It’s been a bloody week.
I started reading ‘Master of War’ by David Gilman. Main protagonist, Thomas Blackstone, a young archer is forced to join the king’s invasion of France with all consequent hacking off of limbs, arrows in eyes and medieval mayhem. It’s one of those novels that does exactly what it says on the tin. Research is great and you feel as if you’re in a safe pair of hands. For me, it’s exactly the right book to get my teeth into when I’m concentrating on writing (in a very different genre).
As for viewing, ‘A Line of Duty’ continues to thrill. I’m still not quite certain whether D.I. Lindsay Denton is a wrong ‘un, or not, and, like many, I’m looking forward to the conclusion next week. Having sung the praises of French cop dramas lately, it’s fabulous to watch an equally gutsy British version. And no wonder, its chief writer is Jed Mercurio, whose name I first came across as the writer of ‘Cardiac Arrest’ broadcast many years before. His name also popped up this week when I very belatedly watched series 1&2 of ‘Strike Back’.
Based on Chris Ryan’s SAS novels, ‘Strike Back’ is a combination of high-octane ‘Ultimate Force’ and ‘Spooks’. There are two main protagonists, a British Sergeant, Michael Stonebridge, played by American Philip Winchester who rates as having the best British accent ever, and ex US Delta Force Commando, Damien Scott, played by Australian Sullivan Stapleton. Working out of Section 20, a covert, highly specialised, intelligence outfit with an amazing amount of gizmos and gadgets for identifying bad guys, Stonebridge and Scott are a yin-yang couple, polar opposites, who are forced to trust each other with their lives in all the world’s hotspots. I love the way the story flips from Lahore to Delhi, to Cape Town, to Kosovo and Budapest – these guys really get around in their tea break in a desperate quest to hunt down a merciless enemy. Predictably, there were tons of stakes-high, fabulously choreographed action, double-dealing and betrayal, and some fairly graphic stuff in the bedroom department. What’s not to like? Needless to say, series 3 arrived yesterday. If blood and guts, high tech and brilliant storytelling float your boat, catch it.