Camp Scoundrel is the latest comedy novel to be released by popular British author David Luddington.
For his many fans, this book follows closely his distinctive style of British Comedy and should further establish his position as one of the top comedy writers of the moment. For those yet to discover this author, Camp Scoundrel is certainly not a bad place to start as it is rich with those oddball characters and quirky situations which have brought him to such prominence in his field.
The story follows the plight of newly discharged Special Forces soldier, Michael Purdey, who, in a fit of anger at the Benefits System, hacks into the Minister of Benefits private bank account and deletes his substantial personal wealth. As a strike for injustice, the attempt fails miserably and Michael is brought in front of a judge for sentencing. It is here that the plot really starts as the judge decides to put Michael’s supposed skills to use and a prison sentence is suspended on condition that Michael leads a group of offenders on a survival course in Remote Spain as part of their rehabilitation.
The twist is, Michael actually knows nothing about survival training as his glowing army records are the result of his hacking skills and nothing to do with his ability to live off the land.
Forced to make the best of their situation, the group eventually decide that the only way to survive is to employ those very skills which resulted in their current predicament.
The comedy flows gently and organically from the situations and the quirky individuals involved and for those new to this author, the humour is reminiscent of Wodehouse or Douglas Adams at their best.
One of the appeals of this author is the gentle nature of his comedy. Eschewing the unkind or crude humour of many of his contemporaries, Luddington pursues a style of writing which you wouldn’t be ashamed to admit to your ageing grandmother to enjoying. With nods to the Ealing Comedies as well as the Carry On movies or TV output such as Only Fools & Horses or Dad’s Army, Camp Scoundrel feels at once both familiar and cuttingly up to date. One of the enduring appeals of this author is his ability to combine the gentle comedy with subtle strikes at social injustice and Camp Scoundrel is no different. On the face, it can simply be read as a very funny British Comedy and the ideal companion to one’s deckchair and a glass of wine on a sunny afternoon. However, not far beneath the surface, Luddington brings his aim firmly on the way society treats its most vulnerable members and in this case, especially those returning from active conflict zones.
Luddington has been carving a position in the top tier of the comedy writers active today with the same quiet persistence which so encapsulates his style and is now regarded as one of the best in the field. Camp Scoundrel certainly looks set to enhance this position and is to be recommended to anybody wanting a good laugh without resorting to the profundity or victim orientated humour which seemed so prevalent in recent years.