First Into Action: A Dramatic Personal Account of Life in the SBSFirst Into Action: A Dramatic Personal Account of Life in the SBS by Duncan Falconer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Into Action by Duncan Falconer
This was an enjoyable, informative and delightful read. I picked it up in the morning and had finished it by nightfall – always a sign of a good read.

The author was a member of the Special Boat Service one of Britain’s special forces and the lesser known of the other rather more famous one, the Special Air Service or SAS. Therein lies a tale as the author seeks to put the record straight in recording tales of derring-do by the SBS. Feats that were seemingly wrongly attributed to the SAS. As the book nears its conclusion I have to say Falconer somewhat labours this message of his leaving me with an uneasy feeling. A feeling that it is such a shame that two highly effective branches of the Armed Forces seem to have a history of jealousy between them. It is not a healthy rivalry but real naked jealousy.

That does not mar the enjoyment of the book. The author deals vividly with the tough Marine Commando training and the even tougher SBS training.

He then moves on to action in the field and most of that is in Northern Ireland in the days of the Troubles when he was an operative attached to 14th Int. That detachment was made up of clandestine operatives drawn from all branches of the Armed Forces.

Yes, there is plenty of drama in this book but it also has its hilarious moments. I particularly loved the operative in NI who was educationally challenged but determined to increase his word power. He did this by learning one new word a week and inserting that word into conversations in an incongruous fashion. I found it funny to read one such example when this operative suddenly described a pair of IRA terrorists as “insouciant bastards.”

It is a well-written book. Falconer wields his pen as deftly as he used to wield his MP5. His is an easy style but he draws you into the story absorbing the reader into the scene and making them feel they know the characters. I like the way he rarely uses acronyms preferring to give the reader the full nomenclature then inserting an acronym thereafter. In any event there is a glossary of military terms and acronyms for the uninitiated [Note to publisher – the glossary did not fit the page in the Kindle version].

It comes as no surprise to me that this book has been used by the author to write his debut novel and I am given to understand it will be turned into a motion picture. That is no surprise because the heroics and some of the stories in this book are made for the big screen.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in military history or any kind of book involving the deeds of special forces.
Thank you Duncan Falconer and Thistle Publishing for the fresh release of this book.

I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Duncan Falconer, and Thistle Publishing. I was under no obligation to review it. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.

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Stratton, based on the memoir, is Duncan Falconer’s debut novel and is to be made into a motion picture. You may buy it here:

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