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John Drake
Hallo, I'm John Drake. I am very happy to say, that my latest book 'Thief Catcher' is now online. This is an English, eighteenth century mixture of detective drama and military/political threat to the nation - threat of an invasion by Napoleon's army, vastly bigger than the British equivalent,... show more



Hallo, I'm John Drake. I am very happy to say, that my latest book 'Thief Catcher' is now online. This is an English, eighteenth century mixture of detective drama and military/political threat to the nation - threat of an invasion by Napoleon's army, vastly bigger than the British equivalent, and formidably professional.For those who liked my Fletcher books, this one is a spin-off from 'Glorious 1st June' written because Sam Slym the hard-faced detective 'shaved glossy red-black from the exquisite closeness of the razor's passage' was in my head, and yelling for another book. In 'Thief Catcher' Sam Slym believes he is retained by William Pitt the Prime Minister merely to save Prince George, Prince of Wales, from a huge and self-inflicted scandal. But there is a greater danger waiting to be uncovered. Assisted by his 'Dr Watson' - aristocratic Sir James Leicester-Fleming - the detective Slym, digs into a complex plot directed by Wladislaw Sukolowsky - agent of Napoleon. Worse still, Slym encounters a old passion: the lovely, but cruel Lady Sarah Coignwood, who spurned Slym's affection in days past, but whom he still adores.All this and a dose of authentic Georgian high-tech: the shutter telegraph which will send a false signal to the Royal Navy, enabling invasion by the French.If you get through that and want more, try my latest-but-one, the Viking saga 'Wayfinder'. I I wrote this strictly for fun inspired by Franz Bengtson's book The Long Ships, written in 1954, and which I dearly love for its dry humour and vigorous portrayal of Viking life. Please read it and enjoy it, and may you find Wayfinder even half as good as it.My hero - Olof Torkilsson - is a famous deep-sea navigator. He is wise, cunning and skilful as any Viking leader should be, but he has a magic sword with the outlandish name of Nihontō. Modern readers will recognise this as the Japanese word for sword, which explains why Nihontō cuts deep into the steel of ordinary Viking swords, and is beyond price in the Northlands. Who knows how Torkilsson won this sword? Perhaps later books will explain.And so to beauty. Aside from Frejda Hakonsdottir who captures Olof's heart, and Mirian the Black for whom Olof's follower Gunnar fights a thousand men - the most beautiful thing in the book is Jarl Sjur's ship Long Serpent: a craftwork so wonderful that there is no direction from which a man might look at her, and not be ravished by her beauty. Those were my own genuine reactions on seeing The Gokstad Ship at the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway in 2015. I judge this thousand-year-old ship to be one of the most beautiful artefacts ever made by the hand of man, and if you think I'm exaggerating then go to see her, because pictures don' t do justice. And so to ugliness. My villains are Jarl Sjur Hakonsson, and Ibn Fadlan the Persian wizard. Jarl Sjur is the illegitimate son of the late King Hakon of Denmark. Sjur is handsome, splendid, and the leading contender for the throne. But he is rotten with secret lust for his sister Frejda Hakonsdottir, and hates every man who looks on her, including Olof Torkilsson whom Sjur choses as navigator to lead his latest and greatest fleet raid into England, causing deadly rivalry to split the expedition.Returning home after fighting Saxons ashore and Swedish Vikings afloat, Olof - and even Sjur - face a greater threat than armies or fleets: Ibn Fadlan whose intellect is so powerful that he controls the minds of men with hypnotism, perceived by the Northmen as dark magic. Also look for the effete King Bealdgar The Good, who raised armies against the Northmen, and his brother the monstrously fat Archbishop Ethelwulf , both routinely humiliated by their mother Queen Guthild: a plump and comely woman much admired by men, and of course the delectably naughty Ethelhild, saved from rape only because three stupid Vikings slaughtered one another in the rush to grab her.After that, try 'Agent of Death' a WW2 thriller. Imagine a weapon worse than the atom bomb: something that kills all the people in a city and leaves everything else intact. Imagine that this weapon is cheap and easy to make, once you know it's secrets.This weapon is called 'Mem Tav' and becomes Nazi Germany's last hope in 1944. The story is thoroughly researched and all the rest of the 1940s high-tech is absolutely real: like the German Arado 234: the worlds first jet bomber.The book is full of characters too: David Landau the hero, who speaks four languages, is an RAF bomber pilot and sleight-of hand expert. Then Lady Margaret Comings, his on-off love: for whom there is no wartime rationing, only haute couture. And Abimilech Svart, the genius who invented Mem Tav: a virulent Nazi with a better brain than Albert Einstein.The story builds to a climax where the nine million people of New York city are facing imminent death, as a V1 missile with a Mem Tav wargeadm closes on the city. Give it a try. You'll like it.Still interested? Then try 'Death in Londinium' my detective story in Roman Londinium. The hero is a mind-reading, Greek slave, Ikaros in a millionaire household of 400 other slaves where the master has just been murdered, and under Roman law, if a slave did the killing then every other slave in the house, is put to death. So Ikaros has not only to solve the murder but prove that a slave didn't do it, and he must do this entirely by himself because the Romans had no police force and solving crime was a personal matter. He does have the help of veteran centurion Morganus: First Javelin of the twentieth Legion, but they must work fast, because the mass execution is coming up fast.Those are my latest books, but I've been making up stories ever since I spent half an hour each day walking from Wilmot Street, London, England (England? It's that little island that's the USA's staunchest ally). So, each day I walked from home to the Central Foundation Boys' school. And then another half an hour each day walking back. The bus was quicker, but I walked, and my imagination ran free to make up stories because I have a fountain in my head, which never stops.The only things I enjoyed at school were writing essays and woodwork, but I pursued science all the way to university and beyond, including pure research which paid an annual salary approximately equal to poverty. And so after years working in pharmaceutical research I finally realised what I wanted to be ... a writer.So thanks for reading this far, and I hope you like my books because I loved writing themAll best, John Drake

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DP9
DP9 rated it 11 years ago
Well, I got half way through the 2nd disc before another audiobook arrived off my waiting list at the library, and I gratefully returned this one. I've never read Treasure Island, so perhaps this wasn't the book for me. I was at first incredulous that a bloke who had allegedly never fought before co...
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