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Bulldog and The OfficerThe book consists of actually two distinct stories The first part of the book is a realistic and well written journey into the military life of two soldiers, recruit Chris Thompson and his drill Sergeant Col Bulldog Wilson The latter part of the book is a sweet and emotional romance story between the two main characters It also covers a lot of ground in the area of gay rights, bad self esteem, and prejudice I scooped the first part of the book in one go It was hard and realistic, but you could still connect to the characters I loved the characters, even though they were exaggerated, but they fitted the story very well I had some struggles with the latter part of the story, even though I guess a lot of people will love it It is very emotional at times, even sentimental There is also quite lot of self pity, which I am seriously allergic to Especially, Col s self esteem problems and self pity gets fucking irritating Fortunately, there is a healthy dose of self irony along the way to smooth things out Since when had he turned into such a wuss Still, in my my point of view, someediting would have made it better.There are also great insights into the mind of a soldier Like this one from the retired, former soldier He had lost his identity, had stopped to be part of a greater sum 5 stars for the first part and 4 for the latter With less sentimentality and self pity it would have been a slam dunk.BTW, there are some similarities between Basic Training and I ll Be Your Drill, Soldier by Crystal Rose, so if you liked that one, you probably are going to like this one as well. Basic Training is a well written military gay romance with very catching main characters When Chris Thompson arrives as a new recruit in Col Wilson s platoon, the world of the well known Sergeant going with the nickname of Bulldog is turned upside down Chris Thompson is ambitious, fit and has all the necessary talent to make it through the basic training in order to join the Royal Marines But Thompson isn t only extra ordinary talented, he is also gay openly gay in an environment, where homophobia is still very widespread Col Wilson is ordered to keep an eye on Thompson to make sure that the Forces are following the law by banning every kind of discrimination due to sexual orientation What nobody knows is that Col himself is gay, but that he has decided to keep it a secret to pursue his career Keeping the young recruit save is thus very personal for Col, but he can t lie to himself He s slowly falling for the sexy recruit with the beautiful green eyes Basic Training follows Chris and Col over a period of seven years It was a great read about fighting his own fears, about loyelty, responsibility, hope and of course love It shows us that it is forth fighting for a relationship even if the conditions are complex and difficult It gave a great insight in the military setting and showed what it could be like to be gay in a world were gender roles are still having a very different impact 4 stars Joining The Royal Marines Is A Challenge That Only The Toughest Young Men Should Take On As One Of The Most Prestigious Regiments In The British Forces, Becoming A Royal Marine Commando Is Achieved Only By The BestPlatoon Sergeant Col Wilson, Called Bulldog, Knows All About Achievements, And With The Responsibility For The Recruits At Lympstone, He Is Adamant That Despite The Highest Drop Out Rate In The Forces, His Boys Should Pass Basic Training To The Highest StandardsYet Sgt Wilson S World Of Work, Gym, Training And Discipline Is Heaved Out Of Its Angles When The New Platoon Arrives With Chris Thompson Amongst Them A Promising, Picture Perfect Recruit Twenty One, Handsome, Tall, A University Graduate And A Triathlete, And Openly Gay In An Environment Of Institutional HomophobiaCol Finds Himself Thrown Into Turmoil That Is Nothing Like Any Conflict He D Ever Encountered, Nor Any Operational Theatre He D Ever Fought In When This Particular Battle Becomes Personal, He Has To Ask Himself Who Is The Enemy Loved this book from the first to the last page I loved this story to pieces One MC is a closeted, repressed divorced man, a drill sergeant who only has his pride to live for The other is an out gay recruit, a beautiful man who excels in every way in basic training The romantic arc is as far from insta love as you can get Not only does the drill sergeant fight his attraction for quite some time, but even once they get together he can t except that every time is not the last But the love between the two characters slowly becomessecure I really admired the journey the closeted drill sergeant went through Everything about him evolved from his perception of himself, gay men, relationships, the importance of his career and his partner It s not easy to write an arc like that and it was very well done The story was constantly entertaining and hot as well as deeply satisfying emotionally 5 stars from me. A very enjoyable m m military romance Col Bulldog Wilson is a senior sergeant with the Royal Marines His latest batch of recruits contains one Christian Thompson, twenty one, six foot, green eyes, brown hair and the first openly gay recruit accepted into the Marines training program Col s carefully hidden and never acted upon desires are severely tested.This story covers about a five year period and follows Col and Chris relationship through basic training, deployment, changing career paths and some life changing events While our two protags face some difficult times, the story is never overly angsty It s a romantic and heartwarming tale and I felt the whole time that I was heading for a HEA I found this very refreshing after a recent spate of unsettling love triangles in some of the other books I ve read The military aspects of the story seem authentic and the sex scenes are great Especially when the guys get together after many months apart.Definitely comparable to I ll Be Your Drill, Soldier and fans of that book will really enjoy Basic Training. It s been two years since the release of the rather excellent Her Majesty s Men, the last book by this author, but I was so impressed by that book that I ve hung in there waiting for a new book to be published Basic Training is that book, and in my opinion the two years have been worth the wait, especially as this book shows some increased maturity in the style of writing from this author Basic Training follows Col who is a platoon sergeant in the Royal Marines, in charge of new recuits as they face the 32 weeks of basic training At the beginning of the book we meet him at a bit of a bad place He s recently divorced and, after a drunk driving incident, recently demoted Whilst he loves his job and feels pride in his ability to turn a rag tag group of men into a fit fighting force, his private life is crashing around his ears with the knowledge that his failed marriage is likely to do with his disinterest in women As the story begins, Col s about to begin with a new platoon of trainees One of them, Christian or Chris has openly stated on his paperwork that he is gay This opens up a whole can of worms for Col as he seeks both to keep an eye out for Chris as well as fight his attraction to the man The book then takes us on a slow journey, spanning several years, where Col and Chris meet, start a relationship and then have that relationship develop over time There were two things in particular that struck me about the story, and which added greatly to my enjoyment of the book as a whole Firstly, I enjoyed following the unfolding of the relationship between the two men, especially in Col s emotional journey towrads accepting his homosexuality Those of you who may have read Marquesate s other books will know that her men are rough and tough find it difficult to express emotion and engage in almost brutal sex with each other Whilst the first two are certainly the case here, the third element was very much toned down from previous books Col s one of these men who prefers not to think about emotional mushy stuff, and definitely feels uncomfortable talking about his feelings As a result he tends to adopt the think about it later way of facing up to things which concern him, such as his changing views on his own sexuality I loved the gradual way that Col deals with these difficult for him issues, and especially the small steps towards accepting himself Some of my favourite scenes in the book were when Col really thought through his jumbled emotions, or when he bit the bullet and spoke to others However, when in private with Chris, he does let his guard down and the sex between them was quite beautifully tender in places, whilst also containing some of the roughness that this author is known for They matched so well as a couple, both of them riddled with their own insecurities and hang ups whilst providing a solid support to the other It wasthan love or romance, it was friendship, comradeship and a solid foundation for a life long relationship and I loved reading about it.The second aspect which I really liked about this book was the way that the life of a Royal Marine was so ingrained through every thought and action of both the main characters There s enough detail given to understand the life of a soldier both during the basic training and then on into a career in the Royal Marines but not so much that I felt overwhelmed by knowledge that wasn t important to the story The two heroes are at opposite ends of their careers Chris is just starting out in the RM and Col, at 35, is nearing retirement and I liked the way that Col acts as a guide for Chris, whilst having to make some difficult choices about his own future At the beginning of the story much is made of Chris struggles for acceptance as a gay man in the RM and this is contrasted with the closeted Col, whose struggles areinternal than those of Chris As the story progresses the military theme develops to focus on the difficulties of an overseas tour for both the one away and the one left behind By the end of the book I felt I had gained a really good understanding of life in the military from both the enlisted and the partner of the enlisted It made me think a little, without ever feeling that I d been preached to, whilst also providing an extremely entertaining and engrossing story.I have very few niggles about the story except that maybe the pacing began to drag a little in the last 50 or so pages, but not so much that I wanted to stop reading A second niggle is that, even though we spend nearly the whole book in Col s head, we never find out much about his past, except that he had a bitch ex wife and had served several dangerous tours in his military career In fact we find out muchabout Chris, than we do Col I suppose though that this was because Col is private and unassuming, saving his boasting for when he needs to show that as Bulldog he s fitter and stronger than the recruits he whips into shape It s a curious contrast, but is also what makes Col such a great character.This has to be the most romantic story I ve read by this author so far It never gets anywhere near sweet, but I loved the playful banter between Col and Chris They resolve their problems by talking to each other and also through a careful consideration of the feelings of the other person, without rancour and bitterness because they understand each other s situation I don t think I ve read such a delightful and well matched couple in ages.Overall, I can highly recommend Basic Training with a grade of Excellent If you like military themed stories and want to read a book with a pair of complex heroes who are drawn to, and complete, each other, then I suggest this book is for you I only hope it s not another two years until the next Marquesate book Basic Training has been a while coming but it was definitely worth the wait If you started reading Marquesate because of the Special Forces epic or of the novel Her Majesty s Men or of the short stories that have appeared here and there, Friendly Fire in mostly dreadful company in a collection also called Special Forces for what reason heaven only knows , For Queen and Country or Code of Honour, in Basic Training you will find what you have come to like about the author strong, believable characters, gritty story lines, a military setting that rings entirely true and, above all where I am concerned, stories that are true to themselves oh yes, and some rather hot sex too Basic Training is the story of Col, a sergeant in the Royal Marines and Chris a recruit who is determined to make it through the mud because he has a point to prove Against the backdrop of the gruelling 31 week training a relationship develops against all odds and, after the most audacious of all the boneheaded things Chris does, the two, very much to Col s surprise, become a couple Against the rough military background, this is a real love story and one that works Col and Chris are in most ways unlikely lovers There is the age difference, 14 years There is the military environment different ranks are not supposed to have relationships in the military and you certainly arelikely as a recruit in special forces training to want to stay out of your terrifying sergeant s sights than to want to get to know himclosely There is the difference in their backgrounds and educationsBut against the odds the relationship develops and here Marquesate pulls off a master stroke It would be easy to hit the false tone when these alpha soldiers are out of their natural element and have to start interacting as lovers and then as a couple Instead she gets it just right Col is her voice here and his surprise and ironic view of his own feelings and actions provides the needed distance and prevents any false sentimentality These men are suddenly dealing with emotions, with feelings for each other and it s completely uncharted territory for them for which their training has made them less fit perhaps than most I defy anyone, male or female, to remember their first time in love and the heady, silly, clumsy and sometimes downright make you blush corny behaviour that went with it and not to share a rueful chuckle with Col While the story has warm, touching and even funny moments there is, in true Marquesate style, plenty of grit too and homophobia as well as the deadly reality of soldiers lives in the time of war in Afghanistan raise their heads and provide a realistic setting that has a direct impact on the two protagonists happily ever after.This is probably the sunniest of Marquesate s stories so far A feel good story that has deceptive depth and characters that are well developed, even the lesser ones like Chris aunt and uncle Definitely worth the wait and definitely a novel that I want as a book on my shelves. Ok, here it goes, I m actually going to have to thank Sims for encouraging me read beat me over the head to read this book.It starts out slowly and since it s solely from Col s POV I wasn t always sure what was really going on with Chris and I wasn t sure there ever would be a relationship between these two Be warned though the story is definitely very military in nature and everything revolves around that.The scene where Chris is caught in the bathroom was difficult, but nothing compared to the scene in Ravages thank goodness view spoiler I was sooo glad when Chris finally quit calling Col Sir in bed hide spoiler Well this book was a long time coming As I expected this book was a realistic and at times brutal story of military life Col Wilson is a Drill Sargeant in the Royal Forces, he is a gay man He knows that, but he won t and can t give into that feeling He never has indulged in those fantasies, and his plan is to keep it that way Until Chris Thompson, new recruit, openly gay and FUCKING PERFECTION walks in as part of his new group.Chris is not only openly gay, but he is by far the best of best in the new group, that brings trouble with it for Col and in the platoon Bad things happen, but Chris is resilient He graduates as the top in class, and his first and foremost desire once that is done is to get Col Col can t help himself, he goes to Chris And they begin.There were elements in this story that were reminiscent of that other story I love so well I liked that they were together for many years, that unwavering lust and love thing that Marquesate s men have So much passion and fierceness That was there The mind blowing hotness That was there too The enduring and unwavering love THERE The whole time It was also surprisingly non dramatic, in a good way They were in love, they had a lot of obstacles, but they worked around them, the bid their time and found their HEA I liked this book, I liked these men, and I LOVED what they had It wasn t haunting and angsty, if frustrating at times There were bits, that I felt went on too long, but that didn t bother me too much This story was was good Very good.I recommend.