed with breathtaking action, SAS procedures and surveillance and survival techniques, this is a fast-moving, action-packed thriller for teenagers. I highly recommend this book.
Andy McNab joined the infantry in 1976 as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was badged as a member of 22 SAS Regiment. He served in B Squadron 22 SAS for ten years and worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.
Trained as a specialist in counter terrorism, prime target elimination, demolitions, weapons and tactics, covert surveillance and information gathering in hostile environments, and VIP protection, McNab worked on cooperative operations with police forces, prison services, anti-drug forces and western backed guerrilla movements as well as on conventional special operations. In Northern Ireland he spent two years working as an undercover operator with 14th Intelligence Group, going on to become an instructor.
McNab also worked as an instructor on the SAS selection and training team and instructed foreign special forces in counter terrorism, hostage rescue and survival training.
Robert Rigby began his career as a journalist, then spent several years in the music business as a songwriter and session musician. He turned to writing for radio, television, and the theatre, and has also directed and performed in children’s theatre throughout the country. He has become an established young people’s playwright, and his award-winning work with youth theatre companies has been seen in Britain, Europe, the USA, and Africa. He wrote the novelizations of the movies Goal! and Goal II, and his scripts for television include the long-running BBC children’s drama series, Byker Grove.