Kim Hughes is the most highly decorated bomb disposal operator serving in the British Army. He was awarded the George Cross in 2009 following a grueling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan during which he defused 119 improvised explosive devices, survived numerous Taliban ambushes and endured a close encounter with the Secretary of State for Defence. The back drop to Painting the Sand will be the Afghan War, the conflict where the cold courage of the bomb disposal operator rose to national prominence. No other field of warfare offers the chance of a single individual to come so close to his enemy and fight out a battle of wits where losing can means death. This is one of the best memoirs that will come out of a ten-year struggle to defeat a hidden, and enduring, enemy.