An 81-year-old former commissioned officer in the British Army’s Parachute Regiment, now enjoying his retirement in the Algarve, is promoting his debut novel ‘It Could Just Happen’.
The book was launched last year just before the outbreak of Covid-19. But as Robert Perryment told the Resident this week, the pandemic has had a considerable impact on the book’s promotional campaign and even forced the cancellation of the book’s launch event, which was planned for March 2020 in London, just as the virus was spreading across Europe.
Now, with the launch of the novel’s new audiobook version, he’s hoping to revive the book’s promotional campaign.
A thriller at heart, the 275-page novel tackles a wide range of subjects from terrorism to love as well as the state of democracies around the world.
The “sweeping narrative” spans four decades and takes readers from the highlands of Scotland to the war-torn Middle East, with the central story focusing on a terrorist plot to destroy London’s Houses of Parliament as well as the lives of two childhood friends raised in the same self-sufficient community.
While poetry has always been his “first love”, this was Robert’s first attempt at writing a full-fledged novel.
“The reason I was drawn to the idea of this book is that there is a general feeling of uncertainty around the world about how we promote and run our democracies as we emerge from the Trump era in the US,” he told us. “There’s a feeling that politicians are simply not doing their best.
“I wanted to tell a story about another way of creating a democracy,” Robert said, adding that the novel, which is inspired by many of his life experiences, even explores how a country would be run “without politicians”.
As he explained, he hopes the novel is “gripping” for readers but also makes them “think”.
The author completed the book while living in the Algarve, which he moved to around three years ago to enjoy his retirement.
Born in London at the outbreak of World War Two, Robert started his selection for the Parachute Regiment when he was seventeen and a half years old in 1957.
By the time he was 18, he was a junior NCO (non-commissioned officer) and in active service with the 2nd Battalion in Cyprus and Jordan. After returning to the UK, Robert passed a War Office Selection Board (WOSB) and, after a spell at Mons Officer Cadet School, was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
He lived in many different parts of the world throughout his adult life, exploring several careers along the way including launching an investment and insurance conglomerate in Africa and a financial magazine in France.
Robert also lived in the highlands of Scotland as well as near Cambridge before deciding to settle in the Algarve for his retirement.
While more writing (as well as a podcast focusing on democracy and an autobiography) could be on the cards for the future, for now he is focusing more on learning Portuguese, enjoying his fishing boat in the Ria Formosa estuary and continuing to train his new pet dog.
‘It Could Just Happen’ is available on Amazon Kindle and Audible.
By MICHAEL BRUXO