Interview with BBC Radio Suffolk
TWO MUNICH NOVELS
Is there room for two novels on the same subject? An interesting question which arises with the simultaneous publication of new fiction about Munich – mine story MUNICH - THE MAN WHO SAID NO!(now on sale) and that of best selling thriller writer Robert Harris (MUNICH on the 21st)
In this instance the novels use the same event – when Mr C went off to meet Herr H at Munich – but in every other respect they’re quite different takes on what was effectively the world’s first Summit meeting.
His plot entails two friends involved on opposite sides during the four days of the Munich negotiations with themes of secrecy and betrayal.
My story concentrates on one man desperate to stop the appeasement of Hitler. His intervention to try and prevent the pact being signed ends with him being “disappeared”.
The story then progresses to a mystery about what happens to him afterwards: does he survive? Does he escape? His granddaughter follows the trail.
I’m really excited that my first novel is now on sale. It’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell and reflects my fascination for events of the recent past. Those big stories within living memory, the current events of yesteryear.
As a small boy I was in awe of my grown-up uncles. I used to ask them about their experiences. What was it like to be shipwrecked? What was it like to be captured by the enemy?
Of course, this was the wartime generation, phlegmatic and retiring. They just laughed off my questions, so I went on my own voyage of discovery, digging into the why and the how, reading up on the big questions of war and peace. That’s how I came upon the incredible episode of Chamberlain flying off to Munich to talk peace to Hitler, one of the key stepping stones leading up to the catastrophe that was the Second World War.
The result is my novel Munich – out now as an ebook and as a paperback in February.
Thrills and uncertainty, lies and obfuscation, fury and frustration…that’s the Brexit story as it is fed to us day-to-day by blustering politicians and by journalists trying to make sense of it all.
To the average punter, excitement over the issue tends to be stifled by bafflement over the sheer complexity of what sounded so simple - we just quit, right? Er, no.
David Laws’s fictional day-by-day parallel of Brexit’s progress takes us into a higher realm of political skulduggery, right up to an assassination plot.
Exit Day is a thrilling, perfectly contemporary ‘What if…?’ tale. Conspiracy theorists, form a queue right here.
After a scene-setter in Leipzig at the time of the 1989 collapse of Soviet dominance in eastern Europe, Laws moves to March 2, 2019, 27 days before Brexit. Then follows a chronology of events through to the ticking minutes of March 29 itself and beyond. The shortening gaps between parts of the story tend to engage the reader ever more urgently.
An anti-tank missile blasts the front door of No. 10. Journalist Harry Topp is on to a huge story about a ring of spies plotting to sabotage Exit Day, but he is out of favour after a bust-up with Fleet Street bosses and no one will listen. He finds a pistol in his kitchen. His lover goes missing.
This is a must-read in the run-up to severance (will it really happen?) from our European chums, superbly layered with the excitement missing from the real-life daily record of the Government’s torment over the conflicts and confusion of Brexit. Read it before March 29.
by Stephen Wood
Hold on to your flying helmets, we have a new hero. Ace journalist Harry Topp will stop at nothing in his quest for the truth — and that includes crashing his Tiger Moth aeroplane in very sensitive areas.
At the time of writing there has been little or no fact about Britain’s exit from the European Union. So how about a little exciting fiction instead? This story of treachery has thrills galore, involving deadly East German Stasi agents who will stop at nothing to thwart Brexit.
Harry, despite having been rejected by his employers at The Globe newspaper, proves he is on top of his game. Using his vintage Triumph Bonneville motorcycle he chases around the English countryside fearlessly seeking the truth. This leads him to the innermost corridors of the British establishment including Downing Street and Chequers.
Added to this intoxicating cocktail of intrigue is Harry’s former lover Erika who is tied up in the web of deceit and presents him with a list of Stasi agents who are plying their undercover trade in Britain. Danger lurks at every step.
This cleverly written book is a real page turner which you will find hard to put down. But be warned — the excitement may keep you awake at night. Don’t have nightmares!
by Alastair McIntyre
David Laws’ latest thriller could hardly be more contemporary, being structured around the final weeks of the Brexit negotiations. As the politicians (some of them only thinly disguised) manoeuvre and posture, an elaborate conspiracy is being hatched to halt Britain’s exit from the EU.
Harry Topp, a former Wapping journalist, now mainly reporting from his small-town courtroom, has maintained some contact with his old newspaper “The Globe” and often uses his aeroplane, to fly to assignments further afield.
After his own home is vandalised for no obvious reason, he agrees to help his German former lover, who has been terrified by a sinister group of operatives from the old East German security services.
So begins a fast moving story in which “our” journalist, struggling with his dead father’s injunction to “do the right thing” finds strength both physical and mental to take on the security services and to try to expose the incumbent of one of the great offices of state.
Although we see parts of the action through the eyes of various participants, Laws develops Topp’s personality furthest as he struggles with intrigue and betrayal.
How close Laws’ political analysis comes to reality remains to be seen as the nation lurches towards Exit Day – but given recent parliamentary events, much of it is highly credible. It is certainly an enjoyable read.
by Tim Mobbs
A fascinating opening which leaves the reader wondering what possible link it has to Brexit Day. The author then takes us on a breathless ride through twists and unforeseen turns as Brexit day looms. This pacey intriguing story with a fascinating topical presence deserves to be read, but don’t be fooled. It is a good old fashioned spy story with links to the cold war, and not a political saga. Can our slightly naïve hero Harry save the day and the Prime minister, or will the dark forces have their way and leave Britain a troubled country? Then just when you think you have got a handle on the plot, the final twist gives the tale an unexpected kick in the teeth. Read it soon.
by Richard Fuller
I’ve been a national newspaper journalist for many years but have always nursed an ambition to write novels about my favourite historical period - before, during and after the two world wars. I hope my present effort is the first of many.
Henry Porter, Robert Harris, Robert Goddard, Philip Kerr, Ken Follett and Jack Higgins are some of the authors I’ve been inspired by. The novel itself arose out of my life-long sense of amazement that Neville Chamberlain and the British appeasers couldn’t see how they were being fooled by Hitler and that their actions were making war more likely - not less.
Everyone has to start somewhere - and my first “journalistic” job was operating an old-fashioned plug-in telephone switchboard for a City of London financial weekly newspaper.
When I’d cut off one too many calls and they’d sent me on my way, I managed to find reporting jobs around the London suburbs for weekly papers at Hayes, Southall, Harrow and Wembley. This was followed by sub-editing at an evening paper in Shropshire. Next step, the Daily Express in Manchester, and finally London.
I also managed to fit in writing and producing magazines on film, medicine, travel and finance. Some of the highlights were interviews with Jack Higgins, Marti Caine and Robert Ludlum. Other obsessions: rambling, gliding, flying, railways, locomotives.