If there was one thing Mary had learned in three years in Afghanistan, it was as banal as this: Love and war are a terrible combination. Also: never get into a Chinook helicopter piloted by a drunk member of the royal family. But mainly the love thing.
Mary was as an official war artist, just like everyone else. Due to a British Council error in late 2009 hundreds of artists had been sent to the country to interpret the conflict. During the second Helmand offensive you couldn’t set up a mortar emplacement or sweep a road for mines without tripping over a mixed-media collagist or a site-specific sculptor.