Saturday, 14 November 2009

Hello I’m Harry Riley

This is an introduction to my forthcoming novel called:

‘Sins of the Father’

(The haunted life of Doctor James Parker)

This tale concerns the lives of two young men whose paths were doomed to clash even before they were born, with devastating results for all concerned.

It is set in a small village in Northumberland, a village once considered to be the most dangerous place in England.

Now it is only the eerie call of the curlews and oystercatchers circling high above the river that pleasantly disturbs the clean air and tranquillity.

Nestling in a valley on the banks of a famous salmon fishing river…the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, it is incidentally the village where I once owned a small cottage, I have simply made a few fictional additions such as a village pond and a Wesleyan Chapel to aid the storyline and changed the name of the village lightly, calling it Norbridge.

The ruined castle where John De Baliol, Lord of Barnard Castle was judged King of Scotland…swearing fealty to The English King Edward…the ancient church, still bearing the scars of Cromwell’s musket balls on its outer walls and where Robert the Bruce once sheltered…and the school in the village, really do exist, as does the old stone bridge across the Tweed…separating England from Scotland.

My story opens just after the end of the Second World War and progresses into the 1960’s; to a Britain still advocating the ‘hang-mans rope’ for the most wilful acts of murder.

For those who do not know this northerly clime it is a land where the smallest whisper of wind blowing gently over the hills and glens awakens the sleeping ghosts of history, and where the mighty clash of battle from two ancient armies still rings loud and clear.

Ruined castles spring up abundantly around almost every bend in the road and large fortified stone houses with high towers bear witness to the protection once needed from the ‘Border Reivers’ those lawless bands of raiders who crossed the borders mounted on swift horses to hack and wreck and rob and plunder, showing no mercy to man or beast. It is a special land that has produced and inspired some of the world’s most gifted writers like Sir Walter Scott with his classic ‘Marmion’ James Hogg (the Ettrick Shepherd.) with his many plays, poems and novels, John Buchan, he of ‘The Thirty Nine Steps’ and latterly Nigel Tranter, with his brilliantly researched historical adventure novels, plus artists such as L.S. Lowry with his iconic paintings of Berwick Upon Tweed and the poet…the National Bard of Scotland; ‘Rabbie Burns’ who upon crossing the bridge at Coldstream in 1787, alighted from his horse and recited part of ‘The Cotter’s Tale’ before walking over to the English side. The bridge bears a plaque commemorating his visit.

I have chosen the beautiful Coldstream Bridge between England and Scotland for the cover of my novel as it spans the winding banks of the silver River Tweed and is evocative of that fabled land; now thankfully at peace with itself after centuries of violent turmoil.

In my story Billy Turpin is a big strong orphan with a secret hate that sits on his broad shoulders like an invisible monster screaming revenge into his tortured brain. By a stroke of good fortune and evil cunning he acquires great wealth and builds a successful business empire. Slowly and with infinite patience he destroys his victims one by one until he has his main target-James Parker, securely in his grasp.

A long way from home and in a very bad place; the unadventurous James Parker tries to forget his troubles as he conveys the love of his home country to Carl Brandon, his new American friend in adversity. Such is James Parker’s passion for the fresh clean air and the small friendly communities of his native land that the sad and lonely American from The Bronx listens fascinated and becomes filled with a desire to see it all for himself. If only with his failing health he could survive the cruel treachery of the Congo Jungle.

Someone recently likened this melodrama of mine with its twists and turns and suggestion of ghostly intervention, as akin to ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins. I did not know that story but have since listened to a version of it on audiotape and am surprised at the points of comparison. In my story I have an enchanted graveyard and a white angel and I make use of the device of important letters. I put James Parker, my main character, into life threatening situations that are almost impossible to escape from. I also bring in a sub plot or two to create mischief and muddy the water. There is Billy Turpin, a powerful friend who is really a vicious enemy burning up with hate and eventually there is the underlying suggestion of strange spiritual activity going on in the background. Doctor James Parker has often suffered from depression and at times of extreme stress he has been known to hallucinate. It is at these times that his mind seeks the comfort of the supernatural and conjures up visions of lost friends and family and in particular of Rosie, his dead and beloved younger sister. They say every story needs a hero but James Parker is not cast in the heroic mould and if there is a hero to my story it has to be the awesome historical countryside of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and in particular the graceful winding River Tweed.

The author will be pleased to sign and dedicate books directly purchased through him-email:

on ‘myspace and harryriley nottingham on ‘facebook’

ISBN 978-1-905809-77-6

Pneuma Springs Publishing

Available from Publisher, Bookshops, Wholesalers and good online stores-search by ISBN from November 30th. 2009

RRP: £9.99

This is a fast, unusual read for mystery thriller lovers, with many twists and turns from Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to Africa and the USA.

Plots to entertain and grip you. An ideal present!

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