Large Print Reviews
By Douglas Reeman
By Douglas Reeman
Charnwood Large Print, (2005)
Genre: Adventure, Military Fiction
Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - June 6, 2005
The fifth, and perhaps final book, in the Blackwood Royal Marines series, Knife Edge provides yet another compelling read by Douglas Reeman. Knife Edge is set in the 1970 and 80's, and most of the action in the story takes the reader from the shores of Malaysia and Singapore to the bloody streets of Northern Ireland. Throughout, the story follows the career of Lieutenant Ross Blackwood, son of Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Blackwood and the primary hero of the Royal Marine saga.
A member of the Royal Marines, Lt. Blackwood has become disillusioned with the Corps and the work they are doing. The Corps once was a brave fighting force, and now it has been reduced to the role of glorified policeman. Blackwood has also has come to question the morality of the various conflicts that the Corps has been engaged in, such as the interreligious fighting in Northern Ireland and the Conflict in Cyprus which claimed the life of his distinguished father, Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Blackwood, who was killed by EOKA terrorist. Knife Edge follows Blackwood as he comes to terms with his doubts, his father's death, and the role that the Royal Marines has to play in the modern world. A role that while on the surface is so different from that of the Corps in the 1850's, but which also bares so many resemblances.
The most important elements of this story are grounded in the political unrest in the newly founded Federation of Malaya that occurred in 1970. Originally founded in 1957, the Federation of Malaya was transformed into the independent nation of Malaysia in 1963 with the incorporation of the British territories of Singapore and North Borneo, although Singapore was only part of the Federation until 1965. By 1970, guerilla forces were on the move, aimed at destabilizing the Malaysian government. Race riots ensued, religious unrest grew deadly, and both Chinese and Indian forces were conniving for a controlling interest in Malaysia. Reeman places Blackwood and his men at the center of this conflict as they are sent on a commando raid into this boiling cauldron. As the book continues, Blackwood moves from the steamy jungles of Malaysia to the cold streets of Northern Ireland where he discovers that what some would call terrorism, others call patriotism.
Knife Edge is a hard-hitting and gritty story that highlights the power of loyalty and the sense of the comradery that can be created in elite fighting units. This is also a story of bloody war - and skills needed to survive it. It is a must read for fans of the Royal Marine saga, as well as those who value Reeman's military thrillers - both for their stories as well as for their realism. Fans of Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho series will also find something familiar about Reeman's writing - mostly because Kent and Reeman are the same author, with Alexander Kent being Reeman's pen-name. All in all, a great, gritty, and riveting story of one man's personal journey of discovery during a time of great conflict.
Knife Edge can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft, the parent company of Charnwood Large Print.
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