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Publisher's Summary

This is a book about science, bombs and what happens to the human psyche when every day you go to work might be your last.

Kim Hughes is the most highly decorated bomb disposal operator serving in the British Army. He was awarded the George Cross in 2009 following a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, during which he defused 119 improvised explosive devices, survived numerous Taliban ambushes and endured a close encounter with the Secretary of State for Defence.

The backdrop to Painting the Sand is the Afghan War, the conflict where the cold courage of the bomb disposal operator rose to national prominence. No other field of warfare offers the chance of a single individual to come so close to his enemy and fight out a battle of wits where losing means death. This is one of the best memoirs that will come out of a 10-year struggle to defeat a hidden and enduring enemy.

©2017 Kim Hughes (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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You see through his eyes

I heard Kim Hughes interviewed on 3AW and thought I should give it a go. Well let me tell you the book is astonishing, you feel the anguish of his early years and the pride that develops as he discovers his unusual calling. Thank you Kim Hughes for this insight into the brave, the terrified, the injured and the dead that serve us all and deserve greater daily recognition. I will listen again.

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Brilliant

AMAZING story. a true hero. great listen for everyone
military or not. will not disappoint

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  • Melvyn Pini
  • 08-02-2018

A privilege

This book is an experience the like of which I cannot match. I am humbled by the honesty and integrity of Kim Hughes GC.
This country cannot hope to repay what we owe to Mr Hughes and his fellow soldiers wherever would we be without them.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony Hanley
  • 13-02-2018

Much respect !

Chillingly true life unglamorous account of fighting the terrorist war as a bomb disposal SNCO brings home the reality of being there and all the raw emotion that comes with that.

Im in awe of the sacrifices made by our troops that were made, and it’s also good to know that the authors views on whether it was actually all worth it, were not suppressed.

The audiobook puts you in the middle of it all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • D. J. Craig
  • 31-10-2017

A truly great read!

An in depth recollection of life on the frontlines of IEDs in Afghanistan. An honest encounter of what really happened, what went on and what it was like. No bullshit, dampening of the situation or moderated views to achieve a life like feel of what it was like without actually being there. The story of the army told by someone who has become the army. Well worth a listen.

NB - not recommended if you will be unable to listen to descriptions of fatal scenes

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Gibbs
  • 06-12-2017

A realistic and thoroughly interesting real life story.

Loved this book, it’s honesty and utter realism. Read it if you have the slightest interest.
Being EOD is a seriously punchy role needing nerves of steel and top level skills. Well in Staff!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ryan
  • 28-11-2017

Excellent and compelling listen

I can't fault the content or the narrater, it was a fantastic book and it was a shame when it ended. It was easy to listen to and captivating with the real-life tales of war. Great book.

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  • Anne
  • 14-11-2017

Excellent listen and narration

Really enjoyed this book,a real insight into the training and deployment of a in layman's terms 'Bomb Disposal 'expert and the trials and desperate decisions they have to make, what a brave man Kim is and all his fellow comrades.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Hart
  • 25-03-2018

Another Ruined audiobook

Another story about the life of a kid from the council estates making good in the army ruined by the production. This is the second book of this type I have listened to recently which has been ruined by the narration. I’m fairly sure there are people out there with regional accents who can read. Narrating this story using the voice of what sounds like an earnest teenage public school boy really doesn’t help with context. That aside, it soon becomes clear that Hughes does a remarkable job, is very brave and is highly trained. However, the repetition of him telling us this and an almost complete absence of the black humour and self-deprecation you expect of the British Army, makes it read more like an American Navy Seal memoir. Disappointing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Monkeyspanner
  • 17-08-2018

sensational

Simply brilliant. A compelling story about an officer and his journey later in life. could not recommend more.

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  • Matthew Cooper
  • 12-08-2018

Brilliant read

Hughes stated at the start that he wasn’t going to pull any punches, he was going to say it as it was, and he really did.

Story overall kept the growing up stage to a minimum and told the listener enough to understand a base around his life and why he reacted in certain conditions.

The real meat of the story out in Afghan was great, he goes through his teams story in a way that is really entertaining, he even goes into how a bomb was made, why they explode and other technical aspects of the roll really helped to understand what Hughes and his team went through.

I didn’t really think about it until I got to the ‘Special Thanks’ section in the book, in that Hughes isn’t a writer, his still an active member of the army but his writing is superb, I love the frank story telling, I felt like it was a mate telling me his story, love the use colourful language and descriptions of the scene felt like I was there.

Hemsbrough reading was perfect! Was very natural again like a friend telling me his story, accents and performance really helped just gutted he hasn’t done anymore audio books.

Overall great audiobook, would recommend!
I really hope Hughes does another book as this was amazing!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-2018

Great book from a true legend

This book takes you to the front line and in to the life of a soldier. Outstandingly well done Sir