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14 October

Gala Theatre

Review by Gabriel Brown

This was probably my favourite event of the festival.

Chris Ryan gave a great insight into the details of his own life, including his time in the SAS. All of it was fascinating.

Chris’s views on the world at present certainly stuck in my mind. Perhaps the key bit of information that really stood out to me was Ryan’s idea of a door stop. Speaking of an incident where people kicked doors down to shoot those inside the room, Ryan advised always having a door stop, as putting it into the door increases its resistance drastically – so much so that people would likely move onto the next room.

He did stress that he didn’t want to make anybody feel paranoid but it was hard not to feel that way, particularly as he referred to the Manchester bombings and the London Bridge incident. However, he gave some incredibly useful tips for staying safe and – if these are the sorts of things he covers and explains in the book – I would advise everyone to read it.

Ryan’s stories of his time in the SAS were also standout moments. He spoke about how, at one time, he was so out of it that he ended up drinking water from a river coming from some sort of factory, I believe. This resulted in him having to have a check-up, just to make sure he was ok.

While there has certainly been some strong contenders, this was my favourite event of the festival.

Cuckoo Review is an arts journalism programme for young writers aged 15-23. Through the Cuckoo Reviewers in Residence programme at Durham Book Festival, young people have reviewed festival events and books, and have interviewed featured authors. For more information about Cuckoo Review visit