The Paths of Error trilogy is 3 views through the same window of time. So more a triptych than a trilogy.
Undeclared War is the first, sees rebel-born Tom Newson fighting his way out of Paignton, into the army, through Cyprus and out of the army. In 60s Brixham he discovers drugs. In Crete he finds a life worth living. Back in Brixham he meets up with an old girlfriend. But he ends up, lost, dealing in 70s London...
Blue, in Constant Change, begins as an idealist with no ideals. His way is found through women. Rejected by his first girlfriend he drifts into the Merchant Navy, only to jump ship in Sri Lanka. Through an American girl there he discovers Buddhism. In London, through an Irish girl, he comes back to boozy earth with a bump. The mother of his children leads him to a brief rural idyll...
As Recorded is told throughout in dialogue, gives us the post-war childhood in Paignton of all the characters. This is Pete's story, and he wants to be more than his nickname, Sniff. He becomes a boxer, a Lothario, a shady entrepreneur; even incarcerated he is dangerous to others, and to himself.
The magazine Devon Life delivered this verdict of Paths of Error - 'Undeclared War, Constant Change, and As Recorded can be read in succession, or equally stand independently as analyses of the changes wrought by recent decades on the lives of ordinary people. Based around Paignton, Sam Smith uses a group of friends from a small ordinary English town and explores their individual paths of error against the fabric of life. Highly sexually charged and using blunt language, these will only cater to very specific tastes.'
Rich Patton said this of Undeclared War - 'Undeclared War is a serious work. It may offend and sometimes enrage but Sam Smith also entertains with his vivid imagery, facile prose style, and sometimes insightful, sometimes whimsical, often cynical, but always stimulating perceptions of history and the human condition. Highly recommended.'