If all goes to plan, in a few days’ time Andrzej Bargiel will stand on top of K2. Only then will the challenge he has set himself begin. Having conquered one of the hardest mountains in the world, Andrzej will clip into his bindings and ski 3,643 metres back to the glacial valley floor below. It will be the first ski descent of K2.
I love my skiing. In fact, I’ve dedicated a disproportionate amount of my life to skiing. Like any addiction, I’ve risked my life in the pursuit of white powder and in the process sacrificed love, family, career and wealth. But skiing off the summit of K2?
That’s a whole new level of addiction and commitment I can only dream of and admire from afar.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand
A true story of love, service and incompetence.
When Chris Green became disillusioned with this seemingly perfect existence he didn’t buy a sports car, run off with the au pair or snort cocaine from the breasts of prostitutes.
Instead he went to fight the increasingly unpopular war on terror in Afghanistan.
In the process of discovering himself he unwittingly discovers that the courage and heroism of the soldiers he fights alongside are confounded by incompetence and corruption, not to mention “an industrial strength counterterrorism killing machine”.
It’s a world where the dipsomaniac governor is in the pay of the illicit opium trade, the Chief of Police is a pederast and all round bad guy and the locals still haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842, or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. All infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
Missing his two young sons, unable to influence policy and just a phone-call away from a brawl he can only lose with the elite SAS, Chris dreams of epic powder days in the High Alps a world away from Afghanistan. But before he can return home to a hero’s welcome – and his wife’s divorce lawyers – he must first complete one last mission to Zumbalay, the Taliban Heart of Darkness and an unlikely reunion with an old man in Helmand.
Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry or your money back*, Spin Zhira is a rare insight into the male mid-life crisis. What every woman needs to know and why every man should be careful what he wishes for.
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read.’
Frank Ledwidge, Losing Small Wars
Doug Beattie MC, An Ordinary Soldier
Dr Mike Martin, An Intimate war
* check the small print first