By Alan Judd
After college and Sandhurst, Charles Thoroughgood has now joined the attack Commados and is on a four-month journey of accountability in Armagh and Belfast. The thankless job dealing with him and his males -- to patrol the tension-filled streets via weeks of boredom punctuated by way of bursts of horror -- takes them via occasions of tragedy, insanity, laughter and terror.
Alan Judd tells Thoroughgood's story with verve, compassion and humour. the result's a really fantastic novel which blends sour human incident with military farce.
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Additional info for A Breed of Heroes
Carts probably remained outside in a shaded area or shed. Stone ‘grain chutes’ made it easier to get the grain into various storage bins. Other rooms were possibly used as stores for the harnesses. However, only one room was specifically designed for larger horses, presumably the war-horses of the Brother Knights. It had sufficient space for animals to lie down, perhaps in separate wooden stalls. Meanwhile, the grooms were provided with comfortable living quarters next to the stables. Much broken pottery was found here along with a steel ‘striker’ to be used with flint and tinder to start a cooking fire, while their drinking water was cooled in the semi-porous jars which remain traditional throughout much of the Middle East.
That it ultimately failed was a reflection of geopolitical factors, not of the defences, their garrisons or their tactics. The more warning a garrison received of an impending attack, the better its chances of a successful defence. Yet Crusader garrisons often had little warning. Sultan Baybars, for example, was famous for the care he took to achieve surprise, sometimes not even informing his senior commanders of the real destination of a raid or siege campaign until his army was already on the march.
A concrete crust consisted of gravel and lime, rendered smooth with lime plaster, just as in traditional Palestinian domestic architecture. Most of the timber came from Mount Carmel, though some fragments of cedar were also found in the ruins, possibly shipped in from Lebanon or Cyprus. The Atlit garrison relied on shallow dug wells, which produced slightly brackish but drinkable water, and one well in the middle of the stable yard remained in use until modern times. Other neighbouring buildings were not linked to the interior of the main stable structure but were accessed from the beach.
A Breed of Heroes by Alan Judd