Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The very funny story of Toby Potts and his start in life as a barrister is available as a Kindle eBook for just 99p from October 7 until October 14.

You don’t need a Kindle to read it – you can download the software onto your home or work PC or iPad/iPhone/smart phone – and here’s a free chapter to see if you fancy it:

May It Please Your Lordship Free Chapter

If you do enjoy it, please do retweet the chapter, whack it on Facebook or otherwise tell your friends.

May It Please Your Lordship - AI Cover

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For one week only from today, ANIMAL QC will be available as a Kindle eBook for the promotional price of 99p.

That’s an astonishing bargain for a 400-odd page book, and we pretty much double-dare you not to be entertained by it. You don’t need a Kindle, either – you can download the software to your PC or smart phone.

It’s Gary Bell QC’s shocking and hilarious memoir of his journey from football hooligan, convicted fraudster and homeless man to becoming one of Britain’s leading lawyers.

The Telegraph praised the ‘unvarnished candour’ of this ‘riotous’ book.

The Mail described it as ‘a compelling, if rather weird, delight’.

The Mail on Sunday said it was ‘hugely entertaining, heartwarming and inspiring’.

Libby Purves on Radio 4’s Midweek show called the book ‘an extraordinary yarn’ and a ‘great’ autobiography, and suggested that Marvel Comics should take Gary on as a character. Superpowers: incontinence and fear of the dark.

Here’s Gary on BBC Breakfast:



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AS THE RUGBY WORLD CUP approaches, here’s an extract from Austin Healey’s autobiography Me and My Mouth, which deals with his omission from the RWC squad for the 2003 tournament.

Woodward (wrongly I think) left Austin out for Andy Gomersall because he was still recovering from a knee injury – the sort of knee injury, moreover, which would have ended the careers of most players.

The chapter covers the way in which he dealt with the disappointment of that non-selection (it involved a lot of self-medication). I think the word is ‘bittersweet’:


Austin was always a bit Marmite – most people could see that he was astonishingly talented (if he’d stuck to playing scrum-half he’d surely have ended up with a hundred or more caps) but he did (and does) have a habit of saying controversial things.

I think that’s all to the good – who wants to hear sportsmen constantly ‘taking the positives’ and blathering on about ‘the group’ ‘being in a good place’? – and it certainly made Austin’s book one of the less anodyne sports autobiogs of the last decade or two.

Me And My Mouth_Austin Healey front cover jpeg

Austin Healey: unsung hero of the RWC 2003 win


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We’ve just uploaded AIR DISASTER 3 to Kindle as an eBook (link here).

It’s the latest instalment in Macarthur Job’s critically-acclaimed series of books exploring some of the worst incidents in aviation since the dawn of mass commercial flight.

The first book in the series dealt with the propeller era; the second with the earliest days of the jet era.

The new one moves on from AD2, and the tragedies of the Comet, the Boeing 707 and the DC10 (notably, it covered the terrible Turkish Airlines Flight 981, which claimed the lives of so many English rugby fans in 1974) and deals with the newer 737, 747 and Airbus aircraft.

The most notable, and bizarre, case is probably that of Aeroflot Flight 593, a March 1994 flight from Moscow to Hong Kong which went horribly wrong after the pilot, Captain Yaroslav Kudrinsky, took the insane decision to allow his teenaged children to ‘fly’ his A310 over Siberia.

If, like me, you’re a nervous and regular flier, just reading about this awful incident will bring you out in a cold sweat.

As ever, Macarthur’s original books dealt in painstaking detail with the technical (or other) causes of the accidents; in republishing them, we have tried to add in a little biographical detail about the poor people aboard each aircraft to bring the appalling events into sharper focus.

There’s something very moving about poring over old newspaper reports from the 1970s and 1980s and reading about lives snuffed out – children, and now grandchildren, never born, hopes and dreams never realised.

On 31 July 1992, Thai Airways Flight 311, an Airbus A310 with 113 people on board, took off from from Bangkok, heading to Kathmandu.

It was surprisingly hard to locate information about the passengers, who included eleven Americans, two Britons, two Canadians, one New Zealander and one Australian.

Two stories stood out. One was that of Rajiv Bhatisevi, a sixty-nine-year-old businessman, who was booked on the flight but had reluctantly cancelled after his pet chow had bitten him on the arm as he tried to stop it fighting with another dog.The bite became infected and painful.

‘On the day I was supposed to fly to Kathmandu, the pain became almost unbearable,’ he said. ‘Later in the evening, when I turned on the radio to listen to the news, I couldn’t believe my ears, that the plane was missing. All I could say to myself was, “Thank God!”’

But Joe Collins and his wife Tanna – Christian missionaries originally from Greenville, South Carolina – had bought seven seats, for themselves and their five young children, who included eight-month-old twins.

The couple had been in Nepal for eighteen months, and had recently set up a children’s home in Kathmandu. Tanna had contracted typhoid fever, and the family had flown to Thailand where the medical care was better; now that she had recovered, the Collinses were heading back to resume their charity work.

Joe and Tanna

Joe and Tanna Collins with their five young children, April, Caleb, Samuel, Joseph and Daniel; they all perished in the Thai Airways Flight 311 tragedy in 1992.

They died with all others on board when the aircraft flew into a mountainside, the pilots having become disoriented and confused by language difficulties with an air traffic controller.

Note: Macarthur Job himself sadly died last year in Australia. He was a significant figure in the world of aviation, and it was a pleasure to work with him.

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A while ago, we published In Foreign Fields: Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan in Their Own Words (a series of first person interviews with soldiers, Royal Marines and RAF men who had won gallantry medals in Iraq and Afghanistan).

It received a lot of critical acclaim and very good reviews, but this was only because of the amazing tales it contained.

One of the most astonishing stories – it really was like something out of Black Hawk Down – was that of Sergeant Terry Bryan, a Royal Horse Artillery NCO who won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his actions one day in 2004.

Terry and eight other young men had gone out to rescue another group of British soldiers who had encountered a crowd of angry Basra locals.

But it was the men of the RHA who actually needed rescuing, as first their vehicles were destroyed and then they were chased through the streets of the southern city by men firing at them with AK47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Finally, they found themselves holed up in a residential house, with no idea where they were, shooting people at literally point-blank range.

Their ammunition running low, with no working radios to call for help, the house set ablaze in an attempt to smoke them out, they each reserved a single round in case the worst happened.

Eventually – obviously – they were rescued (and a young private from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, Pte Lee O’Callaghan, lost his life in the process).

Here’s a free PDF of Terry Bryan’s chapter – please feel free to pass it on.


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Amazon has put At The Going Down Of The Sun in its summer kindle promotion.

For the next month, it will be available for 99p.

It tells the stories of twenty young servicemen and women who gave everything in Afghanistan.

Mr P.S. Russell of Halifax didn’t really get it, but most other people seem to have found it almost unbearably moving.

Lieutenant Dan Clack is one of those featured.

Dan was a much-loved son, boyfriend and brother, and was also loved and respected by his men from the moment they met him.

‘He was the best young officer I’ve worked with,’ said his platoon serjeant, Darren Gornall. ‘I know when tragic events happen they always say that the person was outstanding, but in Dan’s case it really is the truth.’

Lt Clack was killed, aged twenty-four, by an IED packed with ball-bearings while on patrol in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand Province.

His mother, Sue, and father, Martin, and some of those with whom he served, were kind enough to tell Graham Bound the story of Dan’s life and death, and we are proud to be able to share it in At The Going Down Of the Sun.

Like many of the fallen, Dan left behind letters to be opened only in the event of his death.

The first was to his beloved mum, Sue:

Dan to Mum

Lt Dan Clack’s letter from the grave to his mother. He was twenty-four when he died in Afghanistan.

The second was left for his fellow soldiers of The Rifles:

Dan Clack note to his men

Dan Clack’s letter to his ‘brother Riflemen’.

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Gary will be appearing on BBC 5 Live’s Afternoon Edition sometime after 2pm today to talk about his past as a homeless man, convicted fraudster and football hooligan, his present life as one of the country’s top criminal defence barristers, his work for Pork Farms and Asda, and (probably) his ongoing battles with weight, bed-wetting and his fear of the dark (and his book, ANIMAL QC: My Preposterous Life.

(You can read a free chapter of the book here).

I think Sarah Brett and Dan Walker are doing the interview – Dan is a well-known football nut, and Gary (genuinely one of the funniest nicest and most interesting people I’ve ever met) shares his love of the game.

In fact, here’s a shot of the great man in action:


Gary Bell QC demonstrating his Billy Bremner skills and Billy Bunter physique.

It’s a pretty big deal for a small publisher like Monday Books, and it follows hot on the heels of his appearance on BBC Breakfast yesterday:

Following that TV appearance – in which Gary was closely quizzed about his weight and his past as a football hooligan and convicted fraudster, as well as his current career as a highly successful criminal defence barrister – the Amazon sales ranking shot up from around 6,800-ish to 179.

He was for a time the No2 ‘mover and shaker’ in the chart, too – beaten only by that pesky Harper Lee:

Gary mover shaker

For more Monday Books news and general chit-chat, please subscribe under ‘EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION’ at the top right hand corner of the page, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter via @mondaybooks

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