Now available on Kindle, Intrusion, Book 1 of this WWII home front trilogy.
A Relative Invasion is set in 1937 to 1965. It has WW2 as a backdrop but it isn’t essentially a war story. It has a child narrator, but it isn’t written for children. I’ve attempted to reproduce in micro those very emotions which the frustrated, humiliated German nation experienced post WWI and which Hitler played upon. I’ve put them in the breast of Kenneth, an artistic, manipulative child, small for age and frail, when meeting his younger, stronger cousin. It’s this sturdy youngster, Billy, who is the innocent protagonist, suffering psychological bullying from his cousin, and physical bullying by his uncle. In Book 1, Intrusion, now out on Kindle, the story starts as war in Europe threatens. In parallel, readers see how Billy’s predictable life will be threatened by Kenneth and a domestic war may begin.
The inferiority that six year olds can have are really the same as those of de-powered nations. I imagine that what lay in the breast of Hitler, a poor specimen of a man without the kind of background he craved, was that desire to outdo and take over other nations just as sickly Kenneth, whose muscly father Billy resembles, aims to over-reach Billy and encroach upon every aspect of his life. In this way he hopes to encompass another’s strength. Similarly, the adults with their own preoccupations fail to intervene.
The cover depicts Billy on the left and artistic Kenneth on the right, facing each other across the image of the shashka, a Cossack sabre with a special significance.
Billy has seen this in the home of his father’s colleague, Mr Durban. Caught up in his own fearful memories, Mr Durban’s WW1 story of how he came to own the shashka captures Billy’s imagination. The shashka acts as an icon that supports Billy throughout hardships, separations, rejections and evacuations.
In Books 2 and 3 of the trilogy, Billy has known anxiety from his adverse experiences and learned of the dangers of distant warfare. With increasing age and experience, he discovers the dangerous qualities of the shashka and, ultimately, those hidden within himself. For that reason, Books 2 and 3 are loss-of-innocence as well as a coming-of-age story, and therefore rather darker. Billy is aged five at the beginning of Book 1 and in his twenties by the end of Book 3. His emotional and moral development occurs alongside the acting out and ending of World War II and similarly ends as the devastation caused by warfare at all levels must be faced and overcome.
My intention in the writing of Billy’s story in this particular stage of history is to show that we understand at the macro level can be detected in micro.