Related to: 'Safe: How to stay safe in a dangerous world'

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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Red Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Book 4 in the Strikeback Series.A former Russian spy, living in hiding in Malta, goes on the run after an attempt on his life. He's been targeted because of what he knows about chemical weapons and the poisoning of an exiled oligarch who cut a deal with MI6, but he's actually got information about a planned Russian invasion. Now he's gone to ground, and MI6 want to get hold of him before the Russians do.When a retired general learns about the op he reports back to his Russian paymasters. The former spy must be killed before he spills his guts to MI6. The General has an ex-SAS member on his team who is blackmailed into executing the Russian spy once they find him. But the operation goes wrong, and series hero John Porter escapes with the spy. John Bald and the ex-SAS villain must work together to track them down before it's too late, and expose the General before it's too late and Russia reconquers the Baltic states...

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Head Hunters

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Warlord

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Global Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Charles Street was once a highly-respected agent working for MI6, until a terrible mistake cost him his job. Now he's a desperate man, living on past glories and struggling to make ends meet. Until he makes a discovery that has the power to bring down the new President of the United States. But when Street tries to cash in on this discovery, he finds himself pursued by a Russian snatch squad.Strike Back hero John Porter and Regiment renegade John Bald are recruited by their handler to head to Washington, D.C. Their mission: find Street before the Russians.What begins as a routine exfiltration quickly descends into a brutal struggle and the ex-SAS legends will need to use all of their fighting instincts to stay alive.A startling revelation that leads from the White House to the Kremlin threatens to trigger a new global conflict...

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Shadow Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Held up by rebel forces in a brutal siege, John Porter is tested to the limit in the African jungle. Strikeback hero John Porter is sent on a mission with Regimental scallywag John Bald. Where Porter plays it by the book, Bald will always want to break the rules.They are sent to Sierra Leone to extract Ronald Soames, a former CO of the Regiment and now right-hand man to the President. But when Porter and Bald arrive the Englishman has disappeared, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Rebels are threatening to take over the country and its diamond mines - and to massacre all foreigners.Porter and Bald find themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Regiment psychopath who is already embedded in the country.But it soon becomes clear that the Firm has lied to them about the true nature of the mission.What seems at first to be a battle to control Sierra Leone's diamond mines will turn out to about a much greater evil - and with a trail that leads back to both Westminster and the Kremlin.

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Bad Soldier

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Hellfire

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

The third book in the hugely popular Danny Black series by the creator of the hit TV show Strikeback.On the Syria/Iraq border a British hostage is beheaded by IS terrorists. The executioner is a young British extremist. A masked figure watches him. This mysterious person is treated with a mixture of respect and terror. They call him the Caliph.In Nigeria the British High Commisioner and his young aide are kidnapped. A four-person SAS team, including Regiment hero Danny Black, is deployed to find him. The team find devastation in Nigeria, and when they discover prisoners infected with the plague they realise they have uncovered a combined Boko Haram/IS plot to unleash a bio-terror attack upon the world.The team must stop the terrorists and identify the Caliph before the deadly disease threatens those much closer to home.

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Deathlist

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

John Porter, hero of the original Strikeback novel and TV series returns in an exciting adventure, when old enemies attack the SAS. 1999. A bitterly cold morning in the Brecon Beacons, and the soldiers trying out for SAS Selection are preparing to face their toughest test yet. Overseeing the soldiers is John Porter: once a promising young Blade, now a broken man and a drunk, seeing out his days in the Regiment Training Wing. But before the Fan Dance can begin, six masked gunmen carry out a devastating attack. Dozens of soldiers are killed. In the aftermath of the massacre, and with a government desperate for action, Porter and another surviving operator, John Bald, are taken to a secretive briefing in London. Their orders - to hunt down and kill those responsible for the attack. What follows is a deadly game of kill or be killed as Bald and Porter lead a Strike Team across Europe on a blood-soaked mission of revenge. But as they draw closer to their ultimate target, the men discover that there is a greater threat - much closer to home...

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Murder Team

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Northern Ireland, 1993. For high-flying MI5 officer Avery Chance the real war has only just begun. When Chance is abducted by the IRA's notorious Nutting Squad, her hopes lie in the hands of a young SAS recruit who must risk everything to bring her home. Twenty years after his act of self-sacrifice in Belfast ex-SAS legend John Bald is a scarred shadow of his former self. But when a face from the past appears and rescues him from deep trouble, Bald is offered one last shot at redemption. His target is Kurt Pretorius, a ruthless mercenary operating deep in the wilds of war-ravaged Somali. In a world where rogue mercenaries operate beyond the reach of the law, Kurt Pretorius has transformed himself into a god. It is up to Bald to stop Pretorius before he turns Somalia into a terrorist haven. But Bald quickly finds himself sucked into a twisted game of survival, where the stakes could not be higher - and the price of failure is his life... With time running out, Bald must kill Pretorius before he brings down everyone around him. It's a mission Bald was born to do. Because sometimes, the only way to beat your deadliest enemy...is to be like your deadliest enemy.This is the fourth book in Chris Ryan's Extreme series.The Chris Ryan Extreme books take you even further into the heart of the mission with more extreme action, more extreme language and more extreme pace. Like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Medal of Honour you'll feel part of the team.Chris Ryan Extreme: Silent Kill has previously been published as four separate shorter missions. Now in one book to keep you at the heart of the action.

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Hunter Killer

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Their operations are deniable. Their skill is deadly. SAS hero Danny Black is recruited to an assassination squad directed to hunt down and kill terrorist cells in a gripping thriller from the man who knows what it's like at the front line. The suicide bomb strikes central London. The trail leads first to a hate cleric in a North London mosque, and his connections to a devout Saudi prince with a taste for hookers, drugs and booze. But it's not only when Danny tracks down his target to a training camp in the Yemen that he finds there may be a connection a hell of a lot closer to home.(P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Most Wanted

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Masters of War

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

In Paris, an elderly man is assassinated as he takes his morning walk. In the war-torn cities of Syria, government forces wage a bloody war against their own people. The Russians are propping up the government, the French are backing one rebel fraction and the British are backing another. And in north Africa, young SAS trooper Danny Black is coming to the end of a gruelling tour of duty, or so he thinks. Danny has a new mission. An MI6 agent needs to make contact with Syrian rebel forces, and also with the private military contractors who are - unofficially - training this rebel faction as it struggles to bring down their government and establish a new regime that will be favourable to British business interests. Danny will learn who the masters of war, the men who call the shots, really are. Danny discovers a world where death is dispensed by the highest bidder and individuals will betray anybody if the price is right.

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Night Strike

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Osama

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Medal of Honor

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

In this new Chris Ryan adventure, the best soldiers in the world come together to fight Al-Qaeda. It is the early days of the war in Afghanistan. SAS hero, Jock, has never fought alongside America's select Tier 1 Operators before now, but when their mission goes pear-shaped, he will find out just what they are made of... Battling against overwhelming odds in unknown territory, and with the enemy well dug-in, even the most elite soldiers with the most advanced weaponry at their disposal are put to the ultimate test of skill and courage.

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Chris Ryan Extreme: Hard Target

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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Killing for the Company

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan
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The Kill Zone

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

From the author of the bestselling Danny Black series and the hit TV show Strikeback.The guys in the Regiment know they face their fiercest enemies when they fight the Taliban. No-one is tougher, more deadly - or more cunning. And if they enter the Taliban's kill zone, they know just what to expect...When three deadly Stinger missiles go missing in Helmand Province, the Regiment is tasked to retrieve the weapons at all costs. SAS legend Jack Harker has a mission to lead an eight-man team into a suspected Taliban facility. He's suspicious about what the aims of the mission really are - and it's about to get noisy.Meanwhile, in Belfast, Siobhan Byrne, a highly trained surveillance operative, is infiltrating the drug crew of a former IRA commander. But are her motives professional or personal? Even she doesn't know any more.Neither Jack nor Siobhan can guess just how closely linked their operations are about to become, or just what's at stake. But as the President of the United States makes plans to visit the UK, a devastating plot unfolds.

Chris Ryan

Former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation in the 1991 Gulf War, Chris Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Born near Newcastle in 1961, Chris Ryan joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, over twenty bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.