Related to: 'The Untouchable'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

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In Honour Bound

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Barney Crispin, a Captain in the SAS, is as tough as they come. He is sent on an urgent mission to the Afghanistan border: to destroy one of the Soviet Mi-24 helicopters, a highly sophisticated and virtually invulnerable piece of military equipment, and retrieve the hardware. In order to do so, he needs the help of the Mujahidin resistance and must first train them in the ways of stealth and sabotage.But the guerillas he trains are ill-equipped and disorganised. Their attempt fails and several of them are killed in the process. Against orders and with only eight missiles and a local boy as his guide, Barney decides to undertake the mission alone, his own solitary battle for vengeance...

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A Line in the Sand

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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Traitor's Kiss

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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The Glory Boys

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
Hodder & Stoughton

The Contract

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Discharged from the British Army in disgrace, Johnny Donoghue is eager to redeem himself. His task is to slip undercover into East Germany and persuade a prominent scientist working on Soviet missile systems to defect.But no one warns Johnny of the dangers involved in crossing the border, nor can he ever imagine the effect the actions of fickle politicians will have on his task. Nothing can prepare Johnny for the impact of the momentous decision the scientist will be forced to make, and no one could have predicted the involvement of the scientist's headstrong daughter . . .

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Archangel

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

When British Intelligence asks Michael Holly, a mechanical engineer, to run an errand for them in the Soviet Union, the consequences of capture are never mentioned. But what seems a simple handover carries unimaginable risks, and now Holly is facing fifteen years imprisoned in a gulag in the midst of the frozen tundra. Along with his fellow inmates, Holly has to find the strength to fight the camp's brutal regime in any way he can. But Camp 3 is the place where hopes and dreams are brought to die. Against the might of the Soviet state, is Michael Holly strong enough to sustain his will to survive?

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Home Run

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Mattie Furniss has run British Intelligence agents in Iran from his desk in London for two decades. But when he is ordered to the country himself, it is clear that times are desperate. One of Furniss' key informants and close friends is Charlie Eshraq, a young Iranian whose family was murdered during the revolution. Charlie is determined to avenge their deaths and becomes involved in drug smuggling to fund his campaign. When the daughter of a prominent MP dies from a heroin overdose and the British establishment demands a crackdown on Iranian drug traffickers, Mattie and Charlie suddenly find themselves alone in the spider's web. In a hostile environment where their every move is watched, will they be able to escape alive?

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Red Fox

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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At Close Quarters

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Peter Holt a young diplomat witnesses the horrific murder of his fiance and the British Ambassador within days of a new posting to the Soviet Union. The report of the murder lands on the desk of a British Intelligence officer who suspects Palestinian involvement althought the Russians insist that it was not a terrorist attack.The British government is determined to exact revenge and Holt is the only man able to identify the assassin. He is sent to the Lebanon and the perilous Beqa'a Valley which serves as a stronghold for the most extreme guerilla groups. Unauthorised access to the valley is virtually impossible and capture by the Syrian Army would result in torture and death. His only company is Noah Crane an Israeli expert sniper who acts as his mentor and guide. But when Syrian Intelligence learns of their presence their cover is blown. And now it is too late to turn back.

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The Heart of Danger

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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Kingfisher

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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A Song in the Morning

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Jeez Curwen, a British undercover agent in South Africa reporting on the African National Congress, has received the death penalty for his part in a job in which he should never have been involved. He is incarcerated in the maximum security jail outside Pretoria, awaiting execution.By the time his son Jack, abandoned by Jeez 25 years ago, discovers that the British government has washed its hands of his father's case, Jeez has only three weeks to live.But Jack, though young and untried, is determined to see the father he has never known, and to set him free.

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Killing Ground

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
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Holding The Zero

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Gus Peake should have kept his job and stayed at home, but an old family debt of friendship draws him to the remote wastes of Northern Iraq and to a savage forgotten war between Kurdish guerillas and Saddam Hussein's military strength.To the brutal, no-quarter combat, Peake can bring the skills he has learned as a marksman. But there is no room for mistakes on the field of battle and he must quickly learn to deal out random death at long distance, and help the guerillas to reach their goal, the city of Kirkuk, the old capital of the Kurdish people.From Baghdad, Iraq sends Major Karim Aziz, the most dedicated and professional sniper in Saddam's army. For both men their duel, from which only one can walk away, becomes an obsession. And it will only take one shot, echoing in the mountains and vallegs, to settle the score...

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Condition Black

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour
Hodder & Stoughton

The Fighting Man

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

A former SAS soldier sickened by the West's treatment of the Kurds after the Gulf War, Gord Brown has found new purpose helping the Guatemalan resistance against a brutal military dictatorship.As Gord's ragged army marches through the jungle and across the high mountains towards Guatemala City, a hopeless dream looks to become a burning reality. But the forces pitted against them are formidable, and the Guatemalan government also have a Gulf War veteran on their side, a man whom Gord has met before . . .

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The Waiting Time

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

On a winter's night at the height of the Cold War, in a small town on East Germany's coastline, a young man is dragged from the sea and killed by the regmine's secret police. The witnesses are terrorised into silence. But a British woman is present and hears the shot which ended her lover's life.A decade later, times have changed, and old enemies have become new friends. An ex-Captain in the Stasi's Counter Espionage section, Dieter Krause is an honoured guest at the headquarters of British Military Intelligence. He is confident that the skeletons in his past are hidden until...Corporal Tracy Barnes, a clerk, attacks him in the officers' mess. She was there at the scene of the young man's murder ten years before. She knows Krause is responsible. But she can't prove it - she needs the witnesses to talk. To make them do so, she must follow Krause to Germany. For her, the waiting time is finally over...

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The Unknown Soldier

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Deep in the world's greatest desert, the leadership of Al Qaeda, hunted and pursued, is regrouping to strike again.In this group one man stands out. His loyalty to the cause is total. To look into his face and memorise it is to court death.Searching for him amid the endless dunes are American and British experts in counter-terrorism. But the Outsider is no ordinary prey.If the Outsider is allowed to disappear again, he will re-emerge in a busy western city with a suitcase designed to wreak mass murder on detonation . . .

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The Outsiders

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour

Winnie Monks has never forgotten - or forgiven - the death of a young agent on her team at the hands of a former Russian Army Major turned gangster. Now, years later, she hears the Major is travelling to a villa on the Costa del Sol and she asks permission to send in a surveillance unit.They find an empty property near the Major's. The Villa Paraiso. It's perfect to spy from - and as a base for Winnie's darker, less official, plans.But it turns out that the property isn't deserted. The owners have invited a young British couple to 'house sit' while they are away.For Jonno and Posie, just embarking on a relationship, this is supposed to be a carefree break in the sun. But when the Secret Service team arrives in paradise, everything changes.

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The Dealer and the Dead

Gerald Seymour
Authors:
Gerald Seymour