On 6 June 2004, Frank Gardner and cameraman Simon Cumbers were in a quiet suburb of Riyadh, filming a piece on Al-Qaeda when they were confronted by Islamist gunmen. Simon was killed instantly. Frank was brought down by a shot in the shoulder, then the leg. As he lay in the dusty street, a figure stood over him and proceeded to pump 4 more bullets into him at point blank range.
Blood & Sand is the story of a man who was left for dead but, and against all odds, survived. And not only did Frank Gardner survive but, drawing on his journalistic calling, he has given us an extraordinary, terrifying account of the whole, literally life-shattering, experience, from what it's like to be shot to the excruciating months of recovery. But his book is more than about this one incident and its aftermath. It is about a journey that began 25 years ago with a chance meeting on a London bus with the veteran Arabian explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who inspired in the young Frank what would become a lifelong passion for the Arab world. This abiding interest would lead him to travel throughout the Middle East, experiencing at first hand peoples, places, and cultures that few have encountered, a colourful world of scorpion-infested Bedouin tents, of Cairene hash dens and vibrant Egyptian slums. It's a journey that would eventually lead, via the world of banking, to Frank becoming a journalist with the BBC. And it was this passion that would, in the wake of the world-changing events of 9/11, send him on the journey that came to dominate, and so very nearly end, his life. Written with honesty, integrity, and humour, this is a powerful, haunting account of survival, of over-coming adversity and a determination to carry on, a moving and inspiring personal story that reveals a deep understanding of the Islamic world and an insider's compelling analysis of the on-going "War on Terror" and what it means in these uncertain times.
Great content, poor sound
I could listen to Frank’s exploits and reports all day long. I find him one of the most engaging and empathetic reporters of all, not only on the BBC. Surely though, someone could have given some effort towards producing his audiobook with better sound quality than this? It’s as though he is recording it via a cup and string…..