Troubador The House in Vienna

Released: 01/12/2013

ISBN: 9781783061785

Format: Paperback

Review this Book

Author Website

The House in Vienna


Philip Mason, a civil aviation expert, takes early retirement and buys a cattle farm in the Highlands of Kenya at the time of Kenya’s independence in 1965. He and his beautiful, fun-loving Austrian wife Maria love one another, their cattle farm and their idyllic surroundings. But fate deals them a cruel hand; their house catches fire and everything is lost. Rather than attempting to rebuild their lives in Kenya, they move to Austria. No one in the world could have imagined the traumatic adventure about to engulf the couple. Having bought a dream apartment in a beautiful 200 year-old mansion, right in the middle of Vienna’s First District, they live there happily for ten years. Then one day, their house suddenly starts vibrating. Due to maintenance neglect, areas of construction weakness become evident – and the house is moving! Will it collapse? Can something be done to save it? And what about the occupants of the nine apartments in the house? What about their characters? Are they reasonable and constructive, are they uncaringly apathetic, are they tricky, even consumed by greed? And what is their reaction when one of them is murdered? In short, what lies behind their façade of decency? As we progress through the remarkably unusual story of The?House in?Vienna, we learn a lot about the history, culture and architecture of Vienna, as well as of several parts of Austria. There are also excursions to Communist Viet Nam and the former USSR. The book will appeal to fans of literary, historical, thriller and expat fiction.

In the last ten years, I have written two books: Safe Skies (Adult Fiction, 2005) and The Guardian Angel (Non Fiction, 1996).

Safe Skies Adult Fiction
The reasons I write about the Third World and/or civil aviation development are, first, these are fields in which I have had a good deal of experience (I lived in Third World countries for 20 years and visited more than 50 countries for professional work), second, no country can develop effectively (that is materially and socially) without a safe air transportation system and, third, although about 1.6 billion people board an aircraft annually, in fact most have little idea of how civil aviation functions, especially in some countries of the Third World. And if they have a normal, lively interest in what is going on close to their lives, the range of what might be termed readable literature tends, unfortunately, not to be of good quality – sometimes it is based on a degree of ignorance or possibly on misinformation.

Why have I written Safe Skies? Basically, I wanted my readers to have the benefit of a good story. What could be more contrastingly dramatic than a story which alternates between the exotic, little known Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan and the sophisticated city of Chicago? I also committed myself to the required research to ensure the narrative would be authoritative. I set out to address a wide readership; my book is ‘For All Those Who Board An Aircraft’. With feedback received from housewives, to a CEO of Flight Safety, to university professors, and to the director of a literary festival, my aim is, apparently, being realized. Please see the reviews in the section below.

My moment of decision to start writing Safe Skies came in the late nineties. I had just read two books – one an aviation novel, the other an African travelogue. Both authors were good, with excellent, strong publishers. My problem was the incredible depth of ignorance of the aviation novelist and the descriptive inaccuracies of the travel writer (I strongly doubt that the author had actually travelled as he claimed to have done). My reaction was, ‘Is this the best the publishing industry can do – why do, apparently, other priorities take precedence over knowledge and truthful representation?’ After completing my manuscript, I was fortunate to find Troubador Publishing, certainly for me the perfect publisher in all respects.

So now we have Safe Skies. Safe Skies is fiction. But the background to the story is authentic, and the knowledge described and explained is accurate; the background substance has been praised for ‘its accuracy in every detail, something rarely found.’ As an eminent university professor has written, "This is a novel. It is not a textbook… whatever our role in life, there is an enormous amount to learn from its pages… Colin Everard... has written a masterpiece."

Safe Skies has been described as ‘riveting’, ‘wonderfully thrilling narrative’, and as a novel ‘that should keep any reader on tenterhooks.’

The Guardian Angel – Non Fiction
In 1996 my ‘remarkable’ The Guardian Angel was published. The first part of the book recounts how techniques were developed and successfully applied to overcome the scourge of the ravaging desert locust in Africa. I wrapped the true story in accounts of personal experiences. The second part 'Wider Horizons' is devoted to international civil aviation development, especially challenges which have to be faced by the Third World in developing and maintaining safe civil aviation. The last chapter is called, ‘A Search For Reality - Truth and Progress in the Third World.’ It was in this chapter that, ten years ago, I wrote: ‘History has taught us that where the gap between rich and poor is wide, trouble awaits us around the corner’. Yes, unfortunately, look at our world of today, ten years on!


Some extracts of review comments follow:

Forbes Management Book Club, U.S.A.
Member Book Reviews
"There has been plenty of very positive feedback on this title. It varies from 'wonderful' to 'fantastic'. Amazon UK gives it four stars. Enjoy! But remember, this is adult fiction.'

Housewife, Austria
"….A truly excellent book – don’t stop writing!"

Housewife, Austria
"You have written a marvellous book. It is very well researched and full of the most interesting information. How could you possibly have found all this detail? It is extraordinary. I want to congratulate you."

Professor of Business Management, University of Nottingham, England
"….a pretty fast-paced novel… When Everard does talk about the details of making flying safe for you and I, it’s very obvious he knows what he is talking about, and it’s pretty educational stuff. It’s a very human book too, with passion, love, deceit, tragedy, joys and disappointments all making the story gripping and true to life…. Everard describes the pressures and politics of big organisations with such detail, you know he has been there. And that holds equally for his sensitive descriptions of life in the mountainous, bucolic kingdom of Bhutan… an unusual and fascinating novel with twists and turns that should keep any reader on tenterhooks."

British Ambassador to Austria – John Macgregor, CVQ
(Introductory remarks at the Safe Skies publication party, held at the British Bookshop, Vienna, on 17 May 2005)
"I have always liked novels which have a point. Colin Everard has written a novel that has a very important point. He manages to weave into this riveting novel the whole idea, over a long period of time, of the development of the concept of air safety. At first glance, this may seem to be a combination of curious themes, but it works very well. Bhutan is the main place which figures in this novel. The book has inspired me to look at the later-life possibility of visiting Bhutan. I would like to pay tribute to Colin because he is a bridge-builder – a bridge-builder between fiction and fact, between technology and readability, and he is a bridge-builder between peoples. He has lived in numerous places; one way and another he has spent a lot of his life building bridges between peoples – and this comes through in his book, which I thoroughly recommend."

Chief Executive, United Kingdom Flight Safety Committee
(Extracts from a letter addressed to the publishers)
"The technical content of this story is accurate in every detail, something seldom found…. The writer skilfully interweaves a delightful story of management power, arrogance and intrigue with passion and love… it was at times difficult to put the book aside."

Schoolmaster, England
"…I was worried about Tashi, but was glad that what might have remained a marshmallow character became a man of steel at the interview between ‘good and evil’. It is a wonderful achievement..:

Professor of Transportation Logistics, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration - Austria
University of Applied Sciences, Department of Transport, Erfurt – Germany
"…what is reiterated in various ways throughout the book, is that there are rules to be followed which serve to enrich our daily lives… So why do we so often feel we ‘know better’ and ignore these simple rules, and in consequence complicate our lives – and frequently pay the price? He has the gift of succinct explanation covering complex subjects. The author’s accounts of the decision-making process, including its abuse, can be applied to the whole of mankind. To cite an example, we observe a chief pilot under Tashi’s watchful eye…. the pilot decides not to follow the rules properly. The pilot seems to be in a position of power. But the reader knows better; by now he knows that if the rules are not followed, disaster looms. And when the worst actually happens, we are all surprised! In a much wider sense, does mankind learn from its mistakes? Or is disaster looming? The author’s analogy is clear enough… This is a novel. It is not a text book…. But whether we manage or are managed, whatever our role in life, there is an enormous amount to learn from its pages… Colin Everard has written a novel that uniquely rises high above the general mass of sameness which pervades the globe. He has written a masterpiece."

You may also be interested in the link below.

Vienna Times

….I must tell you how much I enjoyed The House In Vienna. I found myself glued to the book and once I started reading it, I could not put it down. The book is very well written and I enjoyed the plot, as well as all the interesting anecdotes and takeaways. I learnt so much about Vienna and its history, which I would not have found in a regular travel book. I cannot wait to visit Vienna, especially the cafes and have a cup of mélange. The House In Vienna will surely be one of my favourite books. I immensely enjoyed reading it and wish the book great success. I am sure the book will climb to the bestsellers list in no time.

by Academic, U.S.A.

5 out of 5 stars (Amazon). Viennese History and Intrigue!

A murder mystery, a travelogue, a lesson in culture and history and a romance story – all rolled into one. The author makes the case that old buildings need to be maintained – and that failing to do so may result in disastrous consequences! The characters come alive as they deal with the various events of the book, which include moving from one continent to another, dealing with a house that is crumbling, and trying to solve the murder. The House in Vienna is a dynamic, intricate thriller which will keep you turning the pages – it’s also a beautifully written account of life in East Africa and especially Austria with ‘side trips’ to Vietnam and the former Soviet Union.

by University Professor, U.S.A.

4 out of 5 stars (Amazon). I enjoyed the book very much.

It had an interesting plot and was also like a travelogue for three different countries. I especially enjoyed the history tour of Vienna. It was a love story, mystery, and education all rolled into one.

by Housewife, England

5 out of 5 stars (Amazon). A riveting book that takes you on a private tour of Vienna.

I like travelling and I've been quite a few times to Vienna but reading this book unveiled a new dimension. I was so absorbed by the story that I could not put the book down, and was thrilled to learn so much about this fascinating city as the plot unfolds.
The book is very well written, the plot is captivating and no travel guide will ever let you see the city in this way.

by Financial Analyst, Germany

5.0 out of 5 stars (Amazon). A thrilling romp taking in romance, history, travel and a spine tingling crime!

This book is an enjoyable romp and thriller, a witness to the author's obvious love of both east Africa and Austria, and a passing interest in countries that struggle with the collapse of Communist rule - Viet Nam and the former USSR.

With a focus on the title's eponymous building, the book took us on a journey from the dusty plains of east Africa through the chilly streets of Vienna, with a nod to the spy-filled city of the 1950s and 60s to an unexpected conclusion.

This book would be a great read for someone interested in thrillers, travelogue and romance spanning continents lives and loves. A crumbling building and vicious crime set the framework for the book.

The author makes a strong case for old buildings to be properly maintained and loved, with everyone benefiting from owners to tenants.

Central European cities such as Vienna have an air of mystery, distilled from centuries of hosting political, cultural and artistic people and events. This book gives an insight into the modern day intrigue that exists within walls of some very beautiful buildings, peeling away levels of facade and exposing hidden motives of a disparate bunch of characters`.

by Journalist, England

…. I could not put the book down! I was glued to it. It has an amazing story. I had no idea what maintenance neglect of a house can lead to. It is so well written….

by Canadianreader

….I would like to say how much I enjoyed The House In Vienna. The book is not only action packed; this a great lesson on the history of Austria and the architecture of Vienna….

by University Professor, USA

Colin Everard

From a young age I have enjoyed writing; and especially during the last ten years I have been greatly supported and encouraged by good, solid feedback reviews and comments. During my earlier professional career I wrote two short (100 pages) books and had 28 articles published – many were translated into four languages. For example, for one of my technical innovations I was published by McGraw Hill. Since the early nineties I have written various articles on disparate subjects.

In an article I wrote a few years ago, in order to establish my credentials with my readers, I began with the question, ‘Who am I?’ The answer: I am an ordinary sort of Englishman. I am driven by a desire to do a bit of good in an increasingly divided and complex world. I am a pragmatic realist. I have no time for extremes. Deep down, I have a strong sense of humour; this is usually an asset, but can be misunderstood, especially by people who take themselves (too?) seriously. During my professional career I enjoyed my work and found it rewarding, even if at times life could be a bit tough and my work took me to some strange, sometimes unpleasant, places.

At the age of 21 I decided to devote my life to help improve, in a practical way, the lot of others who may be less privileged. This would be based on compassion (never condescension), mutual respect, an understanding of cultural differences, and persevering, focused hard work.

I went to work in Africa and joined the battle against the desert locust scourge, a ravaging grasshopper which devoured crops and caused country-wide famine and consequent starvation. I worked mainly in remote, sparsely populated, desolate, semi-desert areas of Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya. Often I had to work for months with the assistance of only three or four Somalis (I learned to speak Somali fluently); inevitably, sometimes I found myself in dangerous situations. After several years, the main thrust of our work switched from ground operations to aerial reconnaissance and spraying. So I took a flying licence.

This was followed by another 10 years’ work, first, administering a sleeping sickness research set-up (500 staff) in Idi Amin’s Uganda; sleeping sickness is a killing disease which attacks the nervous system. Second, I specialized in logistics – this culminated in a comprehensive plan of logistics reorganization for public services covering Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. I directed the successful implementation of the agreed plan.

From the seventies to the nineties, based in Canada, I specialized in civil aviation development cooperation in the Third World; my primary focus was Asia and the Pacific. About halfway through this 20 years’ period I ensured I was current by attending a post-graduate intensive course in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Air Transportation Planning and Economics. Although I retired in the nineties, from time to time I am asked for my views on various Third World issues, which I give with pleasure. I also deliver guest lectures.

My wife, Emy, is Austrian and we have been happily married for over 40 years. We have four wonderfully successful daughters, who live in Canada, France and the United States. Emy and I live in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.

Now I am ‘free’ to have a game of golf and to enjoy the cultural life of Vienna. Above all, I am free to write!

Colin Everard

Author Colin Everard at the launch party for Safe Skies
  • Buy as a printed
  • £8.99

  • 7 customer reviews
    Currently out of stock
Also by Colin Everard / Related Books