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Project Alpha


About this book:

  • ISBN: 9781904524212 (paperback)

  • Published 2004

  • Price £9.90 + postage

  • 212 pages

  • Illustrated with two maps



About the Book:

PROJECT ALPHA is a tense environmental thriller with spies, greedy oil men and big wall climbing set in the amazing landscape of Greenland. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and will keep you guessing to the end. Retired SAS Major Bronco Lane writes in a clear style bringing life to the plot which has more twists and turns than a falling climber.
Bronco is a man of wide experience who has himself been to the edge and looked into the void. Apart from his distinguished military career all over the world, Bronco also climbed Everest in 1976. Project Alpha, though a novel, is roped together with Bronco's own experiences which bring vivacity and authenticity to this sparkling thriller.

About the Author:

BRONCO Lane was born in 1945 in Manchester, attended the Ullswater Outward Bound School in 1960 and joined Junior Leaders Royal Artillery in 1961. He volunteered for service in 7 Para RHA 1964 and was selected for Army Special Forces in 1967.
Bronco joined the Army Mountaineering Association in 1968 and took part in their expeditions to Axel Heiburg Island Canadian Arctic 1972, Indrassan Kulu Himal India 1973, Nuptse Solu Khumbu Nepal 1975 and Everest Nepal 1976. He climbed in the Canadian Rockies 1978/79 and Mt Kenya 1983.
In 1984 he led an expedition to Everest Tibet and was deputy leader of the Joint Services Everest Nepal 1992. Service awards include the BEM and MM. Bronco was manager of the Oag Mackenzie North Pole attempt, solo and unsupported in 1995 and is currently involved with Mission Antarctica, an environmental clean up of a Russian base and a management training consultancy.

Cover photograph: South Greenland by Michael Hjorth

As someone who has climbed on some of the remotest big walls of the Yukon, and California as well as in the Arctic regions, who has been immersed for days in the technicalities of living life on the vertical, rather than the every day horizontal plane that is normal to us mortals, suffered the rigours that can bring triumph as well as hardship, loss of life and personal recrimination of failure, that are all part of the 'Great Game' of Big Wall climbing, I have never read any account of fact or fiction that made me feel that I was there; that spoke of the motivations that make big wall climbers 'tick'.
Bronco has it all here... I was participating, out on a limb again with scant protection, short of food and drinkable water, willing my knuckles not to bleed so much, and my spirit not to fail. All this... an insider's view, and some descriptive aspects of espionage that must come from personal experience, but then this is a novel... isn't it?
Nigel Gifford OBE

Bronco bets on Alpha
He's studied them, climbed them and lived to tell the tale after conquering the biggest one of all. Now a former SAS soldier and explorer is writing about them in his first novel.
In writing 'Project Alpha', Bronco Lane's objective was to write a fictional story around his much-loved subject of mountaineering.
Using his personal experiences, Bronco spent three years creating a thrilling, fast moving tale of global oil intrigue and 'big wall' mountaineering.
'Project Alpha' was born when Bronco was asked to organise a trip to Greenland for some climbers who wanted to tackle a ferocious perpendicular granite face called Ketil.
"I got the background information and sorted out the logistics but the climbers pulled out and it never happened," said Bronco, who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1976.
So, sitting looking at a file of information on Greenland and having gained inspiration from Frederick Forsyth's 'The Fifth Element', an idea began to form in his mind.
Bronco had previously written a factual history of service mountaineering, which he said, was very, very disciplined. This book was far more enjoyable to write, he added.
The tense environmental thriller contains spies, greedy oil men and serious climbing set in the amazing backdrop of Greenland.
"I also wanted to show that we do have to respect the environment and I can understand about living with nature," Bronco explained.
"It was fantastic to write in experiences that were based on fact and truth. I wanted to give a background to expeditions - it is a journey into the unknown.
"Taking up those challenges is about the self-satisfaction you feel when you achieve something against the odds. The more odds there are the more satisfaction there is."
Now, with book number three in the pipeline - and launching and promoting 'Project Alpha' - Bronco remains extremely busy.
"I'm not saying I'm a writer, but I'm a storyteller - I have learned that from lecturing and promoting mountaineering."
The Hereford Times, November 2004

Project Alpha

Few novels get reviewed in 'The Army Mountaineer' so it is pleasing to review one by one of our best-known members. Having cut his literary teeth with Military Mountaineering Bronco has now turned his hand to fiction and with a very satisfying result. This is a tale of covert oil exploration in South Greenland intertwined with an ascent of one of the vertical walls which abound in that area. However Bronco is not content with just telling a tale - he interweaves a lot of the history of that magical island and an 'idiot's guide' to big wall climbing, including a list of the gear needed at the start of chapter 15!

Like most of us, I have read a lot of climbing novels and I usually cringe at some of the technical inaccuracies introduced by the authors. In this book I could find none - as one would expect from an AMA member. The hero is ex-Royal Marines (but we will let that pass) and the climbing and military dialogue rings very true. Again a plus point for the book.

As I got to the last few pages I began to worry as to how Bronco was going to finish the story. Let me just say that I was almost struck dumb by the subtlety of the story. As I have a cameo part on page 20, I could be accused of bias, but I hope not. The title of the book uses the first letter of the phonetic alphabet so by my reckoning that gives Bronco another 25 books to write! I look forward to The Bravo Link, The Delta Connection and Mike the Mountaineer - or similar titles!

John Muston, Vice-President of the Army Mountaineering Association, review published in The Army Mountaineer


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