It’s taken many years and a lot of support and love, but with some pride, today my first novel went on sale on AMAZON.
What’s it about? Early 1984, South Yorkshire, friends Harry Turner and Dale Edwards are working the Cortonwood Colliery mine. Dale is a strong advocate of the active picketing being proposed by Arthur Scargill’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The Minister of Trade is in the area to understand what is going on, meeting with Scargill and trying to counter the strikes.
His Press Secretary, Ellen Minor, is with him. After the meeting, Ellen finds herself in a local pub where she meets Harry and Dale. She has a strong attraction to them both.Back in Westminster Ellen uncovers a government plan to escalate tensions with Libya. By escalating tensions, the Thatcher government intend to draw attention away from the miner’s strikes. By doing so they hope to increase their approval ratings that have slumped since their 1983 election win. The Minister of Trade, via an underworld third party, engages a professional hitman to significantly disrupt a protest outside the Libyan Embassy in London. Having uncovered this plan and with newfound affinity for the miners, Ellen tries to stop this happening. However, she is too late, leaving the hitman undetected and free to kill WPC Yvonne Fletcher.While the killing of WPC Fletcher swings public opinion as intended, it opens the door for a Libyan-based, pro-Gaddafi organisation to inject money into the NUM. By doing so the Libyan organisation hope to destabilize Thatcher’s government by shifting public focus back to the mineworkers.
Peterborough brick manufacturer and advisor to the NUM, Tom Linney and NUM Chief Executive Roger Windsor are employed to set up the transactions. However, the two have an idea to skim money off the top to help them personally finance a property development in the newly established Canary Wharf area of London. Lack of attention and lack of funds means efforts for the miners are not as effective as they need to be. As a consequence, the largest strike action ever organised, in Orgreave, descends into violent chaos.Dale has been involved in “The Battle of Orgreave” and along with Roger and Tom the three are sent as a delegation to Libya to secure more money. Suspicious himself of the NUM leadership’s motives Dale reaches out to his friend Harry, now in a relationship with Ellen, for help. Dale, Harry and Ellen contrive a plan to uncover the deception. Roger however is one step ahead of them all and implicates Tom and Dale who are subsequently arrested and jailed in Libya. With attention focused on Tom and Dale, Roger is able to leave Libya with the money for himself and ultimately forms an illicit partnership with Scargill to bankroll property investments.Armed with proof of both the selfish motivations of the NUM and the recklessness of the Thatcher government, Harry and Ellen settle themselves in London. They are driven to campaign for the release of Dale and for justice for WPC Fletcher.
However, by doing so they risk incriminating themselves and ruining a life they are building together. Ellen works closely with a journalist from The Times newspaper to tell what she knows, but with pressure from government the story never makes it to print. Public attention has moved on and events like the bombing of The Grand Hotel in Brighton helps maintain public favor in Thatcher’s government. By early 1985 the strikes are over. With time running out to save Dale, who is sick from many months in a Tripoli jail cell, Ellen, out of all other options, ultimately sacrifices everything she has worked for to save him.
I’ll post in a few months time my expereince of taking this book to market.