John Steele left his family and home at the tender age of 16 to join the Royal Navy. In a select branch of only 200 men he subsequently qualified as the youngest Mine Clearance Diver at that time. He then moved on to a life as an oilfield commercial diver and for 22 years worked in the unforgiving depths of the North Sea and the Persian Gulf.
In 2004 a new industry was opening up and following an intense period of re-education he secured a job with one of the largest private security companies working with the reconstruction of Iraq. This involved explosive and gunshot filled daily runs into the heart of the Mosul and Baghdad red zones at the height of the post war troubles.
Security tasks followed in Africa involving Anti-Piracy duties aboard ships off the dangerous Somali coastline. An advisory position was then offered in the Swamp Area around Brass Island in Bayelsa State working with the Nigerian military's Joint Task Force..
Finally, working as a gold prospector 230 km above the Arctic Circle in a beautiful wild barren part of Finland on his own gold claim aptly named Kaikki Peliin or in English, "ALL IN".
This is a story of humour in adversity, of highs and lows and the need to push on when all around is crumbling... Above all, it is about operating in completely different fields with one constant - any error of judgement could be the last. This book reflects the riveting, truthful and sometimes hilarious collection of true stories from a man who continues to choose adventure in life over the mundane.
As I U-turned, my left side wheels slipped off the tarmac into the gooey mud and the vehicle hesitated. I slipped into four-wheel drive and gassed it. My vehicle took the brunt of incoming belt-fed PKM light machine gun and AK47 fire from insurgents hidden in the fruit and veg stands and the surrounding sand berms. The rounds impacting the vehicle's armour sounded like sledgehammers and eventually, at least one found a weak spot and entered the engine bay. I could feel the engine dying as I desperately tried to move away from the junction. A few seconds later, I ended up facing away from the contact point with a dead engine stuck in first gear, holding the key down and chugging up the road with flat tyres. I was driving on the batteries and starter motor!
We came to a grinding halt in the middle of the kill zone and the world erupted around us.