Martyn Burke



Martyn Burke works in a multitude of worlds, moving between novels, films, and documentaries. He has published six highly acclaimed novels, been nominated for Emmys, as well as Director’s and Writer’s Guild awards for his feature and television films. He has made award-winning television and theatrical documentaries including the Academy Award-short listed Under Fire: Journalists in Combat, and co-wrote the classic comedy film Top Secret. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Toronto.



Music For Love or War

Comic ironies and absurdities abound in this love story set against the thunderous clash of civilizations. 

In the blistered landscape of Afghanistan, a small unit of US soldiers is dependent on the Internet connection to Constance, a Hollywood psychic who provides advice on tactics in love and war. 

Two men in particular seek her out.  Danny, a sniper who has been up close and personal with his Taliban prey, tortures them by blaring the music of Liberace from the mountain peaks.  He also displays a giant portrait of Liberace prancing in a white sequined costume, bringing a bizarre bit of Las Vegas to the Afghan killing fields, and enraging the Taliban. Danny’s obsession is finding his high school sweetheart Ariana whose terrorist father married her off to a brutal warlord. Can Constance help?

His friend Hank has fled to the Afghan war to distance himself from the decadent world of Hollywood which has swallowed his beloved in its rapacious drug and celebrity culture. Constance receives them when they use their home-leave to visit her. 

This also is the story of a friendship forged through trials of love and danger. Will Hank and Danny survive and prevail? Can they rescue the women they love? Music For Love or War is a soaring love story and a literary tour-de-force.

Martyn Burke knows war-riddled Afghanistan where he has filmed documentaries. He knows Los Angeles where he lives and works. And he knows about terrorist families based in multi-cultural Toronto, his second home. In 2012, his feature documentary Under Fire: Journalists in Combat won a Peabody and was short-listed for an Academy Award. He is now writing a pilot for an HBO mini-series based on his 1984 novel The Commissar’s Report.  


Praise follows on next page.