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Barney Campbell lived in many places as a child, due to his father being in the British Army. He was educated at Eton College and Oxford University. He in turn joined the Army in 2006, and was commissioned into the Blues and Royals. He served in Afghanistan on a tour of Helmand Province in the winter of 2009-10. He lives in the Scottish Borders. Rain is his first novel.
This is a searing debut novel that reads like a British Matterhorn. Tom Chamberlain was always destined to be a soldier. From the moment when, as a young boy, he discovered a faded picture of his father patrolling the streets of Belfast his path was set. And despite all entreaties, the tragic early loss of his beloved father to illness, and even his own better judgement, the lure of the Army proved irresistible. With the long war in Afghanistan at its savage peak, Tom is despatched from home with his men in the dead of an anonymous September night, a blood tribute leaving the country without fanfare. Full of eagerness, but wracked by self-doubt, he must discover both who he is and what he is capable of in a nightmarish land of heat, hardship and terrifying enemies seen and unseen. But as the bonds with his comrades grow and deepen, home - and the loved ones left behind - seem ever more remote and dislocated from the surreal violence and exhilaration of the war that engulfs them.
ONE OF THE EVENING STANDARD'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015 Barney Campbell's Rain is a searingly powerful debut that reads like a British Matterhorn ******** 'A wonderfully achieved, enthralling and moving novel of war. Its authenticity is as telling as it is terrifying' William Boyd 'No better on-the-ground description of Britain's war will ever be written. Rain is what Chickenhawk or, more recently, Matterhorn was to Vietnam. It's unputdownable, except for when the reader needs to draw breath or battle a lump in the throat' Evening Strandard Corporal Thomas (my acting sergeant since Adams died) and I have to go down the line of the boys as they're checking their kit before we go out. Some of them are crying, not bawling just weeping gently but still steadfast; others are just pumped to the max, bouncing their heads up and down like they're listening to trance music, just amped about getting the rounds down. Those are the ones I'm most worried about; how they're going to cope with being back home is beyond me. Tom Chamberlain was destined to be a soldier from the moment he discovered a faded picture of his father patrolling the streets of Belfast. With the war in Afghanistan at its savage peak, Tom is despatched from home in the dead of an anonymous September night, a blood tribute leaving without fanfare. Full of eagerness, but wracked by self-doubt, he must discover who he is and what he is capable of. But as the bonds with his comrades grow, home - and the loved ones left behind - seem ever more remote from the surreal violence and exhilaration of war. Drawing on the author's own experience, Rain is the most powerful, vivid and affecting portrait of the Afghan frontline to have yet emerged - a novel of war that will take its place among the classics from previous generations. 'Rain is not merely good, it's remarkable. Powerful, at times unbearably harrowing, it captures both the fear and exhilaration of men pushed to breaking point' Jeremy Paxman 'Gripping . . . the ending is genuinely shocking' Daily Mail 'A powerful and moving story of war with all the authenticity of a memoir' Charles Cumming 'One of the most powerful and emotional works ever written about British soldiers in battle. Troubling, funny, upsetting, exhilarating and deeply moving. You will never forget it' Colonel Richard Kemp 'Thrilling, gut-wrenching and profoundly moving, this book, like all the very best novels of war, has the utterly compelling grip of authenticity' James Holland 'An extraordinary book: authentic, beautifully written and very moving' Saul David 'Simply superb. It could become the defining account of the British in Afghanistan' Tom Petch, writer and directer of 'The Patrol' 'One of the best novels about the Afghanistan war. Brutally honest, it could have been a memoir' David Axe 'A must-read debut' Tom Newton-Dunn