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Public Enemy

Craig William Emms

John Smith is an ex-Special Forces soldier, spy and assassin who killed on the orders of the British government. He is now being hunted by the police and the Special Intelligence Service who want to bring him to justice in their own ways. They are not the only ones and John Smith must also fight for his life against a group of fanatical terrorists, survive a face to face encounter with an ex-IRA hit man,face a life sentence for a crime he did not commit and rescue two members of the Royal Family kidnapped by a gang of vicious thugs. Public Enemy is a real roller coaster of a novel written by a long serving ex-troop sergeant. A substantial percentage of the proceeds from
the sale of the book are being donated to Combat Stress, the UK Veterans Mental Health charity.

About the author:
Whenever I talk about my life to other people, I always tend to get the same reaction from them: 'You've had an interesting life'. Looking back on all that I've done, I guess that's true. As a young teenager all I wanted to do, was to join the British Army. I did everything that I could think off to get myself ready for the big day, including earning my black belt in quite a few different forms of Martial Arts. I joined the army at the tender age of sixteen as a Junior Leader and I served my country for a long time, both as a regular soldier and as a member of the Territorial Army. I also managed to achieve the rank that I had always wanted to get to - Sergeant - which is of course the backbone of the British Army.

That wasn't all of it though, as I also had a family that was intensely interested in the natural world and wildlife. My Mum was into flowers, my Dad into fish and fishing, and my two elder brothers were bird-watchers and into insects, so it wasn't surprising that I grew up with the same interests myself. As a soldier I was always the one that the other squaddies would come to with questions like: 'What's this snake in my sleeping bag?' or 'What is that bird?' Even as a serving soldier I found the time to volunteer for my local Wildlife Trust on numerous projects, from running a local woodland nature reserve as the volunteer warden through to supervising young offenders doing conservation work such as coppicing. Both interests fused together when I became the combat survival instructor for my unit, a subject that I have always found fascinating. Teaching other squaddies how to make an omelette with live earthworms, or an improvised compass out of an old battery and an empty matchbox was always a lot of fun.

When I left the army, the only job that I could imagine myself doing was something within wildlife conservation. However as everything I knew about the subject was basically self-taught, my first priority was to get myself some formal qualifications. To this end I got a placement on a City and Guilds course that was run in conjunction with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and I spent the next nine months not only learning about the countryside and how to manage it for wildlife, but also getting in lots of practical work from digging drainage ditches through to erecting fences. It was great fun and I worked with a group of people from all walks of life who had similar interests.

After getting a Distinction on this course it was just a short step-up to being accepted onto a Master of Science Degree course run by the University of Warwick, in Ecosystems Analysis and Governance. While all of this was going on I happened to meet a lovely young lady called Linda. This was a life-changing event for me and one which I have never regretted! Linda is not only the love of my life and my soul mate, but we happen to share the same interest in wildlife and conservation. With these two qualifications under my belt I found myself entering into the world of self-employment as an ecological consultant.

At the same time I began my writing career by writing a weekly column with Linda on Warwickshire's Wild Places (which later turned into our first book) for the Coventry Evening Telegraph, as well as a range of articles for national and international magazines. We also found ourselves working as entomologists (insect lovers!) on several international expeditions to such exciting places as the Chagos Archipelago (in the middle of the Indian Ocean), Madeira, northern Belgium and Norway. It was then that another seemingly chance event changed both of our lives. We were invited by a guy in The Gambia, West Africa, to go there and identify some bats for him. After two weeks in this tropical paradise with its fantastic wildlife we were hooked! We applied to become volunteers with an Irish organisation that was helping the Gambian governments Department of Parks and Wildlife Management to conserve its wildlife. We originally intended to stay in The Gambia for just two years, but in the end we were there for almost eight years! After our term of volunteering was over we set up the first charitable non-government wildlife conservation organisation in the country, which we named Makasutu Wildlife Trust. We guided and led this organisation through its fledgling years and were very successful, receiving a substantial grant from the UK government. We designed and oversaw the construction of the 'Darwin Field Station for Biodiversity Research, Education and Training', and employed and trained fifteen local people as counterparts. It was very hard work but was also intensely satisfying. When we finally felt that we had spent enough time away from home, in 2006, we left the trust in more-than-capable Gambian hands and it is still going strong today.

While we were out in The Gambia Linda and I wrote our first major book together: 'The Bradt Guide to The Gambia'. This was very well received and even earned the title of 'Book of the Month' in the Sunday Times in November 2001. It is now in its second edition and has sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide.

In many ways, coming home after living for so long in the tropics was one of the hardest things we have ever done and it was quite a culture shock to us. Just having constant electricity and running water was a delight that we hadn't experienced for a long time. Being able to converse with other folks in English was good too! Since our return we have carried on with our careers in ecology and both of us are now professional ecological consultants, while we have also carried on with our volunteer work in conservation.

Writing has always been a skill that I have loved, and thankfully I'm told that I'm also pretty good at it! I have a very fertile imagination and also a life-time of experience in the big bad world out there, so hopefully I can continue to marry the two into fictional stories that will entertain my readers for a few more years to come! I have so many potential story-lines floating around in my head that I will never have the time to write them all down, even if I live to a ripe old age, so keep your eyes open for more additions to my list of books in the future.

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