Posts Tagged ‘Royal Marines’

Review © Film Fan “yveythelibrarian” at Amazon (December 2011)

“For those keenly awaiting Marquesate’s latest offering ‘Basic Training’, you will not be disappointed. It contains all the trademarks of this author’s unique style; tough men in a brutal environment, snappy banter,impeccable attention to military detail, and of course well plotted sex scenes. I also like that her relationships always seem to take place over several years. None of this ‘instant attraction’ stuff. I can attest
that Marquesate’s knowledge of the British Armed Forces is spot-on. The author charts the training and challenges that it takes to rise through the ranks like a real insider. I know a few currently serving who are impressed with the accuracy of what is portrayed.

The homophobia that is encountered by the younger character Chris Thompson, is brutally real. The self-doubt and and the eventual self-acceptance of Col “Bulldog Wilson , is equally well portrayed. He is a tough , but sympathtic character and you relate to the inner turmoli he is going through. However where the book shows real maturity is in the development of a genuinely romantic story. I do not want to give too much away, but it’s a great tale, and I really did not want to leave Col and Chris when it came to the end. It’s wonderful seeing a favorite author develop and evolve, and Marquesate seems to improve with each offering. This is tough with a soft centre, Marquesate’s warmest and human work to date, and thought provoking. Any one of the author’s books could withstand a sequel, and this is no exception. Absolutely recommended!”

Review © Valentina Heart at The Romance Reviews (full review) (December 2011)

“I’ve always liked reading about soldiers, the difficulties such career entails and the necessary roughness all of them individually present. I suppose it’s that ever-present infatuation we civilians have toward men who can take care of themselves and daily protect others. Mouthwatering muscles, a knack for weapons and the uniform don’t hurt a bit, of course. (…)

The guys are manly men, bone-headed and strong. While their road together wasn’t easy, there wasn’t much conflict to spice up the story. The sex was hot but not excessive and certainly not brutal. In fact, other than one scene with bloody details of an attack, the book never got any rougher and overall is a rather sweet. The progress of their relationship is very slow and stretches over a few years, where it’s pretty easy to follow their personal growth and that road to the eventual happy ending.(…)

While not amazing to the point of speechlessness, this book is still one of the best m/m soldier books out there and it should definitely be on the subject fans’ reading list.”

Review © Jen at Well Read (Excellent) (full review) (November 2011)

“It’s been two years since the release of the rather excellent Her Majesty’s Men, the last book by this author, but I was so impressed by that book that I’ve hung in there waiting for a new book to be published. Basic Training is that book, and in my opinion the two years have been worth the wait, especially as this book shows some increased maturity in the style of writing from this author. (…)

There were two things in particular that struck me about the story, and which added greatly to my enjoyment of the book as a whole. Firstly, I enjoyed following the unfolding of the relationship between the two men, especially in Col’s emotional journey towards accepting his homosexuality. Those of you who may have read Marquesate’s other books will know that her men are rough and tough; find it difficult to express emotion; and engage in almost brutal sex with each other. Whilst the first two are certainly the case here, the third element was very much toned down from previous books. Col’s one of these men who prefers not to think about emotional mushy stuff, and definitely feels uncomfortable talking about his feelings. As a result he tends to adopt the ‘think about it later’ way of facing up to things which concern him, such as his changing views on his own sexuality. I loved the gradual way that Col deals with these difficult for him issues, and especially the small steps towards accepting himself. Some of my favourite scenes in the book were when Col really thought through his jumbled emotions, or when he bit the bullet and spoke to others. However, when in private with Chris, he does let his guard down and the sex between them was quite beautifully tender in places, whilst also containing some of the roughness that this author is known for. They matched so well as a couple, both of them riddled with their own insecurities and hang-ups whilst providing a solid support to the other. It was more than love or romance, it was friendship, comradeship and a solid foundation for a life long relationship and I loved reading about it.

The second aspect which I really liked about this book was the way that the life of a Royal Marine was so ingrained through every thought and action of both the main characters. There’s enough detail given to understand the life of a soldier – both during the basic training and then on into a career in the Royal Marines – but not so much that I felt overwhelmed by knowledge that wasn’t important to the story.”

Review © bill_m at Amazon (full review) (October 2011)

“this is a timely story, with the demise of DADT in the US military, and it’s well-written and realistic. (…) even if you’ve no military experience you will easily and surely enjoy this story, although the m/m romance element may not be for everyone. If you have military experience – and are at least flexible and forward-looking in your perspective (i.e., not a confirmed homophobe or fearful of gays serving in the military) – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the realism and sympathy for military training found here. (…) Give this one a chance – it’s very, very good.

Review © haywire at Amazon (October 2011)

“If you started reading Marquesate because of the Special Forces epic or of the novel Her Majesty’s Men or of the short stories that have appeared here and there, Friendly Fire (in mostly dreadful company in a collection also called Special Forces for what reason heaven only knows), For Queen and Country or Code of Honour, in ‘Basic Training’ you will find what you have come to like about the author: strong, believable characters, gritty story lines, a military setting that rings
entirely true and, above all where I am concerned, stories that are true to themselves; oh yes, and some rather hot m/m sex too.

‘Basic Training’ is the story of Col, a sergeant in the Royal Marines and Chris a recruit who is determined to make it through the mud because he has a point to prove. Against the backdrop of the gruelling 31 week training a relationship develops against all odds and, after the most audacious of all the boneheaded things Chris does, the two, very much to Col’s surprise, become a couple. Against the rough military background, this is a real love story and one that works. Col and Chris are in most ways unlikely lovers. There is the age difference, 14 years. There is the military environment; different ranks are not supposed to have relationships in the military and you certainly are more likely as a recruit in special forces training to want to stay out of your terrifying sergeant’s sights than to want to get to know him more closely. There is the difference in their backgrounds and educations…But against the odds the relationship develops and here Marquesate pulls off a master stroke. It would be easy to hit the false tone when these alpha soldiers are out of their natural element and have to start interacting as lovers and then as a couple. Instead she gets it just right. Col is her voice here and his surprise and ironic view of his own feelings and actions provides the needed distance and prevents any false sentimentality. These men are suddenly dealing with emotions, with feelings for each other and it’s completely uncharted territory for them for which their training has made them less fit perhaps than most. I defy anyone, male or female, to remember their first time in love and the heady, silly, clumsy and sometimes downright make-you-blush corny behaviour that went with it and not to share a rueful chuckle with Col. While the story has warm, touching and even funny moments there is, in true Marquesate style, plenty of grit too and homophobia as well as the deadly reality of soldiers’ lives in the time of war in Afghanistan raise their heads and provide a realistic setting that has a direct impact on the two protagonists’ happily ever after.

This is probably the sunniest of Marquesate’s stories so far. A feel good story that has deceptive depth and characters that are well developed, even the lesser ones like Chris’ aunt and uncle. Definitely worth the wait and definitely a novel
that I want as a book on my shelves.”

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I am delighted to announce that Basic Training, my new novel set amongst the Royal Marines, is now available from MLR Press.

Title: Basic Training
Author: Marquesate
ISBN# 978-1-60820-461-8 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-462-5 (ebook) $7.99
Paperback 276 pages, 76,000 words
Publisher: MLR Press

Joining the Royal Marine Commandos is a challenge that only the toughest men should take on.

Platoon Sergeant Col ‘Bulldog’ Wilson’s world of work, gym, exercise and discipline is heaved out of its angles when the new recruits arrive with Chris Thompson amongst them. Twenty-one, handsome, tall, university graduate, triathlete, and … openly gay in an environment of institutional homophobia.

Col finds himself thrown into turmoil that is nothing like any conflict he’d ever encountered, nor any operational theatre he’d ever fought in. When this particular battle becomes personal, he has to ask himself who is the enemy.

Basic Training Excerpt

Wednesday, 3 September 2003
Lympstone, Devon, UK
“Sergeant Wilson,” the platoon commander called out and Col turned, saluting.
“Yes, Sir?”
“I’d like to see you in my office.”
“Yes, Sir.” Bloody one pip wonder. Twenty-nothing and barely passed out of the officer course, now proving himself on his first post. Commissioned, just because he’d been born with a silver spoon … but Col swallowed the grumble and made his way to the Lieutenant’s office.
“Please take a seat.” Col did, noticing the stack of papers on the officer’s desk. “I’d like you to look through some of the applications, especially the equality forms.” The second lieutenant produced a smaller bundle. “And in particular this one.” Col found a piece of paper under his nose and he took it, quickly scanning through.
“Triathlete, not bad.” Muttered to himself, “Graduate? What the hell’s a student …” and then he came to the next column. Reading it once, twice, a third time, just to make sure. “Homosexual?” He stared at the officer. “You must be kidding me.”
“Apparently not.”
“I hope the lad keeps that to himself.”
“One would hope so, wouldn’t one?” The lieutenant shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “I advise you to keep an eye on him. The recruit sounds extremely promising; high achievements in sports and intellectually above average. In fact, I was told they tried to recruit him directly into an officer career, but he refused to take the chance.”
“Why?” Col studied the form once more, then placed the bundle in his lap.
“According to the report from the recruiting officer, he was adamant that while a commission was certainly the ultimate goal of anyone, he wanted to experience the ranks, first.”
“And you believe that bullshit?” Col stood up. The ‘anyone’ was grating, and he felt targeted. Demoted, with no chance at this stage of his career to get close to a commission. But then he’d never been officer material. Too stuck in the dirt and best suited to the midst of the action. ‘Bulldog’ alright. They’d got his nickname spot on.
“Why wouldn’t I believe it? What other motives might be feasible?”
“I reckon the guy’s got something to prove.” Col shrugged, kept the forms under his arm. “And if he isn’t wise, and I don’t think he is, judging from that little tick in the wrong box, he’ll cause a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“Then watch him. Besides, we cannot be seen to discriminate against him nor anyone else, because of religion, gender, race…”
“Sexuality,” Col finished for the lieutenant. “I know, I know.”
“Indeed. If we don’t take care, we will get into trouble with the equality officers, and we cannot afford to bring ourselves into disrepute.”
“Of course not, Sir. I will keep an eye on the recruit.” Col saluted and left the office.
Christian Thompson. Twenty-one. Six foot. Green eyes. Brown hair.
He’d already memorised the vitals.

I had the publication date from MLR Press, which is next Friday, the 21st of October. I also got the galley proofs today and will be whizzing through them to make sure Basic Training will be available on Friday. It’s already on the Upcoming books page.

Lovely start to the weekend, aye?

At long last! I know it has been an awfully long time in the making, but here it is and it shall be available very soon, most probably in October.

Basic Training

Joining the Royal Marine Commandos is a challenge that only the toughest men should take on.

Platoon Sergeant Col ‘Bulldog’ Wilson’s world of work, gym, exercise and discipline is heaved out of its angles when the new recruits arrive with Chris Thompson amongst them. Twenty-one, handsome, tall, university graduate, triathlete, and … openly gay in an environment of institutional homophobia.

Col finds himself thrown into turmoil that is nothing like any conflict he’d ever encountered, nor any operational theatre he’d ever fought in. When this particular battle becomes personal, he has to ask himself who is the enemy.

  • Publication date: October 2011
  • Publisher: MLR Press

Basic Training was written in 2009, but because of personal reasons, the novel’s publication was delayed for over two years. Thanks go to MLR Press for their understanding and patience.

In preparation for Basic Training, have a couple of videos on YouTube from a wee Royal Marines recruit of his Passing Out Parade.

For information on King’s Squad and Passing Out and excellent images, see my Military Tuesday post: Royal Marines King’s Squad

During my extensive research for my upcoming novel Basic Training I read a lot about the Passing Out parade of new Royal Marines, after their 32 week long Basic Training. The first part of the novel plays in Lympstone, during Basic Training, and here is a link to the MoD Royal Marines website on the History of the Commando Training Centre.

I also found some very useful videos on YouTube, as I mention in an earlier post, using YouTube for writing research is an excellent way to gain insights beyond images and words.

This is an excerpt from Basic Training, about Pass Out week and King’s Squad (Excerpt copyright © Marquesate 2009):

As expected, this earned Col some questioning looks, and he went on to explain the passing out tradition of the Royal Marines, which originated with a visit by King George V in 1918 to the Royal Marines in Deal in Kent, where he inspected the recruit squads. To mark his visit, the King decreed that each passing-out platoon should be called The King’s Squadron, a tradition that continued to the present day, and which meant that successful recruits would spend the last week in special accommodation in the King’s Squad wing.

The following photos are all from the MoD website. Copyright © MoD. Without permission.

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New additions to the MoD Defence Image Database.

A Royal Marine recruit from 970 Troop during an exercise at Okehampton ranges. Over a 32 week period, recruits to the Royal Marines are tested to the full on one of the most demanding courses in the military anywhere. The motto at the RM Training Centre at Lympstone is ‘Cheerfulness through Adversity’.

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Photo by LA(Phot) Jennie Burn, Royal Navy, Crown Copyright

The following guy isn’t “pretty” (thank goodness …) and not even good looking, but it’s a very striking portrait.

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Photo by Cpl Ian Forsyth RLC, Army, Crown Copyright

Well, I might have posted one or two of those before, but I don’t think I’d tire of them. Have a selection of Royal Marine Commandos.

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RoyalMarineInAfghanistanFirst two photos copyright © Defence Image Database. Without permission.

Third photo copyright © with its copyright owner. Without permission.

I’ve probably posted these before, but even if I did, they are worth posting again! Here are some of the chaps who have and are inspiring characters in my stories. Of course, the usual disclaimer applies: any similarities to living or deceased … blahblah.

Blueprint for Phil in Friendly Fire (available in autumn from Cleis Press)
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The one in the front with the dark hair and far too handsome face. Blueprint for Chris in Basic Training (available soon-ish)
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Blueprint for Rhys in Honour and Fidelity (WIP)
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All images copyright © MoD, Defence Image Database. Without permission.

The finest aircraft ever, or  perhaps I am just biased.

Anyone who reads my work will have come across the Hercules, or Herc, for short, my favourite aircraft of the British Forces. Well, my favourite plane, the Chinook is probably my favourite aircraft, but that’s a helicopter, we’ll get to the amazing Chinook another time. I guess I am so fond of those two, because I’ve always preferred the heavy horses over the fancy ones.

I described in Special Forces how Dan is flown in a Herc to the Gulf, and the noise, the seating, and the plain bare bones of the inside of that huge plane. Ever wondered what it really looks like? Thanks to the Defence Image Database, sponsored by us, the taxpayers’ money (say thanks, MoD, and you’re welcome to my hard earned dosh for these excellent images in return) here is a rare view of the inside of the plane – rare, because there is no other cargo than human one and has a double-row of seating in the middle.

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This image is from October 2008 and the caption reads:

Troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade sit in the rear of a C130 Hercules transport aircraft at the end of their 7 month operational tour in Afghanistan and start the first leg of their journey home. The Hercules C130 will fly out of Camp Bastion under the cover of darkness and deliver the transiting troops to Kandahar Air force base ready for the next part of their journey back to the UK.

Notice the less than luxurious interior, no complementary drinks and peanuts there. Be thankful for the ear defenders, though, and the ear plugs.

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This picture was taken before the one above, and shows the loading of  its human cargo in Helmand.

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And here she is in flight. “A Royal Air Force Hercules C130J transport aircraft takes off from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan enroute to Kandahar airfield.”

All images copyright © 2008 Defence Image Database. Without Permission.

This one is the inspiration for a new character of a short story I am just about finishing. A different country and military – the French Foreign Legion and not a Royal Marine Commando – but nevermind.
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Photo copyright © Defence Image Database, without permission.

Mmm, nice tattoos, guys!
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Photo copyright © Defence Image Database, without permission.

Smile!
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Photo copyright © Defence Image Database, without permission.

If you have enjoyed all these wonderful photos, you might wish to consider to say “thank you” to all those British Forces photographers in a roundabout way: by making a donation to Marquesate’s favourite UK charity: the Royal British Legion. I know that I do, regularly. 🙂

In 2004 I saw the Royal Marines Display Team down in Kent in the Historic Dockyard in Chatham. The photos are thus oldies but goldies (and those who know me on LJ will recognise some of them, because I use them as icons). If only those guys knew why I kept snapping away … not because I was that impressed with their skills and virility, but because those poses were too good to miss for posterity.

All photos © Marquesate 2004

Don’t tell me the couple on the right doesn’t look like a big fat smooch!

Bottoms Up!

No comment … *snerk*

Oh, and that wee lad on the right just injured/broke his hand/wrist. Oh well, he was all ‘manly’ about it.

Last but not least, this will make you grin. The old event PR from the Dockyard boasted about the RM event:

There will also be simulator and interactive displays by the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Commandos, an afternoon concert by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers and a Commando helicopter assault and river rescue. This will be a hostage rescue situation whereby model and forces sweetheart Nell McAndrew will be lifted from the jetty and will pretend to be held hostage on a boat. The helicopter will then rescue her and place her back on terra firma. This is subject to weather conditions.

Yes, it was … ‘titillating’. Honest, Gov. 😉