Sunday, June 26, 2016

Atomic Bomb Makers on Scotland’s Streets

German troops gather on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle

Historical Fact; in 1939-1940, there were a significant number of Scientists, including German Jews in self-exile, working in Edinburgh University; Physicists and Mathematicians who were investigating sub-atomic particle physics at the Kings Buildings campus on the southern edge of Edinburgh.

Historical Fact; in 1939, it was realized in British Universities that a nuclear bomb would win the war. A Committee (M.A.U.D. Committee) was set up to investigate both the direction of research, and the materials and time required to complete the bomb.

Historical Fact; from the two reports given to him by the M.A.U.D. Committee, on 30th August, 1941, Winston Churchill officially authorized further research, and became the first world leader to authorize and approve a nuclear weapons program.

Historical Fact; in 1940, as Adolf Hitler contemplated the invasion of Britain (Operation Sea-Lion), he had a ‘hit list’ of British scientists, miscreants, and political figures who were to be rounded up and incarcerated in the first few months of Nazi occupation.

These are the historical facts behind the second volume of the Avenging Steel WW2 Alternative History series.
Our hero James Baird, a Philosophy student at Edinburgh University, is secretly a member of the S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive), the forerunner to both MI6 and the CIA. He is ordered to infiltrate the Physics students and help spirit them away to safety. With his girlfriend Alice at his side, James begins the most dangerous mission of his short ‘master-spy’ career.

The action is fast and furious as they try to stay one step ahead of the Germans as they whisk the crucial scientists away from the Nazis. Avenging Steel 2: the Nuclear Option, is the second in a growing series set in 1940’s Edinburgh; the city streets and buildings are vividly cast almost as characters themselves. Reading the book places you in the action, running the streets, riding the trams, dodging bullets and counter espionage agents.
Volume three ‘The Final Solution’ is hoped to be completed in the summer of 2016.
Take a look inside the book, courtesy of Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Edinburgh News! George Heriot's School Captured by German Troops!

The gateway... draped with the conquering symbols.
The German staff car drove through the arched entrance, its Mercedes engine purring, its occupants three high-ranking German officers. Few witnessed the invasion; the schoolchildren of George Heriot’s School were at morning lessons. The scattered boys out on the playing fields gave no notice, engrossed in their games. When four grey trucks followed suit, their attention was guaranteed.
The short approach road to the main building was walled on either side, not meant for large vehicles. The staff car in front, swept through the archway of the imposing building, and on into the ancient cobbles of the inner courtyard. Following suit, the trucks behind fanned out, braking loudly, their engines roaring in grizzly echoes between the four high walls. Suddenly a thousand faces were at windows, looking down as the trucks disgorged their human cargo; a hundred of Germany’s finest, jackbooted and coal-scuttle helmeted. As they spread out, their machine guns held at the ready, they looked cold and imposing.
The iconic image of Edinburgh Castle, 

The officers filed into the main entrance, their grim-faced soldiers behind.
“I am Captain Schoenberg. You have an hour to empty the building.” His expression did not expect protest. The generals behind him smiled in anonymity, looking smugly around. The soldiers were already filing into corridors on either side, and up wide staircases. The headmaster, roused by the commotion, soon made his way to the entrance, only to be buffeted outside into the courtyard. “What do you think you’re doing?” he protested, only to be nudged heartily in the ribs by a machine gun butt.

The haloed halls echoed with men’s guttural orders, their stereotypical brevity made no less forceful by the pupil’s and teacher’s understanding. “Raus! Raus! Schnell!” The boys had been brought up to Capt. W. E. Johns’ Biggles adventures, but now the cries were here, in their classrooms and hallways, forcing them out of classes and out into the courtyard.
Schoolboy cries soon joined the German ones, protests, screams, the plaintive cries of the younger boys.
It made no difference… just a thousand yards from the battlements of Edinburgh Castle, the infamous George Heriot’s School building had suddenly become the German headquarters in Edinburgh.

 Avenging Steel 1: The Fall of Edinburgh

Avenging Steel

As a writer, it's quite strange when a story takes over your imagination and writes itself. The above was one such case.
In my new Avenging Steel Alternative History series, I had decided that my character was going to George Heriot's School to a clandestine meeting. He walked past Greyfriar's Bobby on Forrest Road, and turned the corner onto Lauriston Place. I was remembering the imposing entrance to the school, thinking of its tall railings, the school grounds, the playing fields, the wonderful square baronial building with its interior courtyard... then the words just appeared on my page... the German trucks rolling through the archways, the noise in the courtyard, the jackbooted terrors kicking the pupils out onto the street... it made perfect sense... George Heriot's building would make the perfect Headquarters building in Edinburgh...
My character would have to make his clandestine meeting somewhere else.

Avenging Steel; available as an eBook and paperback, everywhere good books are sold.

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