Troubador Against the Tide

Released: 01/10/2012

eISBN: 9781780887425

Format: eBook

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Against the Tide


It’s July 1939 and even though Poland is trapped between Adolph Hitler and Uncle Joe Stalin, everyone hopes war can be avoided. On the island of Jersey, eighteen-year-old Jack Renouf is forbidden from associating with his own Uncle Fred because of his dangerous Communist views and salacious liaison with his Spanish mistress. Caught in his own velvet trap between outrageous Caroline and secretive Rachel, Jack doesn’t pay too much attention to international affairs especially during this glorious summer when, despite the darkening horizon, everyone is in holiday mood.

In his final days at school, Jack is focussed on breaking the one-minute barrier for the 100 yards freestyle so that he can get into the British swimming team for the 1940 Helsinki Olympics. Desperate for those last few seconds, he listens to Miko, an enigmatic Jewish refugee who works as a waiter in a local hotel but claims to have trained the Romanian water polo team for the Berlin Olympics. He persuades Jack to try some new techniques, which he promises will bring him success. But everyone else at the swimming club is suspicious of Miko who always wears the same white tee shirt and never seems to swim.

An arrogant Dutchman on holiday in the island bullies Jack during a water polo match and his carefully constructed sang froid boils away as he retaliates viciously and has to suffer the disciplinary consequences.

Suddenly, Jack is in conflict with everyone and his well ordered life spins away as he is sucked into a conspiracy involving the island’s government, smuggled industrial diamonds, and two ruthless mercenaries seeking to retrieve them at any cost.

The Last Boat
This is the sequel to Against The Tide and will be published in July 2103

The Last Boat begins with a close-up account of the greatest maritime disaster in British history when the British Expeditionary Force lost more troops in ten minutes than it had in the previous nine months.
The news was so shocking that Churchill suppressed it and the report on the event is sealed until the year 2040.

But this is not an investigation into this tragic event but the beginning of a journey for a group of young people who have gone to help but find themselves trapped and fleeing the Nazi blitzkrieg as it rampages through France.
At the same time that the Luftwaffe is strafing the survivors of their bombing another shipment, so important that it could have changed the outcome of the war, is trying to escape from France.

The tragedy was the sinking of HMT Lancastria
The shipment was world’s entire supply of D2O or ‘heavy water’ without which research into splitting the atom would have been impossible.

Prising apart the floorboards of history, The Last Boat links these two events as Jack Renouf and his friends try to escape the Germans and help this cargo to safety.

But safety is an illusion and the story culminates in the bombing of Jersey on 28th June and leaves Jack in desperate need of another Last Boat to escape.

The narrative voice is Jack Renouf’s, whom readers might have met in Against The Tide. He is a year older but only a little wiser. Through the immediacy of his first person perspective you are compelled to witness events which cannot leave you unmoved. ‘Muscular authenticity’ was the verdict of one reviewer while others have described Jack’s account as ‘intense, exciting, absorbing and frightening’

Against The Tide
Another 5 Star Amazon Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Against The Tide - a book to be savoured 11 Dec 2012
By Mrs. C. A. Nicholls
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Having spent several years in Jersey in the 1960s and 70s, I initially ordered this for a tale set in the island I love, having seen a review in the local Jersey paper. Then getting impatient for the book to arrive in Australia, I downloaded the Kindle version. From the start this was obviously going to be a really meaty story with a wealth of diverse characters that would take time to get to know. Ten books sound just about right! With the introduction in a polo pool and the characters coming at you thick and fast, I found there was not one page that I could afford to gloss over. There is no waffle, and every page a delight as the scene is meticulously set during the build up to the biggest upheaval in the history of the island. For those who know Jersey the landmarks are recognisable and authentic; for those who don't, they are not overwhelmed with blatant 'in island' knowledge.

Jack Renouf's impulsive and late teens, risk taking behaviour makes for very fast moving action. You feel every embarrassment as he deals with his emotional turmoil with the two young girls in his life, yet at the same time being surprised at how capable, daring and brave this 18 year old can be. This journey is going to be fun.

The book is a much anticipated pleasure to read. Definitely a 5 star rating book to be savoured.

Please look at Against The Tide on the UK Amazon site for more 5 star reviews:

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'Against The Tide + John F Hanley'

Against The Tide was officially launched in Jersey at the Havre-des-Pas swimming pool at 13:30 on Saturday 15th September.
As the novel starts in the middle of a water polo match, the local water polo team put on an exhibition.

The author was photographed and interviewed by the Jersey Evening Post and BBC Radio Jersey.

A feature appeared in the JEP on Saturday 22nd September and the book is on prominent display in Waterstones in Jersey.
The next launch will be in Cornwall after the author is interviewed by the West Briton.

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John F Hanley

Born in Jersey in 1946, he trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before teaching in London, Jersey and Cornwall. After a master's degree at Bath University, he returned to Jersey as deputy head of his old school. His first novel, Against The Tide, was published in 2012 and he now lives with his wife and family in Cornwall.

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