Stewart Binns on the inspiration behind Betrayal

Author Stewart Binns reveals the emotional read that became the inspiration behind his explosive new thriller, Betrayal

Stewart Binns

For me, the early 80s was a dark period in our history and Northern Ireland was one of the most shadowy parts of it.

My own military experience was with the SAS, for which I passed selection in 1980.  I applied for no other reasons than bravado and to feed my male ego; on reflection, not the most worthy of motives.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to try all sorts of challenges in all sorts of extreme conditions. It was a chance to play with some very special kit and meet some exceptional people. It was like a wonderful adventure holiday, paid for by the taxpayer. Except, of course, for the all-to-real business of Northern Ireland and Britain’s increasingly dubious role in the conflict.

I was able to go to Belfast several times during those days. They were visits that, added to my Anglo-Irish heritage, a lifetime of interest in Irish history and many other visits, both north and south of the border, have created a depth of knowledge that allowed me to weave the narrative of Betrayal.

So, I had a character and a context, but I also had a problem: My respect for the Regiment and its soldiers, quite apart from my signature on an Official Secrets Act document, meant that I did not want to compromise anything or anyone involved in one of the finest military cadres in the world. The details of Special Forces operations are kept secret for very obvious and good reasons and I do not want to disclose anything that would threaten the integrity of what some very brave people do on our behalf.

So in Betrayal, my account is entirely fictional, as are the central characters, including Jim, the fictional me. Jim is only loosely based on the real me and is no more than a flimsy caricature, but he serves my purpose.

Finally, for obvious reasons, I am the only one who knows which parts of the story are true and which parts are fiction and that is how it must remain. 

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