Headline has acquired world-leading chemical weapons and counter-terrorism expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon's "gripping" memoir, Chemical Warrior.
Senior commissioning editor Fiona Crosby acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. Sarah Harvey at Curtis Brown is handling translation rights. Chemical Warrior will be published by Headline Non-Fiction in hardback on 3rd September 2020 for £20.
The synopsis reads: “For thirty years, Hamish has served and volunteered in conflict zones around the world. As the army's foremost chemical weapons expert, he built a unique first-hand understanding of how to prevent attacks and train doctors on the frontline—saving countless lives in the process. Despite facing extraordinary personal danger, Hamish has unearthed evidence of multiple chemical attacks in Syria and continues to advise the government at the highest level, including after the 2018 Novichok poisoning in Salisbury. Lifting the lid on Hamish's unique world of battlefield expertise and humanitarian work, Chemical Warrior is a thrilling story of bravery and compassion.”
Bretton-Gordon said: "The 100-year taboo on the use of chemical weapons has been well and truly broken in recent years on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and on the serene streets of Salisbury. For those without morals or scruples, chemical weapons are brilliantly effective weapons—so it’s more important than ever that we understand them. I hope that this book about my personal experiences and a life working in the shadows helps to do just that."
Crosby said: “I’m immensely proud to be publishing Hamish’s unique memoir. His story of fighting for civilians caught in the crossfire is truly inspirational but also makes for addictive reading as he reveals the daring missions and near-death encounters he has faced throughout his extraordinary career."
During his 23-year career in the British Army, Bretton-Gordon served as a commanding officer of the UK’s joint chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment and NATO’s rapid reaction CBRN battalion. He is co-founder and director of "Doctors Under Fire" with Professor David Nott, where he helps civilians with the threat from chemical weapons, and advises the UK Government on CBRN—including the recent Novichok poisoning in Salisbury. He frequently appears in global media as an expert commentator, has several academic posts and in 1991 briefly held the world press-up record.