The Feather Men

#1
The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. I first read it in 1991 and thought it was a fantastic story. Now what I want to know is this, has anybody else read it and what are your thoughts as to whether this book is fact or fiction?
 

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#2
HAve read the book, and a excellent story.

I heard rumours quite a few years ago that this book sparked and investigation, how true that is i have no idea.

But definitly worth a read
 
#3
I found the whole technical side of making a murder look like an accident quite beliveably scary!

The Boston Brakes incident has shadows of the Dodi & Diana crash?
 
#4
I first read it in 1998 & have read it three times since.
A fantastic piece of storytelling.

As to the amount of truth in it, I wouldn't like to hazard a guess.


TTFN

BFG
 
#5
great book
 
#7
Its a great read, and I am inclined to believe it. Fiennes strikes me as a straight up and down gent, I cant imagine him faking the story, especially as the book includes photos of the main characters, and even a reference to Keally's grave in St Michaels churchyard in Frimley. A good friend of mine lives about 500m from there, I'll ask him to have a look.
 
#8
sandmanfez said:
Its a great read, and I am inclined to believe it. Fiennes strikes me as a straight up and down gent, I cant imagine him faking the story, especially as the book includes photos of the main characters, and even a reference to Keally's grave in St Michaels churchyard in Frimley. A good friend of mine lives about 500m from there, I'll ask him to have a look.
No i cant belive he would fake it either. I dont recall any of the families of the deceaced saying it was all lies when the book was first released.

It would be nice if the Sigs had some watchmen ... they could come and sort out the toerags who keep spraying tags on my garage door!
 
#10
A fantastic book, i have read it a couple of times and has given me a lot to think about, if it is fact or fiction.

I saw a recent tv interview with him were he made reference to the book and this has made me more inclined to believe it is fact, however i don't mind being proved wrong.

He seems an honourable bloke with no real cause to lie.

A great read either way.
 
#11
It is an excellent book - some of the methods involved seem crazy (like the loop of wire round the nuts thing....) but equally anyone who wants to string up a drug dealer gets my vote!

I think there are too many *checkable facts* for him to claim it as truth if it's fiction - he strikes me as too *straight* to do that.

He is also of course arguably the definition of a "Hard Man". Nothing to do with winning fights or beating up a dozen men with just a spoon - simply his incredible reserves of willpower. I dare say there are few in active service in the special forces with the minerals to stick out what he does.

(or you could argue that the modern day SF are too clever to walk across hundreds of miles of freezing ice counting the toes you no longer have...)
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
There was a written article just after the release of the book where he was presented with criticisms and given a chance to refute them.

One criticism was the presence of a winch motor on the tail of the helicopter which would preclude anyone climbing inside thetail boom. His answer was that he was not a witness to the incident but only relating the stary and therefore he could not deny or argue of the critic knew better than he.

He held it together well.

Interestingly, in one of his earlier books he names the rebel who he shot. In The Feathermen he claims it was the father of the rebel who set the assasins after the men. Verifiable facts it seems.
 
#14
I have an interesting perspective on this topic.

I was encouraged to read The Feathermen by something that came up during a conversation I had with a friend of mine about two and-a-half years ago. I was asked in a very pointed manner whether I had ever read the book - on the spur of the moment I blurted out that I had (I hadn't then, but was familiar with what it was about). I was then asked whether I thought it was true. I said that I wouldn't be surprised if it was - what stuck in my memory was what I can only call the knowing look my friend had on his face as he asked me this. I should point out that my friend was an infantry officer, and his father (a retired cavalry officer) had known Ranulph Fiennes quite well from the time they served together in Dhofar in the 70s. Having shortly thereafter read the book, I have to say that I came away from it convinced of its accuracy. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is a gentleman soldier-adventurer of the old school, and I have encountered so much actual rubbish purporting to be 'real' that I like to think that I can recognise the genuine article when I see it.

On a point of interest, one of the 'characters' in The Feathermen is a young Guards officer called David Mason - he is the author of Shadow Over Babylon and Little Brother.
 
#15
I read it a year or so after the the following incident and although there is probebly no connection ,it is still a bit spooky. I used to do a lot of building repairs around the Earls court area and one of my customers, a single guy in his late 40's early 50's, worked for Control Risks (look them up if you dont know). I knew he had served in the regiment as an officer in the 70's. He used to nip off at a moments notice and not be seen for weeks. He had a few flats and houses around central london (all at the same time)which I worked on, but only he used to stay in them. His main place was just around the corner of Trebevior Rd which is mentioned in the book. One day he just did not come back. The houses were sold and we never heard of him again.

Am i paranoid?
 
#16
I read the feather men a few years back having been intrigued by the synopsis on the back and found it to be a very good read, I took it to be a real-life factual account and still think it is today. However, after reading many books on the S.A.S and army in general one point from the feather men stuck in my mind. If i remember correctly in the feather men it says that Mike Keally had some sort of solution/poison put in his water bottle prior to going on a selection route with some guys on selection, which caused him to deteriorate rapidly on the mountains and die. So he was murdered right? Yet every other book I have read that has any reference to Mike Keally (and there are a few due to his exploits in Dhofar) claim that he was ill equiped to go out on the mountains, filling his bergen with bricks and extra weight etc instead of survival aids/rations etc, which led to him being unable to survive when the bad weather closed in thus he died. Has anyone else noticed this perculiar descrepancy/interpretation of this mans death?
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#17
I can't say I've read it, but I do know it caused a large amount of anger in the SAS at the time of it's publication, where it was seen as a money grubbing fantasy. IIRC, Peter de la Billiere made some particularly pithy comments about it.
 
#18
Ranulph is one of my heroes. Anyone that can get p!ssed of with waiting for frostbite to heal so much that he wanders into the shed, put's his toes (or fingers?) in a vice and just saws them off (pausing halfway through to nip into town to get some more junior hacksaw blades!), wins my admiration until the end of time.

The Feathermen confused me. On the one hand he appears as straightforward and as honourable as they come, with no possible reason to be lying (which is what it is if he claims it is true, when he knows it isn't). On the other hand, by telling the story, he is betraying confidences and letting down the SAS by telling tales.

It's strange, something doesn't add up. Great bloke though.
 
#19
Awol said:
Ranulph is one of my heroes. Anyone that can get p!ssed of with waiting for frostbite to heal so much that he wanders into the shed, put's his toes (or fingers?) in a vice and just saws them off (pausing halfway through to nip into town to get some more junior hacksaw blades!), wins my admiration until the end of time.

The Feathermen confused me. On the one hand he appears as straightforward and as honourable as they come, with no possible reason to be lying (which is what it is if he claims it is true, when he knows it isn't). On the other hand, by telling the story, he is betraying confidences and letting down the SAS by telling tales.

It's strange, something doesn't add up. Great bloke though.
Certainly an interesting fella no matter what your viewpoint. Bumped into him in the BA lounge in Singapore sometime back when he was carrying out his "marathons on different continents" effort. Poor sod had already run two or three marathons by the time he'd got to Singapore and then run with the heat/humidity here - fcukin' nutter :D but hats off to him. Chatting to him in the lounge he mentioned he was looking forward to the next leg (Egypt IIRC?) and at the same time digging into a tomato juice 8O

lancslad
 
#20
I seem to remember that if you look closely at the small print just inside the book, it has all the formal, British Library stuff which all books are obliged to have in them; it recognises the right of the author to be called as such, when it was first published and the like. It is listed here as 'Fiction'.

It is a work of 'Faction' - all the victims died, but Fiennes weaves a fine tale in telling us how.
 

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