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A Novel
by Barney Campbell

Barney Campbell was commissioned into The Blues and Royals and served in Afghanistan with the Household Cavalry Regiment over the winter of 2009-2010. Rain, his first novel, was published in 2015. The central character in this extraordinary book is a young cavalry officer, Tom Chamberlain, and the story takes us briefly through his time at Sandhurst and his life outside the Army before the main action shifts to Afghanistan, the squadron and Tom’s troop of twelve soldiers. The title refers not to the gentle drops of water that nurture the ‘green zone’ of Helmond Province or the rolling downlands of Wiltshire and Hampshire, but the lumps of lead and high explosive that fly from the barrels of cannons, machine guns, and mortars.

Rain  will touch everyone who reads it: anyone who has ever said goodbye; anyone who ever loved another and worried for them and yearned for their safe return; anyone who wonders how they would cope in the most ghastly and horrific of situations or just needs to know what this is like for others. The story will resonate with soldiers both young and old, those who have experienced war and those who spent years training for it but never really faced the sharp end.

The book describes that special bond that is strongest in adversity, a human quality that, like courage, is able to transcend all others. The reality of war is here, with all the mixed emotions: fear, excitement and sometimes even enjoyment. The dialogue neatly captures the way soldiers talk, plenty of four-letter words and jargon, but humanity is here, on every page. And for those who need help with some of the terminology, it’s all in the glossary; every campaign has its own unique lexicon.

Rain is a tribute to those soldiers who served in Afghanistan, those who were killed or died later, and those who are now facing life with the disabilities or other scars that this campaign inflicted on them. The book is a classic, to be read by anyone who wants to understand what war is like and anyone who wants to remember, perhaps not the bad times, but the good times: the comradeship, sense of purpose and team spirit that is the mark of any decent army.

The Editor

Rain, by Barney Campbell, is published by Penguin and available in bookshops and on Amazon, in book, ebook and audio formats.


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