Knife Edge (The Royal Marines Saga #5)

Written by Douglas Reeman
Review by Nancy Henshaw

Towards the end of the 20th century Lieutenant Ross Blackwood contemplates the bleak future of the Royal Marines as they are compelled to engage in outbreaks of vicious conflict which seem to have no good end. Only family tradition and loyalty to his father’s memory maintains him in one of the toughest careers, physically and mentally demanding to the uttermost.

From Malaysia, beautiful but deadly with its guerrilla forces and their elusive leaders, to the intractable, seeming never ending hostilities of Northern Ireland, Ross survives a hard and slippery learning curve. Politicians debate more cuts in Services already bled almost white… But the year is now 1982. His greatest challenge lies ahead and his wedding to the woman he has loved for more than ten years must await the outcome.

This book makes no concessions to a reader’s ignorance: so many men and their ranks to remember. Soon I was loving it. Courage, loyalty, comradeship and tolerance, these old fashioned virtues refuse to go out of fashion. The writer is in control of his subject, his style is engaging, including its original but unforced metaphors. The scenes before, during and after the Marines go into action are tense, horrific and moving. It is hard to believe that the author was not there, witnessing Lieutenant (later Major) Ross Blackwood’s hair-raising yet disciplined adventures. He has given men and boys, and tomboys of all ages, plenty to enjoy.