I had wanted to write a new contemporary thriller series since my last standalone novel, Night Flight to Paris. Although my writing schedule was taken up with the ongoing Master of War series, I was already nosing around for a modern-day knight errant. A loner with a believable background and a character who allowed me to take him anywhere in the world. And to get him into these places where he needed to operate had to be a natural extension of who he was and when necessary for it to be in a semi-official capacity. 

A character, then, with an edge that set him apart from other contemporary heroes. Physical ability, various language skills, a broad experience in military and intelligence work, but just as importantly, he needed a strong connection to somewhere or someone that gave him an emotional hinterland. 

I decided he’d had minor scrapes with authority as a teenager that earmarked him as a potential troublemaker. What was the reason, though, that he became problematic as a young man? Death of a parent and a miscarriage of justice were two motivations I thought worthy of consideration. A young man gets into trouble and goes on the run. That’s not an uncommon theme, but given my character had rendered help at risk to himself, that gave him a moral core. But I didn’t want him to be feral, so he needed a family. Given his parents’ death and the grief it caused, he was taken in by a foster family. So now I had his background and relationships in place, the reason he ran from a false accusation of him being the attacker, not the Good Samaritan. Where would he run? He couldn’t hide his identity in the UK. The one place where a fit and determined young man needing to hide was the French Foreign Legion.

I had served in The Parachute Regiment and occasionally met various other soldiers serving with their country’s armed services; American Special Forces, Dutch Commandos, various NATO troops, and French Foreign Legion members. This elite unit draws recruits from across the world and I saw they were ideal for my character. They became his new family. Those who serve swear allegiance not to France but to the Legion. And to those who serve, their mission is sacred.

The best regiment to place him in was somewhere I could relate to, which is why he went through selection for the 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes, the Legion’s 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment, the only airborne regiment in the Legion. After 15 years of service with further qualifications in their specialist commando unit, he was an ideal asset for freelance work in western intelligence services. Friendships had been forged in the Legion, an additional advantage for such characters to appear in the novels. And being foreigners, they were from around the world, which gave me access and contacts wherever my stories needed to go.

I had found Dan Raglan—The Englishman.

David Gilman

.mat-card-actions { position: relative; left: 30%; } Shop now!
Sub Title
By David Gilman
Image Left Align