'...a high altitude, high octane fiction novel, The Legacy, which involves an ex-Gurkha Army Officer, a story that promises to captivate from the first page.'
The Army and Navy Club News, May 2015 - link temporarily disconnected as review not now available on-line
'[A] fine study...Maj-Gen Lawrence, the third of the (so far) four honorary colonels, tells the story of the new regiment’s first 25 years and packs it with illustrations.' Country Life, 4 December 2019
Best-selling author and book critic Michael Jecks included 'The Legacy' in his recent selection of best books of 2018.
You can see what he said about the book in this broadcast of his popular weekly YouTube programme 'Writerly Witterings'. It was rather flattering to be in a list of best books alongside authors such as Stephen Fry!
'Encapsulating 200 years of distinguished military history is quite a challenge, the most difficult question is what to leave out rather than what to include. In this case the balance is just right for this style of commemorative book. The history contained within captures the ethos and distinctive identity of the Gurkha soldier without overwhelming the reader. The narrative is interesting and engaging but this is above all a visual history and in that respect it is superb. The images used have clearly been very carefully selected to tell the Gurkha story in a colourful and dramatic way - the result is an impressive single volume history.'
'This large, picture-filled book gives a fascinating insight into the history of the Gurkhas....This book is a fitting tribute to those who made and continue to make the grade.'
The Field, August 2015 - Link to original document being created
'No wonder enemies just turn and run! Felling four foes with one bullet. Slicing off heads with a swing of a knife. As they mark 200 years as our most awesome warriors, a new book reveals why you should NEVER cross a Gurkha.'
'This sort of stuff is meat and drink to this fantastic book by Craig Lawrence....This is one of those paving slab size books you cannot ignore. So don’t!'
'It's gorgeously photographed, it's illustrated massively, it's not just a great heaving history book and it's a riveting read, beautifully written and prepared...It's by Major General J C Lawrence and it is absolutely fantastic.'
‘The book is highly readable as well as informative, and has the added attraction of being lavishly illustrated on every page.’
'This book, written by Major General J C Lawrence CBE, with a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales and an introduction by Joanna Lumley OBE, is the complete visual history of Britain's Gurkhas and the mystique that surrounds them.'
The Gurkha Museum, Winchester - link temporarily disabled due to redesign work on Gurkha Museum webpage
Published on 4 May 2017 for internal Ministry of Defence (MOD) use
Launched for wider audience on 8 September 2017
The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) was formed on 1 July 1994 when the existing Gurkha regiments amalgamated to form a single regiment of three battalions. Although the RGR has only existed for 25 years, it carries the traditions and history of its antecedent regiments and has already established itself as a formidable fighting force in its own right. This book celebrates the new Regiment's first quarter century of life by providing a visual history of its many achievements over the last 25 years. With a Foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, it includes more than 500 photographs of Gurkhas that have not been published before and it should therefore be of real interest to anyone who wants to know more about this elite fighting force, particularly their service in Afghanistan fighting against the Taliban.
The book was released to the general public on 1 October 2019 and is now available to buy in 'all good bookshops', as well as on-line. You can see it on Amazon by using the link to the left.
Talk Radio Europe's Book Programme interview with Hannah Murray on Thursday 25 September 2015 at 7pm CET (starts at minute 45.26) - this link has been temporarily removed
In 2018 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War, the Families in British India Society (FIBIS) asked me to write an article on Gurkhas in the war for their yearly journal. As you might imagine, I was keen to do this as few people seem to realise that Gurkhas played a significant role in all the major campaigns. Overall, 90,780 served the British Crown during the war with 20,000 becoming casualties; of these, 6,168 died. The article describes the Gurkha contribution during the Great War, explores their role during the main campaigns and describes the award of the first Gurkha Victoria Cross (VC).
If you would like to read the article, then click on the journal image (to the left) or on the link below. The second link below will take you to a short illustrated history of the Gurkhas' 200+ years of service to the British Crown. The third link will take you to the webpage of FIBIS.
Bookehost ('The Best Selling E-Book Reviews') February 2016 - Link temporarily disconnected
'Craig Lawrence, a modern Major General, draws on his army career and bursts onto the literary scene with a novel that begins with skulduggery in the city and ends in the snows of Devon...I really enjoyed it and it's a great choice to hunker down with as the nights draw in. Inspired by Lee Child, Craig turns out a fast-paced adventure (with Gurkha guest appearances) that has appeal for many ages and covers a range of relationships.'
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'Military historian, Gurkha Officer for over thirty years, with the extensive experience of commanding Gurkha troops on operations, and a former Colonel of the Regiment, there can be few better qualified to write the silver jubilee history of the RGR than Craig Lawrence. What he has skilfully produced is a magnificent record of the famous and fearless fighting men from Nepal. Illustrated with over 500 wonderful, mainly colour, photographs this intimate account really does do justice to the entire Regimental family and superbly balances the operational, organisational, regimental and historical aspects of their first 25 years. This is neither a, so-called, coffee table book nor is it a detailed regimental history but provides a lively narrative which simply sets the outstanding illustrations into context. Gurkha is compelling reading and sure to become an essential reference work. It is great value for money and a highly recommended and timely Christmas gift!' Military Historical Society, November 2019 Bulletin
You can find out a bit more about Gurkhas by watching his interview on Forces TV (on the left). It's short, to the point and will give you a good idea of what makes Britain's Gurkhas so special and why I felt determined to write the book!
A few months ago, I was asked to co-author an article on the nature of strategy for a journal that explores governance issues. Although the journal's primary audience is the management boards of schools and colleges, the article should be of interest to anyone involved in strategy formulation as it explores the defining characteristics of good strategy and explains why a strategy is different to a plan, something very few people seem to understand. The article's main point is that strategies are different to plans because they are designed to have an effect in a highly uncertain environment. The problems they are trying to address fall into the 'wicked' category and that means that a definitive solution probably doesn't exist. The article explores the nature of so-called 'wicked' problems in order to explain why strategies need particular characteristics if they are to be successful. Click on the image to the left or the link below to see the article. The other link below will take you to a list of quotes about strategy that explore its nature and try to give an idea of what some of the leading strategists think its defining characteristics are.
'As I reflect upon the Regiment's first quarter century, it is sometimes difficult to remember exactly just how much has been achieved. This is why this book is invaluable - carefully researched, and with hundreds of fascinating images, it will perhaps help the reader to understand my deep personal pride in being Colonel-in-Chief.' His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
'Think dogs of war and Bourne Series.'
'Cracking First Novel!! First book from Craig Lawrence and what a great one too. With a Lee Child style of writing, The Legacy is fast paced, unpredictable and impossible to put down. Really cannot wait for the next Harry Parker novel!! Hurry up Craig!' Recent review on Amazon
'Just loving this book. Fast paced and every chapter gripping so I don't want to put it down! Craig Lawrence writes in such an insightful way - well researched or from personal experience. I am there in every twist and turn of the plot. Recommend this book for a personal treat or great present! Going to present it at my Bookclub.' Most recent review on 'Goodreads' - 5 Stars (out of 5)
‘With a foreword by the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, Prince Charles, this lavishly illustrated history makes engrossing reading. This is Lawrence’s second gurkha book; the first, The Gurkhas: 200 Years of Service to the Crown, looked at the whole history of gurkha service. This volume, which marks a celebration of the 25 years of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, covers a period coinciding with his own service, which began in 1984, and brings his own experience to bear. It is all the better for it. His empathy with and love of his subject shine through on every page and his own career – holding regimental appointments at every level including command – serves to illuminate the story and bring it to life. Lawrence’s sense of pride and privilege at having served alongside and commanded the Gurkha rifleman, outstanding for his exceptional bravery and complemented by his humanity, is a feature of the book. The Regiment’s operational tours and worldwide deployments are recorded in meticulous detail in the 19 appendices, together with a list of the 14 members of the Regiment fatally wounded in operations, the Regiment’s battle honours and awards and other fascinating detail. It is a very proud story, expertly told.’ Pennant, The Journal of the Forces Pension Society, Spring 2020
'...a hard-to-put-down adventure that contains just the right mix of mystery, romance and intrigue. Verdict: This absorbing yarn should appeal to all tastes.' 5 Stars (out of 5)
Published on 30 April 2015 - ISBN: 978-1-910500-02-6
Gurkhas were first recruited into the ranks of the Honourable East India Company in April 1815 after demonstrating their martial prowess by halting the advance of the biggest army ever assembled by British India. These indominatable warriors from the mountains of Nepal have remained a key part of the British Army ever since, earning a well deserved reputation for loyalty and bravery. This magnificently illustrated book commemorates the Gurkhas' 200 years of service to the British Crown. Containing 345 images, many of which have never been published before, it provides a lasting memorial to these remarkable soldiers. In addition to the historical narration, there are special interest sections on the kukri, airborne Gurkhas, recruiting, the famous khud race and the Gurkha link with Scotland. All royalties from the book go to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, a charity working in Nepal to alleviate privation amongst ex-Gurkhas and their families.
Published on 21 May 2015 - ISBN: 978-1-908487-43-8
The Legacy tells the story of how Harry Parker, adventurer and Gurkha officer, and Lucy Masters, a feisty and resourceful academic, come together with a small group of ex-Gurkha soldiers to try to defeat the avaricious plans of Charles Highworth, one of the City of London's most unscrupulous bankers. From the mountains of Nepal and the Tors of Dartmoor to the streets of London and Edinburgh, the story that unfolds will grip you from the first page. The book makes a great winter read - just the thing to curl up on the sofa with in front of the fire!
'Just finished reading it. Excellent! Anyone involved in strategy-making who hasn`t/doesn`t read this is missing out.' Lieutenant General (retired) Sir John Kiszely, author of "Anatomy of a Campaign. The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940."
The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) teaches post-graduate level courses in international relations, strategy making and strategic leadership. 'Getting Strategy Right (Enough)' is designed to support the College's flagship 11 month course in the development and implementation of strategy. The booklet, which was edited by Craig Lawrence, is a major revise of a similar guide titled 'Thinking Strategically' which was first published in 2010. The revision was necessary because 2016 was a bumper year for insights into the development and implementation of strategy. For the booklet to remain both current and relevant, it was felt that the key lessons identified in reports, such as that published by Sir John Chilcot into the UK's intervention in Iraq, and books, such as Hooker and Collins' seminal examination of US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, needed to be included.
Whilst primarily aimed at improving the strategic literacy of RCDS 'Members' (as RCDS students are known), the booklet will be invaluable to anybody involved in the development and implementation of strategy, whether in the public or private sectors. The booklet was first published for internal MOD use on 4 May 2017 but was launched for a wider audience on 8 September 2017. Download a pdf copy of the guide using the link opposite.
'Craig Lawrence willl grip you from the moment you open this book and read the first page...the story that unfolds will keep you mesmerised to the very end.'
‘A pictorial celebration of 25 years of The Royal Gurkha Rifles, this book is crammed with more than 500 images of the brave soldiers past and present (pictured here with Colonel in Chief Prince Charles) – Lawrence wanted to include as many of the men as possible as a tribute to those who had served and continue to serve in the RGR. Soldiers are selected only from young men living in the hills of Nepal – with 9,568 applicants for 270 places in 2018. Gurkha includes sections on kukri fighting, snipers and tracking, all of which go into shaping this elite unit.’ The Daily Mail, 11 October 2019.
'A GOOD old-fashioned thriller, this title is fast paced and action-packed from the start. It involves a former Gurkha officer, Harry Parker, tracking down a terrorist called Malik who has been arranging attacks in the UK and France as part of an attempt to stage a coup in Nigeria. Our hero trails his quarry to Malta, then Afghanistan – picking up a beautiful investigative journalist and some former Army colleagues along the way. All in all, this is a good, easy-to-read book which is well worth getting hold of.’ Soldier Magazine (the magazine of the British Army), July 2020 (see Page 64)
'A fantastic read. If you like politico thrillers, with action, sex, travel and a Bond-like hero, then look no further.' 5 star review on Amazon (by a 'verified purchaser' dated 15 April 2020)
'This is a good old fashioned thriller which actually lives up to this claim...this is a cracker of a book, if you are into thriller novels.' Army Rumour Service (aka ARRSE), 13 June 2020
'I don't normally read action adventure thrillers but this had me gripped from the first page to the last. Extremely well written with short punchy chapters, it was fast-paced and an easy read. Likeable characters, including strong and sassy women, the locations are brilliantly described (you can imagine being there) and it has an intriguing and believable plot. Will recommend to all my friends!' 5 star review on Amazon (by a 'verified purchaser' dated 4 May 2020)
'A great read, in which the characters build really well and there is Frederick Forsyth level of research in detail to bring to life the tension of each scene. The sense of peril grows well through the book and it's easy to empathise with the dilemnas of Harry. It's clear that Lawrence really understands the politics and nuance of the rarefied discussions at COBRA and how this then relates to national action. I'll definitely be reading the next book. Really pacy read that leaves you holding you breath.' Recent 5 star review on Amazon (by a 'verified purchaser' dated 25 April 2020)
'The perfect antidote to being ‘lockeddown’, a great page turner, lots of action and Gurkha heroes. Malta, Kathmandu and Kabul enable well researched virtual travel. Highly recommended read.' 5 star review on Amazon (by a 'verified purchaser' dated 24 April 2020)
SUMMARY OF ALL REVIEWS:
Published on 30 March 2020 - ISBN: 978-1-8380045-0-7
When investigative journalist Amélie Lagarde learns that her brother has been killed on a diving expedition, she doesn’t share the police’s view that it was an accident. Ex-Gurkha Harry Parker agrees to help her investigate, expecting to spend a few days in the sun checking the facts and talking to the local authorities. What he doesn’t expect is to find himself drawn into a deadly battle between an ambitious prime minister, the intelligence agencies and an ex-Taliban commander, who is now the world’s most wanted terrorist, but that’s exactly what happens. And as the death toll mounts and the government refuses to act, Parker and Lagarde have no option but to take matters into their own hands. From the streets of London and the historic island of Malta to the bazaars of Kathmandu and the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, the story that unfolds will grip you from the first page!
'Reasonable Doubt' is the second book in the Harry Parker series of action adventure thrillers - see the first below!
As well as attracting positive reviews in the media, the web-site 'Best Thrillers' also selected 'The Legacy' as one of its recommended 'New Action Thrillers.'