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The two had met through equestrian circles: On the night of the kidnapping attempt, SO14 had only assigned one man to protect the princess, but then again only one bodyguard accompanied Queen Elizabeth on unofficial trips to and from her residence at the time. A year-old victim of mental illness, Ball had rented a car under the name of John Williams, in which police would later find two pairs of handcuffs, Valium tranquilizers, and a ransom letter addressed to the Queen. Ball asked that the Queen have the money stored in 20 unlocked suitcases and put on a plane destined for Switzerland.

Queen Elizabeth II herself, wrote Ball, need to appear on the plane to confirm the authenticity of her signatures on needed paperwork. Inspector Beaton tried to shoot Ian Ball, but his wounded shoulder hurt his aim. After firing once, his gun jammed. Anne sat on the other side.

Beaton took the opportunity to jump back in the limo. He placed himself between the couple and their assailant, who shot into the car. Ball then shot him a third time, causing a wound that forced Beaton out of the car and onto the ground. Ball shot him in the chest and Callender fell back into the car. As the two men struggled over Anne, her dress ripped, splitting down the back. The scariest part, he remembered, was feeling like a caged animal when police officers started arriving. Police Constable Michael Hills, 22, was first on the scene.

Patrolling nearby when he heard the sounds of a struggle, he assumed the conflict was over a car accident. He approached Ball and touched his shoulder. The gunman turned and shot Hills in the stomach. Before collapsing, Hills maintained enough strength to radio his station. Ronald Russell, a company cleaning executive, was driving home from work when he saw the scene on the side of the road.


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He approached on foot after seeing Ian Ball confront Officer Hills. Another motorist, a chauffeur named Glenmore Martin, had parked his car in front of the white Ford to keep Ball from escaping. He also tried to distract Ball, but when the gunman aimed at him, Martin turned to help Officer Hills on the side of the road. Recognizing the insignia on the limo, he knew a member of the royal family was in danger. McConnell fell to the road, now the third man bleeding onto the pavement.

Ronald Russell approached from behind and punched Ball in the back of the head. While the former boxer distracted the gunman, Anne reached for the door handle on the opposite side of the backseat. She opened it and pushed her body backwards out of the car. As Ball ran around the car towards the princess, she jumped back in with Phillips, shutting the door. Ronald Russell then punched Ball in the face. More police officers were now witnessing the action. Princess Anne noticed their presence made Ian Ball nervous.

As he pulled up to the scene in his own car, he saw a man take off with a gun through St. Later, they learned that earlier that month, Ball had rented a home on a dead-end road in Hampshire, five miles away from Sandhurst Military Academy, also the home of Princess Anne and Captain Phillips. Dawson clearly did his research, using several real landmarks in Pyongyang and describing them accurately.

He also cleverly subverts the readers expectations. Instead of the fat, pudgy dictator, guess who Milton blows away with his Barrett M82? It will surprise you. Minor flaws of the book were in the area of character development. John Milton is likeable enough, a man who's hinted at being damaged goods but is sympathetic.

However, he wasn't fleshed out, understandable due to the length of the story which makes it more difficult to develop characters. Overall, a promising start to a interesting killer, the author has two full length novels released already, one set in the London riots, the other set in the heat of the Mexican drug war. Apr 14, Neil rated it really liked it.

Another new author for me, and I didn't really know what to expect from this novella. There seems to be so many books following the same tired plotlines, but with this I was pleasantly surprised as for me it stood out from the crowd. It was both well researched and well written, and the characters seemed a lot more plausible than normal. The West has come under a cyber attack, which seems to emanate from North Korea, and the powers that be want to send a return message.

The first part of the boo Another new author for me, and I didn't really know what to expect from this novella. The first part of the book is slightly confusing as it involves supposed official communications between British Governmental departments. Group 15 is tasked with delivering the message, and their messenger is John Milton. He's not your run of the mill agent, he's the one you turn to when other options won't work.

He suffers blackouts, and is constantly aware that if things go pear shaped he will be on his own. Follow him as he changes identities, in his attempt to stay one step ahead of the North Korean intelligence system as he strives to deliver his message.


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I shall definitely be looking out for more books by this author. View all 5 comments. This is the first John Milton story I have read, and I definitely plan on reading others after this one. This book is an excellent start to the series. The story and plotting are well developed and moves quickly. The characters are well defined and engaging. As the story develops, you become more engaged with them and John Milton's mission. I highly recommend Yards, and look forward to reading more from Mark Dawson's pen.

A very interesting short look into the life of John Milton. In this novella he is sent to North Korea to eliminate high raking officers that had taken down lot of South Korea's internet. Sep 20, Col rated it really liked it Shelves: Get to know John Milton before everyone else does. A topical read seeing as North Korea has been in the news a lot lately.

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No, but a lot here for me to like. North Korea has been up to its old tricks, annoying its neighbour and the West with the dissemination of a computer virus targeting malware at banks and media outlets in a massive cyber attack. The British Government thinks its a good idea to retaliate and Milton is the weapon of choice. All hush-hush, top secret and totally deniable and if his cover gets blown, he's on his own.

Milton gets into Korea using forged documents obviously and with the help of some local dissenters evades his watchers. Barely controlled panic ensues as his hosts discover that the man entering the country is not who he claims to be. Can Milton be captured before he commits whatever atrocity he intends? And what exactly is he up to? Plenty of pace and tension - Dawson teases the reader before revealing Milton's true intentions. I did like the story line and where it went. There's a decent amount of characterisation on display.

Milton is portrayed as vulnerable, in addition to resilient and capable - a mere mortal as opposed to an unbelievable superman. We see a bit of his opponents as well - their motivations and fears of failure, working for an unforgiving, intolerant regime. Not too long - odd pages another plus-point and definitely enough here to warrant reading more from Mark Dawson and more with John Milton featuring. His website is here. Dec 05, Judith Elliott rated it it was amazing Shelves: It made me want to read the John Milton series.

Als, which English could resist a character with that name. Jan 29, Dee Arr rated it really liked it. While we only learn a little about Milton and I wished for more background details, the author makes up for it with a generous dose of suspense. The story is a typical plot: A Pyongyang security agent suspects and begins to pursue him.

Suspense builds as the spy attempts to complete his mission while the dragnet swiftly closes in. Dawson performs admirably, keeping the reader engaged throughout.

Remembering the failed plot undertaken by a lone gunman, forty years later

Good introduction to John Milton, with a suspenseful storyline that should intrigue readers enough to move on to the next book. Nov 13, Toni Osborne rated it really liked it. Even as a short story all the elements to make this a pager-turner are found: Oct 22, Jeffrey Bruff rated it it was amazing. My reading tastes are based-on books that allow me to immerse myself in the story and forget about reality for a short time. If when I get started I can't put the book down I consider it to be a great read. This is what Mark Dawson's character John Milton does for me if your like me and read to escape the mundane world Then Mark is the writer for you.

May 15, Jordan Robinson rated it really liked it. Let me begin this review saying that I never read thrillers but this one was good. It kept my attention and I consider that a great success considering how far it is from my usual fantasy genre. I only read this one out of curiosity after following Mark Dawson's author advice for a bit but never reading his books. I picked this one up as he gives it away free for joining his mailing list.

Unless I have a terrible taste in thrillers I hope that's the right genre then I'd recommend this one for b Let me begin this review saying that I never read thrillers but this one was good. Unless I have a terrible taste in thrillers I hope that's the right genre then I'd recommend this one for both fans of the genres or newbies. It is only a novella prequel as I understand it so I imagine the actual series is probably even better.

John Milton is a pretty good main character. He's not the most interesting character but I think he was perfect for the type of book. The book detailed a job that he had to undertake in North Korea you couldn't pay me enough to do such a job. It moved along at a great pace and kept me interested for more.

I won't speak on the realism because I have no idea how likely such activities are to succeed in North Korea but there was nothing awfully unrealistic. There was conflict in the book, but not too much. Maybe just enough to keep people wanting more. I was slightly surprised that the book ended when it did, though. Keeping in mind this is a free prequel, it's a great book and likely will have me trying the actual series.

Aug 01, Trish R. This could have been a little longer but it was still good. There was no swearing at all. As to the narration: David Thorpe was awesome. Both the voices and emotional tones of his reading were spot-on. I would definitely listen to him again. Sep 13, Lucy Hay added it.

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I've long been an admirer of Mark Dawson's as a marketer, so I was keen to see if he stacks up as well as an author. The answer is YEP! Well-written and fast-paced, this is a great introduction to the John Milton character. I would have liked a tad more peril for Milton overall, but as a novella 0. Can't complain and I shall definitely be reading Book 1. Oct 26, Erth rated it really liked it. A quick fast read. If Dawson's intention was to write a short story that made the reader feel obligated to buy his next book, then he succeeded.

There isn't much to Yards. But, the short story is difficult to put down. What it lacks in character development, it more than makes up for with suspense. I found myself purchasing the next book in the series before I even finished this introductory short story. Mar 27, The Cats Mother rated it liked it Shelves: This novella starts the first collection of books by this author, but would probably work better if you already knew the character, as it's a fairly poor introduction to John Milton, assassin, and doesn't actually tell us much about him.

He basically arrives in North Korea on a carefully planned mission, executes it, and escapes. I expect I will like the full novels better.

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Dec 15, Darren rated it it was amazing. I got this as a e book for my laptop from the author in exchange for a honest review. I enjoyed reading it. It is my first book by this author. It had a good story to it. I hope to read more books by this author. This is a novella e-book by this author. Jul 04, johnmarkie rated it it was amazing. Read this first I should have read this first instead I read the first 3 books which I loved this however is fantastic quick storyline which keeps your interest and Milton making his debut loved it 5 stars from me. Apr 30, Richard Burke rated it it was amazing.

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A short but entertaining read. John Milton has a job in North Korea and somebody is going to die. Mar 15, Tom Waters rated it it was amazing. Interesting Yes I enjoyed this book good story well written look forward to reading more the Aug hour deserves a pat on the back. Jan 19, Judie rated it liked it. John Milton was a specialized hired killer. His employer was the government. A wartime veteran, he still suffered episodes related to his military and following services. Sent to North Korea on special assignment, he knew the government would be watching everything he did or said.

His hope was that he could finish his job before that happened and escape before they caught him. It provides minimal description of him, his surroundings, and many of the other characters. The emphasis is on what he does to try to complete it and what the North Korean government does to try to stop him.

The same basic plot is used in other John Milton books though they are much more fleshed out. It moves swiftly and is well-written but not as interesting as the full length novels in which he appears. Jan 24, TDCbookreviews rated it really liked it. Long Island Doll Stars: As he exits the plan Peter is aware he is being photographed and that he will be followed throughout his stay in North Korea.

Samuel Beckett, the maestro of failure

This is exactly what he wants. In reality Peter is John Milton who is in North Korea to complete an assassination mission for his government. To say anymore would s Reviewed By: To say anymore would spoil the mystery. So pick a copy and read.