This outstanding first novel established Alan Judd's literary reputation and was one of the most talked about and best-selling books for years. After university and Sandhurst, Charles Thoroughgood has now joined the Assault Commandos and is on a four-month tour of duty in Armagh and Belfast. The thankless task facing him and his men - to patrol the tension filled streets through weeks of boredom punctured only by bursts of horror takes them through times of tragedy, madness, laughter and terror. Alan Judd tells Thoroughgood's tale with verve, compassion and humour. The result is an exceprionally fine novel which blends bitter human incident with bizarre army farce that will make you laugh out loud. 'Entertaining and compulsively readable achieves a memorable authenticity.' Melvyn Bragg
Alan Judd's Ford Madox Ford won the Royal Society of Literature and Heinemann Awards; his novella, The Devil's Own Work, won the Guardian fiction prize. His celebrated novel A Breed of Heroes was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and was made into an award-winning multi-episode drama for the BBC. He is the author of three other novels, and has recently retired from the Foreign Office.