I spent my boyhood on various farms on the east coast of Scotland as the son of an itinerant, and argumentative, labourer who could hold a job no longer than a few months. (Intoxicated, one Hogmanay, he was arrested, & held overnight in the cells for ‘being drunk whilst in charge of a bicycle’.) I joined a boxing club to develop a way of avoiding daily beatings. A spin-off benefit of this was winning the Midlands of Scotland Lightweight championship.
I left Caledonia at the age of fifteen, narrowly evading Borstal, to join the British Army where I spent two and a half years in Boys Service and was posted to adult service and on stand-by for the Suez Emergency. Fortunately, that ended rather ignominiously and I shipped out to Malaya, at the height of the communist insurgency there.
On the completion of three years my next port of call was Belgium, then the UK, where, after selection and training, I served with the airborne forces and passed some time in the North, Belfast mainly, during The Troubles.
Eventually I went to Germany, where I narrowly avoided being court-martialled for punching out a fellow warrant officer who had rather over estimated his own physical capabilities.
Hong Kong followed the Fatherland where I moonlighted as an extra and stuntman for Shaw Bros and Golden Harvest Film studios. I appeared, albeit briefly, in ‘Bruce Lee and I’, episode nine of Hawaii Five O, and a myriad of other features produced purely for consumption by the Chinese cinema goer.
Returning to Europe I was recruited by a head-hunter on behalf of the U.S. Government and after several courses in CONUS served in most of the European countries, Israel & Turkey. I managed at this time to obtain two degrees from the University of Maryland and travel extensively on mainland Europe as a tour manager for a holiday firm concentrating on American clientele.With the downsizing of the U.S. presence in the European theatre a friend offered me the job of convoy manager, ferrying humanitarian aid to the beleaguered cities and towns of Bosnia-Herzegovina, under the auspices of UNHCR, during the conflict in the early nineties in the former Yugoslavia.
I retired to the UK and took up golf, wrote The Tuzla Run and have offered my body, piecemeal, to medical science, which is currently in possession of three per cent of it, while I retain the rights to the balance — so far. Since then, life has become so boringly uncomplicated and decidedly humdrum that I’ve decided to write a sequel to The Tuzla Run with the working title of The Poisoned Chalice. Spider and Rath will appear on stage once more but the villain supplanting Colonel Paroski will be Liam McDermot, the older, nastier brother of Calum McDermot, deceased.
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Smashwords book reviews by Robert Davidson
- Sonya's War
on Dec. 03, 2010
Sonya’s War describes the somewhat tempestuous relationship between Tolstoy and his wife during the latter part of his life. It effortlessly captures the mercurial Sonya’s frustration at the perceived duplicity exercised by those around her and her sense of impending loss. It is sensitively written and charts the passage of the tragic events as they happen. A seriously, worthwhile read. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run
- Once More, From the Beginning
on Dec. 06, 2010
I read 'Once More From The Beginning' some time ago on Harper & Collins' highly competitive Authonomy site, a selection process for promising authors. This book more than held its own, comprising, as it does,of competent prose, scintillating wit, an intriguingly different perspective of biblical themes and revealing aspects of the character traits of the major players.
Irreverent but never irreligious its acerbic approach certainly appealed to my sense of fun. An enjoyable and highly recommended read. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
- The Red Gate
on May 15, 2011
The Red Gate scores top marks with this reader. It does have its own voice, mature but not patronising, quietly confident and distinct. There's intrigue, & darkness, too, in the plot and the characters develop into fully rounded beings as the story progresses. One of the many outstanding virtues of this work is the descriptive power with which the atmosphere of the key scenes is imbued, especially those relating to the wildness of the Mayo landscape. There is no razzmatazz here; just a competent artisan at work. Having known a couple of academics in my time I know the author has 'bottled' the essence of that walk of life and decants it in just the right measure. Highly recommended, as a sensitive, enduring and engrossing novel. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run
- No Roads Lead to Rome
on Aug. 06, 2011
As soon as Centurion Valerius, the Eternal City's version of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, takes young Severus (and the reader) by the metaphorical scruff of the neck the plot of No Roads Lead to Rome, couched in competent descriptive prose, detonates into action without jeopardising clarity or purpose. The main plot, humorous and tongue-in-cheek, has sufficient twists, turns and 'didn't see that coming' elements, plus revealing the mores and customs of the era, that it provides an interesting and vibrant read. The epitome of action-comedy. Highly recommended.Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run
- Dodging Shells
on Oct. 19, 2011
There have been few occasions when I have envied the ability of the author of the book I am reviewing — actual, green-eyed, spitting envy. Dodging Shells has effortlessly claimed top place in that group and has motivated me to try harder in my own writing. I freely admit I can offer no constructive criticism for improvement.
The first chapter, or letter, is brilliantly written; descriptive, graphic, honing the reader’s interest with consummate skill in the manner in which our scribe makes himself known to us; self-deprecating, wry, humorous, imbued with an independent spirit and possessor of all the human faults and virtues that the we expect in our literary heroes. With the background of wartime Italy and the allies’ dogged advance up the boot the author has truly captured the essence of those difficult times, and Canada’s contribution, of almost seventy years ago, with a realism and skill that makes for a absolute pearl of a read.
Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run