Damien Lewis is an author that never fails to impress. I admire him for his adaptability, he is equally at home writing pure fiction as he is with non-fiction and all areas in between. His latest best seller Zero Six Bravo is an interesting hybrid, it is fact based, but because of the sensitivity of the subject, some names and exact geographic locations have been changed.

A question that you may have is why did Damien Lewis feel the need to make these changes? The answer is twofold, and may surprise some US readers. Damien Lewis does respect peoples privacy, he is also bound by UK laws. Because Zero Six Bravo details the operations of the UK Special Forces, publication needed clearance from the MOD (Ministry Of Defense).  To my knowledge this is the first book of its kind to get that clearance in almost a decade.

I used the word  best seller, Zero Six Bravo is indeed that, the much respected London based Sunday Times newspaper has Zero Six Bravo listed in the #3 spot! It is odd that Damien Lewis is not better well known on this side of  the pond.

The book is timely. It was ten years ago that the second Iraq conflict roared into life. Saddam needed to be dealt with. Did he have WMD capability, *Weapons of Mass Destruction? No one really knew, but everyone cared. So started the second round of the world trying to stop a despot. It would be easy to talk about my son-in-law who served two tours in Iraq. But it does not matter. Iraq is Iraq, it is what it is.

Less well known are the roles and missions that the multi-country forces were faced with. Damien Lewis details the (at best) unlikely event that 60 well trained men from the UK SAS(Special Air Service), SBS (Special Boat Service) and a few members of the US Special Forces can take down a force estimated to be between 100,000 and 120,000.

I do not  like to give spoilers about a book, but I think that it would be fair to say that the odds were not good. A few Pinkies  (Land Rovers painted in desert colors) and a few off roading 4×4 quads does not make for a formidable mechanized force. Added to the equation was a distinct lack of Intel. In this day and age of intelligence gathering, satellites, planes, and the good old HumInt (Human Intelligence) it is mind boggling that you do not know the exact location of a 100,000 strong enemy force. Even worse, screw up the evaluation of the mind set of the enemy. The brave men were told the opposition were disenchanted, ready to surrender.

History shows that these ideas were indeed just that, ideas, the facts were far different.

All 60 brave men survived, but it was no walk in the park. We use the term Special Forces but rarely do people understand just how well trained they are. These are men that use a different rule book. No they are not super human, but they do know how to make the best of a really bad situation.

Oh earlier in the review I used the term best seller. Try This:


The Sunday Times is without doubt the dominant force when it comes to best seller lists in Europe. As is becoming the norm with Damien Lewis, Zero Six Bravo has already been optioned by the movie industry.

Way to go Damien!

Simon Barrett

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