It's been a busy time since my WW2 spy thriller Break in Communication was published a year ago. I've been writing my next novel 'The Forbidden Zone' which is about diamond smuggling in Africa at the start of WW2. It's another action spy thriller and I plan to have that published next year. Another book has come to the fore in the last few months. I have been researching the WW1 exploits of my maternal Grandfather Private Herman Alfred Pike 20652 of "A" Company, 6th Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment. I have his Service Record and cross referencing this with the Regimental Diary I have created a factual story of his exploits. It's so detailed and so hair-raising that I plan to publish it next year with the title of 'Mud, Blood and Bayonet'. His war ended when he was shot in the head, but happily he survived. If he hadn't I wouldn't be writing this!
In my WW2 spy thriller, Break in Communication, the first chapter introduces the Nazi Agent at Bristol Temple Meads Station. This iconic station designed by British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel opened on 31 August 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington. Being strategically located it soon became a hub for railway lines to the Midlands, South Wales and Southwest England.
Today Temple Meads Station is among the busiest and fastest g...rowing rail interchanges in the country. The line from Paddington is being electrified and by 2020 it is projected to handle some 15 million passengers a year.
The remodelled Temple Meads Station will be the at the centre of a new £800 million Bristol Enterprise Zone, which will include a 12,000 seat arena, retail outlets, hotels and housing. What a difference to when the Nazi Agent caught the 4.15 pm to Penzance on a bitterly cold Monday 15th December 1941!
If you want to read the first chapter on line go to:
and double click the book cover. Enjoy.
For me one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing is the back ground research. With my next novel focussing on diamond smuggling I am learning about all things diamonds and came across a photo of this ultra rare violet diamond.
In 2015 they discovered a 9.17 carat rough diamond that has been cut to produce the 2.83 carat polished oval shaped gem, known as The Argyle Violet. It will be the centrepiece of the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.
If you want it you'll need to break out the piggy bank!!! The value per carat will likely be close to a world record.
Thank you to 'My Cornwall Magazine' for their review of my spy thriller Break in Communication. It's in the February / March 2016 edition.
I'm delighted to say that my spy thriller Break in Communication is now on sale at the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum book shop. Thanks to Sue Chappell for her help and support in making this happen.
The main plot is set around a Nazi raid on the Telegraph Station so hopefully visitors will get inspired by their visit to the underground museum (I certainly did) and then see the book on sale!
If you find yourself in London on a rainy day you might want to visit the Churchill War Rooms in SW1A 2AQ. This was his nerve centre during WW2. If you do go please either book or go early, it's very popular. It evokes a time of espionage, double-cross and stoicism. When I visited I expected to see Churchill walk around the corner at any moment! This is where I introduce Lucy in my spy thriller Break in Communication.
In my WW2 spy thriller Break in Communication the Germans plan to send the mighty Battleship Tirpitz to Northern Norway to attack the Arctic Convoys. The Allies were sending essential military supplies to Russia enabling them to reinforce the Eastern Front. The Germans were intent on stopping this.
In Chapter 18 the Norwegian Resistance spy on the newly constructed refuelling facilities in Faettenfjord and Beitstadfjord both off-shoots of Trondheim Fjord. This I based up on true events and the picture below shows the mighty Battleship Tirpitz in Faettenfjord in 1942.
Penzance is the location in Break in Communication where Clara Chenoweth was shopping in the days before Christmas 1940 and the Germans bombed the railway station. Today we find it hard to imagine that they bombed this beautiful town and many others along the south coast of England.
One WW2 memory comes from Glenys Goldsworthy who was aged 11 at the time. "We were walking along by Penzance railway station and heard the drone of a plane. We looked up and saw what I thought were leaflets falling down. Next thing a soldier came running out of the public house opposite the station and pulled me and my sister inside saying, 'Quick, they are bombs!' and sure enough they were!"
Clara had a close shave but Glenys and her sister had a real-life one!!! The inside of the station hasn't changed much from this old photo.
My WW2 spy thriller Break in Communication is set around Porthcurno Telegraph Station. In the book the escape tunnel that the German commandoes tried to access really does exist and you can climb the steps to a lookout point with beautiful views of the Porthcurno valley. The lookout is where I imagined the sandbagged gun emplacement that was attacked at the start of the action.
If you're on holiday in West Cornwall this summer a trip to the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is a must. The kids will love it, and you can buy a copy of Break in Communication in the shop as well!
On 20 March 1912, the collier City of Cardiff was sailing to her home port from Le Havre. She tried to round Lands End in a severe gale and was forced back towards Porthcurno. Unfortunately for her the wind shifted and she was driven on to the rocks of Nanjizal Bay. All the crew, two wives and a two year old child were rescued by Breeches Buoy.
Nanjizal Bay is the setting for the German commando U-Boat landing and pick-up in my spy thriller Break in Communication. This does not have the same happy ending!!!
My first history book, Mud, Blood and Bayonet is due to be released on 1 Jan 2018. It is a history of the 6th Dorsetshire Regiment in 1918, day by day, for them the bloodiest year of the war.