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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

The Englishman
by David Gilman
Blog Tour Extract
Book Beginnings


My thanks go out to the teams at Head of Zeus, Midas PR and NetGalley, for their contributions to including me in this excellent Blog Tour.

With Fiction Books stop on this comprehensive Blog Tour, being almost in the middle, I’m sure that there will have been plenty of extracts, author guest posts and interviews already shared, with plenty more still yet to come, so why not visit a few of the earlier tour participants and see what goodies are on offer … A full schedule of Blog Tour spots is shown here:

Image of the Blog Tour Banner for the book 'The Englishman' by author David Gilman

As this extract features the opening lines of the book, I shall also be carrying the post forward by a day in order to include it as part of the weekly ‘Book Beginnings On Fridays’ meme, details of which can also be found below. Now even more folks can get to check out these great ‘First Lines’!

THE ENGLISHMAN – (Dan Raglan – Book #1)

cover image of the book 'The Englishman' by author David GilmanA clandestine war on the desert border of Mali and Algeria. Murder and kidnap on the suburban streets of West London. A Moscow CID police inspector investigating the assassination of four of her fellow officers by the Russian Mafia. A young MI6 officer facing the possibility that a long-running operation has been fatally compromised.

Connecting them all is the Englishman: Dan Raglan, outsider, exile, one-time member of the French Foreign Legion, fully trained killer.

Raglan’s quest for answers will become a quest for vengeance. It will lead him to the winter-ravaged wasteland of the Sverdlovskaya Oblast and Penal Colony #74, a place that holds Russia’s most brutal murderers. A place of death and retribution.

How will he get in? More importantly, how will he get out?


Image of author David GilmanFrom his English / Welsh beginnings, David Gilman has travelled the world and had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for an international publishing company in South Africa.

He is also a successful television screenwriter. From 2000 until 2009 he was principal writer on the hugely popular detective series, A Touch Of Frost.

Wherever he went David gathered inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way, and he has now added writing historical fiction for the adult market to his many talents.

These days, he is based in Devonshire, where he lives with his wife, an ageing cat and an equally old Land Rover.

Keep up to date with all his latest news on David’s website

Follow David on Twitter

Connect with David on Facebook

cover image of the book 'The Englishman' by author David Gilman



“The road was long and straight, and the dark forest pressed on to the verge on both sides. Heaped snow, ploughed from the previous winter, was still frozen and had become an even higher bank from the fresh snowfall. He lengthened his stride and ran faster towards the rising sun.
He dared not stop.
The sun had reached the top of the trees either side of the chill, sunless gulley of a road. His laboured breathing muted the sound of the first vehicle. Instinct made him turn. Another vehicle was travelling behind that, its headlights weaving. There were probably twenty men in pursuit.
He leapt over the snow ledge on the side of the road and ducked beneath the overhanging branches. A slender track channelled between the accumulated snow and ice on the side of the road and where the tree trunks barred his way into the forest. He heard the engines change pitch. They were slowing. He ran; branches caught his face and he raised an arm. A rattle of gunfire cut the air above his head. He cursed his own stupidity. By brushing the branches away from his face he had disturbed the snow lying on them and the fine powder left low on the tree had been seen. He kept running, ducking lower, avoiding the branches. The thwack of bullets hit the trees where he had been moments before. They were shooting wildly. Ripping through the air. A storm of tree bark and  snow.
His breath came hard. The cold air raw in his lungs. And then he ran out of track. He plunged into the low branches. Felt them them whip his face. Searing pain scorched his thigh. He stumbled as  another bullet tore into his side. Ignoring the pain he ran on. He was leaking blood. Leaving a trail. The distant sound of dogs echoing through the forest. His foot caught a root, tumbling him into deep snow. He slammed into a tree, the wind knocked out of him. He needed a moment to draw breath. He shook clear the pain and the sweat from his eyes. He could hear them now. Voices calling to each other. Fearful. Of him. He dared to close his eyes for a moment. More gunfire.
And he remembered what had brought him here.”

cover image of the book 'The Englishman' by author David Gilman


The temperature was already nudging fifty degrees Celsius and as well as their combat gear and weapons each man carried in excess of thirty kilos of supplies and ammunition. Their destination  was the harsh mountainous terrain where Salafist Tuaregs and Al Qaeda ethnic militias had surged across the border from Algeria. These tribal fighting men knew their ground and it was up to the  elite 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes to dig them out and stop the Islamic militants’ advance.
United Nations Resolution 2085 had backed France’s military intervention in the French protectorate of the West African country of Mali, a landlocked area the size of Texas. The world had applauded when the French and Chadian army liberated Timbuktu, but more brutal fighting was soon to take place hundreds of miles away in the desolate Ametettaï valley, in the heart of the mountainous massif of Adrar des Ifoghas in northern Mali, on the border with Algeria. It was an area controlled by criminals, terrorists and warlords, men who trafficked arms and drugs with brutal efficiency to fund anti-western organizations. The combined ground and air operation to clear the villages in the valley and the nearby caves already promised to be a tough fight. French Special Operations Forces had flown several hundred kilometres from their base in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and seized Kidal prior to the assault on the mountains. The President of France and his politicians wanted this fight, the generals wanted it and the boots on the ground were happy to oblige. France’s honour was at stake.
Caporal-chef Serge Sokol ushered his sniper platoon into the Puma helicopter’s oven-hot interior from where he and the other eleven men would fast rope down once they reached their landing zone. A month before, when they had parachuted into Timbuktu and secured it from the terrorists, they had had the upper hand, but the rough terrain of boulder-strewn ground here favoured the defenders. Limited access towards the caves funnelled troops into narrow choke points. Easy targets for ambush. The snipers were going in by helicopter and would then slog across the broken ground and establish their own fire positions. Their long-range rifles would give the attacking legionnaires a better chance of advancing.
‘Bird!’ a voice hailed Sokol.
The Russian’s face, lined from twenty years’ service in every eye-squinting theatre of war that Africa could throw at the Legion, creased further into a grin. In the Slovak language, Sokol was a bird of prey – his new identity given to him by the recruiting captain at the barracks in Marseilles on the day he had joined. The immaculately dressed Foreign Legion officer told the gangly, unkempt and malnourished youth that it suited his hawk-nosed face. And that if he survived the weeks of training and made it through to the Legion’s parachute regiment the captain would pay for a falcon tattoo out of his own pocket. It was the first sign of comradeship the runaway youth had ever known and it spurred him on. And now there were so many falcon tattoos across his muscled torso his skin looked like a damned aviary.
Sokol’s close friend, Dan Raglan from the Legion’s parachute commando group, jogged towards him. Sokol cupped a hand to his ear against the Puma’s roar as Dan shouted: ‘The target’s moved. He’s in another cave.’
The caves were refuge to Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, commander of Al Qaeda in Mali and the 2nd Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment’s target. Their task: to capture Abou Zeid alive and retrieve terrorist intel hidden in the caves.
Sokol grimaced. Last-minute changes could cost lives. The briefing had been precise. As the Legion’s paras fought forward the regiment’s commando unit would abseil down from the clifftops and strike into the caves that held the terrorists and their leader. ‘Moved where?’
The commando shoved a folded map into the Russian’s hand and traced a line across the contours on the map. ‘Here. Cave Thirteen.’ He grinned. ‘You think that’s unlucky?’
‘Only to idiots like you who expose their arses sliding down a cliff face on a rope. Who’s made the change?’
The younger man turned to face the cluster of officers standing in the background with two civilians. One civilian wore an eye patch that barely concealed the welt of a scar.
A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader
You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.
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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Okay. So this is one that I honestly think I’d prefer in film form. That said, the prologue immediately grabbed me and I couldn’t read it quickly enough! I’ll just have to wait and see if you have more features before making a decision.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Not having read the book yet myself, I do tend to agree with your comments about ‘The Englishman’ being better suited to the medium of film. It is quite an intense and powerful storyline which would benefit from the dramatization offered by the big screen.

      I particularly enjoyed the lines from the prologue, they were really descriptive and enticing.

      I wonder if you checked out the link to David’s website, I was thinking his previous series might be one to interest you. 🙂

      • Thanks for that prompting, Yvonne… the first book in his previous series is now waiting in my Kindle!! It was only 99 cents, so I couldn’t pass it up. 😀

        • At that price it is worth ‘taking a punt’ on!
          I’ll keep an eye out to see if you enjoy it, I know it wouldn’t be a series for me! 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      The publisher and PR company have really put their all into organising this tour and it seems to have been very well received. Some of the posts and reviews have been great and it was only because I came late to the party, that my spot was allocated as an extract. Not that I minded too much, as those opening lines were one heck of a beginning and really set the scene for the unfolding storyline.

      Thanks for taking the time to drop by and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

    • Hi Mareli,

      Thanks for stopping by and it is good to see you have returned to the blogosphere again, it is nice to know that you couldn’t live without us!

      I love to receive comments and always appreciate them, so do visit as often as you can 🙂

      As you say, this sounds like the perfect plot for a feature film and generally I find that the best films are in fact those based on book storylines. Author David Gilman has already had some good successes with writing scripts for both television and film, so watch this space…

      I don’t tend to read this style of agent / killer stories too often, but if I am in the mood to become engrossed in an all consuming plotline, then this will be a definite ‘go to’ for me 🙂

    • Hi Lorraine,

      Yes! That prologue extract is particularly descriptive and I found myself holding my breath as I read it!

      It isn’t an overly lengthy read either, which is good and it also looks as though David hopes to turn this into a series, with ‘Raglan’ as his new protagonist.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • My first thought was that this felt like it had been written with an eye towards a film deal. I could of course been wrong but that it was it felt like. Not convinced this is a book for me but then if I was to stumble upon it I wouldn’t rule it out.

    • Hi Felicity,

      I think the general consensus of opinion today, is that this book would make an excellent film script and with the author’s past history in that particular field, that option might well be on the cards at some stage.

      I’m not sure if I would want to follow an entire series with the character of ‘Raglan’, but I’m going to leave that thought open until I have read ‘The Englishman’ as a stand alone story first.

      It wouldn’t do if we all rushed to buy the same book, would it? What a boring set of blogs we would have, and nothing to talk about either!

      I hope that all is well with you 🙂

    • Hi Gilion,

      I do enjoy it when a Blog Tour can invoke a good level of interaction and debate and I think that publisher Head of Zeus and publicity agent Midas, have really pulled it out of the bag with this one, with all of the tour spots having been well supported.

      I need to schedule this book for when I have a good amount of free time, as I think it is going to need quite a lot of concentration, to keep up with all the action and characters.

      Thanks for stopping by and for hosting BBOF 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lauren.

      I do enjoy a good ‘blood & guts’ thriller from time to time, so when I am next in the mood, this one will be top of my list! 🙂

Written by Yvonne