An Interview with the impressive Andy McNab
by Margaret Graham

18 January 2016

Andy, Nick Stone, in Detonator, talks of knowledge equaling power. In one of your talks I sat in on at the Yeovil Literary Festival, you mentioned that your army tutor at your squad’s first literacy session explained that the ability to read was the route to education, which = knowledge, which in turn = power. This clearly resonated with you, even changed your life.
You write non-fiction and fiction, which shows the importance of the latent abilities your tutor unearthed but have you felt the need to pass this equation to others? Perhaps through literacy charities? If so, what are they? Tell us more about how this equation has changed the lives of others.

Yes very much so. I was lucky enough to have been given an education by the Army, and I spend a lot of time now telling young people my story and encouraging them to make the most of educational opportunities on offer. I am an Ambassador for the Reading Agency, and through them visit many schools, prisons, Young Offender Units and workplaces every year. If I can get just one inmate, school kid or worker to change their reading habits or pick up a book for the first time, then it will have been worth it. My message is pretty simple, ‘If I can do it, anybody can.’

Read the full interview here in Frost Magazine


Grey Man’s Lands was given the opportunity to give away 5 dedicated copies of Andy McNab’s new Nick Stone novel Detonator. The 5 winning questions of his fans are answered here by Andy and the books are in the mail. Happy reading! Of course we too had a few questions for Andy this time…

Hi Andy,

First we want to congratulate you with your Honorary Doctorate of Arts which you received recently from Plymouth University. What does the acknowledgment of your work mean to you?

Andy: As a kid the only doctors I had ever heard of were the ones you went to in you were ill and Doctor Who. This is a perfect example of social mobility, it doesn’t matter where you come from, you just need to give it a go. As I tell school children and prisoners, if I can do it, anyone can.

You’ll be on a South Pole Trek in support of the Reading Agency soon. Tell us about your motivation and we’re wondering – even though your still fit and healthy, is this still a challenge for you?

Andy: I was invited to join the South Pole Expedition. It was just a bunch of mates to begin with, but I thought why not raise some money for a cause that is close to my heart, the Reading Agency, at the same time!

It will be a challenge, but ultimately even with all the Hi Tec kit and scientifically designed foods, you’ve still got to put one foot in front of the other, really quickly. I find it quite easy to switch off and not think about much, so I think I will be OK. Perhaps you should ask me again when I’ve finished it.

We haven’t got a clue where you find the time to write but the new Nick Stone novel is a fact. What can we expect from Detonator?

Andy: This is Nick Stone at his most exposed, with everything that matters to him at risk. Racing across the Swiss alps and down to southern Italy, Nick is against the clock to save everything he holds dear. It hasn’t got the ending you might expect, just to warn you.

Consider us warned! (and scared??)

Shaking that off for a now….we’ve selected 5 questions from your fans. They’re all very excited getting a dedicated copy of Detonator. On behalf of them, thank you! And we’re hoping they’ll let you know what they think of Nicks latest adventure.

1. Question by Richard Joyce
If you had one decision you could go back and change, what would it be?

Andy: I wouldn’t change a thing, there’s no guarantee anything would be better or worse. The fact is that everything is a punt, why would I change anything, I am doing something different and new. Life is full of lumps of shit, it’s just a question of how much you have to eat on the way.

2. Question by Simon Bunkall
What is your list of the top 5 best E&E items anyone could find in their own home?

1) KITCHEN KNIFE – The bigger and sharper the better, for defence and food, and making shelter.
2) BIN LINERS – To use for shelter and for gathering water.
3) 2 LITRE MILK CONTAINERS – For storing and sterilizing water.
4) A WASHING LINE – Erecting shelters and constructing animal traps.
5) A PILLOW – We all need a good night’s sleep!

3. Question by Matthew Rose
Just returned from a backpacking trip in Europe and after riding the regional trains in Italy near Naples it was the most uncomfortable and frightened I’ve been as an adult. My girlfriend and I were confronted numerous times but luckily escaped without any harm. Which area in the World would you be frightened and uneasy to go for fear of being mugged as a tourist?

Andy: It would have to be Colombia purely because you’ve got a society of haves and a society of have nots, and not much in between. It’s also a culture that is naturally violent anyway, and there’s no constructs to dissuade people from doing it. It’s just what goes on.

4. Question by Rick Payne
Having given a very good account of the Op in Gib as an opener to Remote Control are you likely to write a book specifically based upon your various roles in the fight against the IRA once the 30 years are up?

Andy: That’s a good question. The Ireland interest fluctuates hugely. People think it’s far too early to talk about it, or that it’s far too complicated because of all the different factions involved. I did write about the Ireland stuff in Immediate Action, my autobiography. There, got a plug in!
There is film interest in the Gibraltar incident, as I’ve also done a Quick Read, to come out next spring, about it.

5. Question by Kevin Southwell
Having experienced what you have, and could have your time again, would you go for selection again? I also thank you for your time and I wish you a Merry Christmas next month.

Andy: Yes without a doubt. It did two things for me, it kept my army career going (I would have got out if I had failed selection) but more importantly it gave me even more education. The Regiment even sent me to Bristol University for a while.

Thanks as always Andy, we’ll be looking forward to read more about your South Pole adventure and come back safe!
Detonator (Nick Stone 17) is available in hardback and e-book here.

If you would like to support Andy’s South Pole trek to help fight illiteracy take a look here or visit The Reading Agency website to find out more about what they do and to read their latest news.

2015 Andy McNab Reading Journey appeal


Great COUNTDOWN with Andy McNab on the CrimeReview website. We’ll give you number 10…

Ten words to sum up your working life to date …

Andy McNab: “Varied. My life philosophy: Why not give everything a try.”

To read about books, laziness, credit cards and d*ckheads go here and enjoy!


Andy McNab on the latest Tom Buckingham thriller by The Oldie Magazine Recordings on Mixcloud


In Michael Berkeley’s Private Passions Andy McNab reveals the central place of music in his life, and particularly his passion for opera.

Opera, he says, is the only thing that makes him cry: he chooses Wagner, Verdi and Puccini. McNab reveals too his love of the calm reflective music of Gregorian chant, which he first heard sung by the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey, when he was training for the SAS in Herefordshire. He talks movingly about his imprisonment and torture, and about how the particular sounds of that time are burned into his memory: the jangle of keys, the rattle of doors. To escape those dark memories, he chooses one of the most joyful pieces of music ever written: Handel’s Messiah.

One thing I’d love to ask Andy myself again sometime is about him having a ‘silent dinner’ with the Monks of Belmont Abbey. How hard must that have been ?!?

Andy’s Music:


LBC Radio, 15 December 2014

Former SAS sergeant, Andy McNab, spoke to Iain Dale this evening about the Sydney hostage incident.

Drawing on his experience as a special forces soldier, including an incident where he was held captive in Iraq, ex-SAS sergeant, Andy McNab, offered a unique insight into the hostage situation that took place today in Lindt cafe in Sydney.

The hostage situation was ended shortly before Andy joined Iain Dale on the LBC drive time show, and it was still unclear how many casualties or fatalities there were. But based on the information that was coming from Sydney at the time, Mr McNab believed this was a positive outcome.

“Looking at the footage, it’s been a success.”

“Clearly something has gone on during the negotiations where the decision is made that the negotiations are going wrong, will go wrong, maybe one of the casualties is a hostage who got shot and killed by the hostage taker… the mission is to save the hostages, so then they’ve got to go in. And that’s the last resort.”

Andy also explained that any plans to storm a hostage situation have a huge number of factors to consider, from basics like entrances and exits, down to knowing if any of the hostages have medical conditions.

For the hostages themselves though, Mr McNab explained that the intial reaction would have been disbelief, before fear set in, a fear of the unknown. Most people then retreat into themsevles, thinking about family and loved ones.

Click here to listen to  Andy McNab On Sydney Hostage Crisis on LBC Radio

Source: LBC website