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
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.