Book reviews TuesdayBookBlog

#TuesdayBookBlog Regardless of the consequences by L.D. Lauritzen. Western, mystery, spy novel and more

Hi all:

I bring you a book I found in NetGalley thanks to BookGoSocial, and I had also read some intriguing reviews, so I had to check it out. It’s a peculiar mix of genres, but it works quite well.

Regardless of the Consequences by L.D. Lauritzen

Regardless of the Consequences by L.D. Lauritzen

Sheriff Lance Tallbear’s half-blood Apache heritage leaves him struggling to find his place in a world where neither white nor Indian wants or readily accepts him. He faces the world his shaman father turned away from and acknowledges the one his shaman grandfather prays he’ll return to.

Tallbear’s new case uncovers a mysterious plane wreck discovered in the Superstition Mountains that turns out to stir both his life decisions and ultimate direction. Along with his troubled FBI partner, Brad Hanley, they face a myriad of obstacles in their journey to the truth.

The skeletons at the site hold the clues to not only who the killers were but also why the people died. Tallbear quickly finds the crash site hides a deadly secret that reaches out of the distant past to threaten the lives of all who seek it. He will need to use all his skills and experience to discover the answers and stay alive.

Author L.D. Lauritzen

About the author:

A retired agriculture teacher. L.D. Lauritzen has worked across the southwest. Working ranches in the Dakotas and Colorado. Construction all over the Southwest, docks, dealing cards, and even a stint as a beekeeper. Through his travels he’s met and worked with people in many walks of life. Through golf, coin-shooting, ghost-towning, and other activities, he brings life to his stories, characters, and plots.

“Along with my wife, I travel, take a lot of pictures, and been known to spin a tale or two. Somewhere along the way I decided to try writing. Not sure of what words I want to put to paper, I write a variety of short stories, westerns, mysteries, and science fantasy. I’m fascinated with life, and how we manage to still survive given our society’s penchant for destructive behavior.”

My review:

This novel, set in Arizona, combines elements from a number of genres: the western (the setting and some of the characters, especially sheriff Tallbear, his grandfather, Gray Eagle, a shaman who hopes his grandson will follow in his footsteps, although his deceased son didn’t, and Tom Hawk, a young Apache man who makes a gruesome and dangerous discovery); a thriller/mystery/cold-crime novel (the wreck of an old plane is found in the dessert, and there is a strong indication of foul play); a spy/historical novel (there are secrets affecting several families and going back to WWII, and an agent from the CIA, an Army General, and a Russian mercenary make an appearance), and even a little bit of romance thrown in.

There is plenty of action, more than a bit of violence, standard and not-so-standard investigating and police procedural methods, lies, betrayal, guilt, redemption, identity crises, prejudice, alienation, cultural tension, loyalty, sense of duty, revenge, challenging of conventions, and many more.

I really liked the sense of place, the descriptions of the locations, and some Apache traditions, which are very vivid and cinematic. There were a number of characters to root for (not only Tallbear, his grandfather, and Hawk, but also the flawed FBI agent, Henley, and Irene Katz, a resourceful, clever, and daring woman whose family was involved in the mystery) but there were so many strands to the story and so many players that it was difficult to get to know anybody in detail. Some of the most interesting aspects of these characters’ lives and thoughts were only touched upon, and, overall, the plot dominates the story, although, as it seems this is the first of a series, there will be room to develop more complex and rounded characters, as some of them have plenty of potential. And, there were plenty of baddies, some out-and-out villains, and others more nuanced and whose motivations are more ambivalent and even understandable, a good range that gives the story more depth and helps keep readers on their toes.

The story is narrated in the third person and in chronological order, but readers who don’t like too many changes in point of view might take issue with the many characters whose thoughts and experiences we get to share. This is, first and foremost, Tallbear’s story, but we often witness events in which he does not participate. That makes the story flow at a good pace and sometimes helps us be a step ahead of him (or at least believe we are), but there are some minor inconsistencies, the story at times becomes dispersed, and it can cause confusion if it is read over a protracted period of time and not enough attention is paid to the sequence of events. More attention to the narrative voice and the editing, in the future, might make things tighter and smooth the reading experience.

There is much to catch up and there are elements of the ending that felt a bit rushed, but I enjoyed it overall, and answers are provided to most of the questions, although, as can be the case in literary series, there are some unresolved issues that are likely to turn up again in the future.

This is a story I recommend for those who like mix-genre stories, love a modern Western setting, and are not looking for a cosy read or a deep psychological study of the characters. At the end of the book (around the 92% mark), there is a sample of the next novel in the series, that although it doesn’t appear to have been published yet, shows plenty of promise.

Thanks to NetGalley and to BooksGoSocial for providing me with an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

Thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share with others who might enjoy the book, and keep smiling!

New books

#Newbooks. ‘The Dolan Girls’ by S.R. Mallery (@SarahMallery1) and ‘Ludwika’ by Christoph Fischer (@CFFBooks). Strong women in fiction and history.

Hi all:

As you know Fridays is time to share new books and/or authors. Today, both of the authors who are visiting with new books have graced my blog before, and I’m pleased to say I’ve read some of their books (next Tuesday I’ll be sharing a review for one of Sarah Mallery’s novels) and they more than deserve to be featured here. They are fairly different, but I wanted to give you a chance to catch up with both before the holiday season.

First:’The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery

The Dolan Girls, by S. R. Mallery
The Dolan Girls, by S. R. Mallery

Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Add to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!


And a couple of reviews (both 5 stars):
S.R. Mallery has done it again and in her usual style, she has done it well. I love historical fiction (and the books of S.R. Mallery) because I learn from them and they echo truth. The Dolan Girls is a story about three strong, resilient and very different women and their difficult and ardulous journey through life in the old West. Set in Nebraska after the California Gold Rush, the Dolan Girls is brimming with realism, history, vivid description and amazing characters designed and developed so well I wanted to know more about them.. If you’re a fan of the old west, strong women and enjoy a great read, this book is for you. Recommend highly!


Though I am not normally a reader of historical fiction, I do enjoy movies about the Old West. Films like ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales,’ ‘Unforgiven’ and ‘True Grit’ (the Coen Brothers’ version, not the original). There’s something very appealing about these desperate, iconic characters struggling to survive in a desolate setting, with the promise of Progress—usually in the form of a new railroad—looming somewhere on the horizon. When I read THE DOLAN GIRLS, I found many of the things I love—strong women, villains cut from the cloth of a harsh adherence to tradition, and some other pretty colorful characters, both real and fictional.

THE DOLAN GIRLS is western fiction as you’ve never read it. S.R. Mallery’s words thunder off the page like a cattle stampede. And her sharply written characters demonstrate that truly it was WOMEN who tamed the American West.

Don’t forget to check the author page in Amazon and follow her for news about her books.

And now,  Christoph Fischer, who has visited my blog a few times, has a new book out (just out on the 14th of December). The book goes back to history, one of his favourite subjects, and the story behind the writing of the book is fascinating too.

Ludwika by Christoph Fischer
Ludwika by Christoph Fischer

Ludwika: A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany by Christoph Fischer

It’s World War II and Ludwika Gierz, a young Polish woman, is forced to leave her family and go to Nazi Germany to work for an SS officer. There, she must walk a tightrope, learning to live as a second-class citizen in a world where one wrong word could spell disaster and every day could be her last. Based on real events, this is a story of hope amid despair, of love amid loss . . . ultimately, it’s one woman’s story of survival.
Editorial Review:

“This is the best kind of fiction—it’s based on the real life. Ludwika’s story highlights the magnitude of human suffering caused by WWII, transcending multiple generations and many nations.

WWII left no one unscarred, and Ludwika’s life illustrates this tragic fact. But she also reminds us how bright the human spirit can shine when darkness falls in that unrelenting way it does during wartime.

This book was a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion, skilfully told by Mr. Fischer, who brought something fresh and new to a topic about which thousands of stories have already been told.”



Don’t forget to check his author page in Amazon, and follow for news of his books:

I share a couple of the posts Christoph has written about the book in his own blog, that include excerpts. There are others, so don’t be shy and wander around a bit.

And a couple of five star reviews:

Ludwika: A Polish Woman’s Struggle To Survive In Nazi Germany by Christoph Fischer starts with an introduction to the story’s protagonist, Ludwika Gierz, a 4 foot-ten inches, 22 year-old, beautiful Polish woman with piercing blue eyes. Children like her because of her friendly disposition. She has a 5 year-old daughter Irena from a non-marital relationship she had years ago, after which the father of the child left town. The well-written prose starts with undertones interjected on the horizon and we know there will be danger: the German invasion and fleeing of the townspeople, including Ludwika’s father, who disappeared with the retreat of troops; and the fact that Ludwika’s looks, her beauty, was once an asset but now is a liability as it attracts brutish German soldiers. It is a time of war with Hitler’s regime moving in and taking over, which establishes the story’s tension and conflict. In her town in Poland, Ludwika works her farm with her younger sister and mother. Siblings are mentioned, including her brother Franz who drowned in a river 2 years earlier, the memory still raw and painful. The story is off to a good start as we care about the protagonist and sense the danger that’s been alluded to. The story progresses and Ludwika encounters a Nazi soldier on the road who becomes attracted to her and protective of her, granting her rights others do not have. As Jews are being hauled off and the elderly assassinated, Ludwika is learning German from the translator that her “Nazi friend” has enlisted to help him. There’s now enough conflict in the story to propel it forward in this horrific time in history where madness prevailed. Without retelling this page turner suffice it to say that it goes deep and does not hold back as the plot moves through Ludwika’s drive to survive, and all the emotional turmoil, good and bad, that goes along with it. I’ve read several other books by this author and have to say that next to The Luck of the Weissensteiner’s this is my favorite.

And a brief one but it says it all:

Great to see Christoph Fischer, author of The Three Nations trilogy, back with another classic world war 2 story. This is probably his tightest, best work yet. It’s intense and cinematic. Fans of world war two dramas will eat this one up. Well done!

Thanks so much to S. R. Mallery and Christoph Fischer for their books, thanks to you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!


Family stories

Family Stories. My cousin, Joan Molet, and his efforts to not allow the memories to disappear.

Hi all:

Those of you who have been following my blog longer might remember that I have dedicated posts with the title ‘Family Stories’ to two of my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret, who died during WWII, one in Mauthausen (in one of the satellite camps, Floridsdorf), and the other one who had disappeared in France and they suspected had been killed there whilst fighting for the French resistance.

Josep Miret who was Conseller of the Generalitat (the equivalent to a Minister of the Autonomic Government of Catalonia) has a street in Barcelona named after him and some of the letters he had sent to his relatives (in particular those he had sent to his younger sister, Magdalena) appeared in the book Els Catalans als camps de concentració nazis (Catalans in the Nazi concentration camps) by Montserrat Roig. But…


My cousin, Joan Molet, has been researching the story of these two men for the last few years, and has offered me the opportunity of keeping you up to date with events and new findings he made. When I was preparing a new post on the subject, I thought that you could be interested in the process he had followed and how he had become involved in what is now his mission. I surely find it fascinating. And that was how I went to visit Joan and took many notes. Here I bring you my take on it.

Joan Molet dando una charla en una escuela. Al fondo, una foto de Conrado Miret
Joan Molet talking at a school. Projected we can see a picture of Conrado Miret

Joan told me that he began researching the history of these two relatives because his grandmother (Francisca Miret, Paquita) had told him some things about her two brothers, there were some (few) objects and items from their period before they left Spain during the Civil War, but there was a void of information about what had happened afterwards, both during their stay in France and in the concentration camp (in the case of Josep) with few details and paucity of documentation. And, Conrado was still classed a missing since the 1940s. Joan decided to investigate and try to fill this void. He started his search in early 2012, three years ago.

To achieve that he tried a variety of approaches.

1) He visited his relatives. That was how we came into contact with each other, as although my grandmother, Juana, had died years ago, Joan went to visit my mother (another Magdalena, it’s a very popular name in the family, although she prefers to be called Magda) to ask her if she had any documentation of the era, but apart from some photographs, we didn’t have much else. When we talked I suggested I could share some posts about his work and his findings in my blog, and he has kindly kept me informed. Thanks Joan! Not all our relatives have taken part or are interested in the matter (as we know, family stories are very personal)

2) He requested information from official sources and archives. Among others:

    • Archivos Generales de Ávila (General Archives of Ávila): where the military papers are kept. Officially they have no documentation. (Considering Josep Miret was head of supplies of the Republican Army in the Ebro Front, it’s a bit weird, but…)
    • Archivo de Salamanca (Archive of Salamanca). They sent him a few documents.
    • The Pabillion of the Republic in la Vall d’Hebrón de Barcelona. He obtained some information about the PSUC (Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya, a communist nationalist Catalan party) and his relationship with the party.
    • Central Archives of Catalonia (St. Cugat). It contains several personal collections of researchers and authors interested in the topic (Eduard Pons Prades, Montserrat Roig… including a postcard Josep sent from the camp.)
    • The International Red Cross (who sent him a copy of the death certificate for Josep Miret in Floridsdorf, where he was injured during an allied attack and killed off by one of the guards).
    • He also researched the family tree, including visiting the archive of the Archbishopry of Tarragone and others, and he managed to recover information up to the end of the XVIII c. (when the French troops burned what they found on their way).
    • As both brothers were exiled in France (Josep left before they closed the border with his own paper, whilst Conrado escaped using a false identity and was for a while at Saint Cyprien) my cousin imagined there must be documentation in France, but he didn’t know how it might be organised or where to go. But at this point he got very useful help. He got into contact with:

3)La Amical de Mauthausen. This organisation that has been functioning since 1962 and at the beginning helped the survivors of the camp to obtain help and subventions, has widened its activities, and it is now part of the red ‘Never Again’ to ensure the memory of what happened is never forgotten and to carry on fighting against fascism, and they organise/facilitate informative sessions in schools, organisations… They also do research work and send proposals to organise official homages and commemorative events, and help relatives locate information about their loved ones, be it giving by them any data they possess or assisting them with their personal searches. Here I leave you a link for you to check their activities in more detail. (The information is available in several languages, including Spanish, English and French).

With their help and his effort, Joan found out plenty of information that was very useful, like the fact that the archives and information about the activities or the résistance are organised according to areas (Josep had been in the French Bretagne, in Caen).

His enquiries made him cross paths with L’Amical des Anciens Guérrilleros Espagnols en France (AGEEF-FFI) (the Amical of the old Spanish guerrilleros in France), who as a reply to his questions about Josep, asked him in turn if he was not interested in finding information about Conrado. Thanks to this contact and to the interest he showed, Joan has atended several commemorative events in France (in Prayols there is a monument to the guerrilleros) and even recently in Spain, for example, the 22 November 2014, in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the last retreat of the republican forces during the Battle of the Ebro. (Here a link to a video about the event.)

4) Thanks to his activities, his interest and effort, Joan has become a member of the Junta (Board) of the Amical in Barcelona (since 2013), he represents the Miret family in acts related to the Republican fighters and the Spanish guerrilleros, and recently has become the representative of the Amical at CIIMER (Centre for the Interpretation and Research of the Memory of Republican Spain, Centro de la Interpretación y la Investigación de la Memoria de la España Republicana). As it sometimes happens, in searching for our roots we might discover an interest and a new dedication to a cause.

Joan gave me many details of his journey (tortuous and hard), he showed me documents, some of interest to everybody (official documents, transcripts of the trials), others much more personal (like the envelop of a letter Josep had sent to Joan’s grandmother, addressed to a house Joan still remembered), and I hope I’ll be able to share some more with you and carry on brining you news. (Some, like the commemorative plaque to honour Conrado, that I felt was particularly emotional, I’ve already shared). But for me, there were two moments that felt particularly representative of the experience.

In 2012 Joan joined a number of internet chats about WWII as possible sources of information. Through them he was contacted by Claude Midon, a Frenchman who has now lived in Australia for a long time. His wife, Madeleine (another Magdalena), is the daughter of Josep Miret and Lili Brumerhurst, and they have not only been in contact since, but Madeleine visited Barcelona and met Joan last year, and she was able to join in the ceremony of inauguration of the plaque to Conrado in June 2014.

Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet i foto de Conrado Miret
Madeleine Midon, Joan Molet and photo of Conrado Miret

In May 2012, Joan visited for the first time the camp Mauthausen-Gusen. (At Floridsdorf, of the camp there is only a commemorative plaque left. Joan was sent a picture of it by the president of the Association of the descendants of the Spanish combatants in Austria, whilst completing his research.). As part of their activities, the Amical also organises annual visits to Mauthausen (including a visit to the Castle of Hartheim, that they used for “active euthanasia”, and where they experimented the most effective way to exterminate parts of the populations, Jews in particular). This May (2015), is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp that will be celebrated with a number of acts and I hope to be able to bring you Joan’s impressions of the events. I also hope to visit the camp myself in the future and tell you what I felt.

El Castillo de Hartheim
Castle of Hartheim

What impressed him or touched him most of the visit? The truth is everything. More than anything, how easy it was to imagine being there, being one of those men and thinking of their experiences.


Also, the historical incongruences (like the fact that the main building of the Gusen camp is now used by a business company, without any external changes other than very limited cosmetic changes). The fact that one can enjoy a piece of cake at a cafeteria in Mauthausen…Dins del camp


Climbing the steps to the quarry and thinking of the prisoners the guards made jump to their deaths still carrying their load, just for the fun of it.

Camino a la pedrera
Climb to the quarry

The human spirit, that’s never defeated.

And his pride for being related to these men who fought to ensure that the world didn’t become a much worse place. I share some of the pictures he sent me of that trip. Not many words are needed.



Many thanks to Joan for offering me so generously his time, telling me his experiences and being so generous in sharing his documentation, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’re interested, please, like, share, comment, and CLICK.



Y va de películas!

Hola a todos:

Ya sé que estaréis muy ocupados preparando las Navidades, así que pensé que os hablaría un poco de las películas que he visto recientemente, por si os apetece alguna para relajaros después de tanto trabajo.

(Por cierto, si todavía las podéis encontrar, me encantaron La isla mínima, Boyhood y Relatos Salvajes).

Effie Gray

Effie Gray (2014)
Effie Gray (2014)

Director: Richard Laxton, Writer: Emma Thompson, Stars: Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Tom Sturridge

Los comentarios no son muy buenos, y lo cierto es que las actuaciones son algo irregulares (Dakota Fanning tiene la edad adecuada para la historia al principio pero quizás no después), pero la historia en sí me resultó fascinante, ya que está basada en algo que fue en un escándalo en su época, pero que se me había pasado por alto. John Ruskin, un famoso crítico de arte inglés, se casa con un chica escocesa, mucho más joven que él. La familia de ella vive en la casa que había pertenecido al abuelo materno de Ruskin, que se suicidó (y por eso el resto de la familia no visita) y ella está encantada de mudarse a Londres y vivir una vida más excitante. Lo que no se espera es tener que compartir casa con los padres de su marido (Juliette Walters es maravillosa como la madre dominante y protectora), ni que el marido la ignore completamente y no demuestre ningún interés por ella, ni emocional ni sexualmente. Viajan, siempre por cuestión de estudios del marido, pero nada más. Conoce a Lady Elizabeth Eastlake (Emma Thompson que también escribió el guion) que se da cuenta de que algo no funciona en la relación, pero no de cómo están las cosas de verdad. Durante una visita a Escocia, el pintor pre-Rafaelita John Everett Millais les acompaña para pintar un retrato del marido y los dos se hacen amigos…Él está horrorizado por la forma en la que la trata su marido. Finalmente, después de cinco años del tal matrimonio, Effie decide ir a un abogado y cuando le cuenta que sigue siendo virgen, al final consigue la anulación, y luego se casa con John Everett Millais (y de hecho aparece en alguna de sus pinturas).

Effie Gray sketched by Millais
Effie Gray sketched by Millais

La película está bien ambientada, es bella (hay muchas obras de arte, hermosos paisajes y visitan Venecia), pero si no os interesa el tema…

Mr Turner

Mr Turner
Mr Turner

Y siguiendo con el tema de la pintura, ví Mr Turner

Director: Mike Leigh, Writer: Mike Leigh (screenplay), Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson

Esta película ilustra el último cuarto de la vida de J. M. W. Turner, un pintor inglés, que además de ser justamente conocido por sus pinturas (especialmente sus escenas marinas), tiene a su nombre una serie de museos por toda Inglaterra. Y el Turner Prize, el premio que lleva su nombre es uno de los más prestigiosos premios artísticos (si no el más) del país. Para más conexión con la otra película, hay una escena en la que Tuner va a visitar a los Ruskin, los padres de John, y aunque John allí es much más joven, ya se dedica a hablar de arte. Y la familia compra uno de los cuadros de Turner, aunque lo cierto es que aparecen como unos pedantes de cuidado.

Mr Tuner ha ganado muchos premios (BAFTAS, Timothy Spall el premio a la mejor interpretación en Cannes, varios premios Europeos) y en mi opinión se los merece. Es una película hermosa, especialmente si os gusta la pintura, y a la vez muy humana. Turner era un genio de la pintura, pero el film no lo presenta precisamente como un gran ser humano. Depende de su padre, se desentiende de su familia (está casado y tiene dos hijas pero no vive con ellas y mantiene una relación más que distante con ellas), tiene una relación con la criada, solo sexual, y ni siquiera se molesta en decirle dónde está viviendo o con quién. Eso sí, conoce a una mujer en Margate, que le alquila una habitación, y cuando se queda viuda la cosa va a más entre ellos, y esta relación es extrañamente tierna.

Pero su pasión por la pintura, su orgullo por su obra (que se empeña en no vender para donárselo al público Británico), el retrato de la sociedad y los personajes de la época, y la gran actuación de Timothy Spall (siempre impecable) la hace totalmente recomendable. Es larga, lenta y pausada, pero si os atrevéis, no creo que os arrepintáis.

The Imitation Game (El código enigma) 

The Imitation Game 2014
The Imitation Game 2014

Creo que El código enigma es el título traducido.

Director: Morten Tyldum, Writers: Andrew Hodges (book), Graham Moore (screenplay), Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode

La película es una biografía de Alan Turing, el creador de la máquina que consiguió descifrar el famoso enigma, la máquina codificadora que los alemanes usaron durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Es uno de los padres de los ordenadores modernos, ya que para resolver el código,  construyó una máquina con un equipo de colaboradores, que sería una de las precursoras de los ordenadores de hoy en día.

No sé cómo de ajustada es la película a la vida de Alan Turing, aunque los detalles son correctos, y presentan a un hombre extraño (si es como lo presentan allí parece que debió sufrir Asperger’s, uno de los síndromes dentro del espectro autista, en su caso de alto funcionamiento), con pocos amigos, obsesivo, sin ninguna gracia social, y con un cerebro diferente y extraordinario. Benedict Cumberbatch, que me encanta en Sherlock (de hecho de Sherlock me encanta todo) está fabuloso en el papel.

La película está bien hecha, todas las actuaciones son sólidas (ninguna puede comparárse con la de Cumberbatch, aunque el papel de Keira Knightley es de los más interesantes e ilustra perfectamente el lugar de las mujeres en la sociedad de la época. No es de extrañar que su personaje y Turing se entiendan, ya que son dos marginados e incomprendidos) y la historia y el personaje son fascinantes. Hoy en día, reflexionar sobre lo que le pasó a Turing, y cómo se le pagó por todos sus esfuerzos (ser homosexual no estaba muy bien visto en aquella época, y sólo recientemente se le perdonó oficialmente) hace que nos planteemos una vez más cómo de comprensiva y flexible es nuestra sociedad para con la gente diferente, quiénes son los raros de verdad y qué sería del mundo sin ellos.

Gracias a todos por leer, y si os ha interesado, ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y haced CLIC!

New books

New book: George and the Dragon. WWII and dragons in an English setting.

Hi all:

As usual, on Fridays I bring you authors and their books. I met Philip Tolhurst through Twitter, where he asked me a very interesting question that took us to talking about his book. The premise of the book sounded very intriguing to me and I decided you might find it as interesting as I did. And without further ado, here I bring you…


George and the Dragon by Philip Tolhurst
George and the Dragon by Philip Tolhurst

George and the Dragon (The Knights of the Sky Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Philip Tolhurst

World War II has broken out. The Germans have started to blitz the UK and now they have a new weapon, a weapon so powerful it could end the British war effort before it has even started.

With bombs falling dangerously close to home George Atkins’ mother, Mary, decides to evacuate their home and go to live with his uncle in the heart of English countryside. George’s whole world is turned upside down when five dragons, ridden by Luftwaffe airmen, destroy his uncle’s house. At the same time, with thanks to his father and a group of bumbling British scientists, George becomes the rider of an emerald green dragon he names Spitfire.

The pair are recruited, albeit reluctantly, by a special unit of the RAF. As the first dragon and rider fighting for the allies, they face the biggest challenge of their lives to save the country from defeat by the Luftwaffe and the evil leader of the Nazi’s forces Colonel von Vogler and his mutant dragon Blitzkrieg.

And here a bit about the author:

Philip Tolhurst

Philip Tolhurst (1972 – still alive and kicking) was born in Sidcup, Kent and currently lives with his wife of 13 years and 2 children in a little Victorian terrace in Medway, Kent.

He has worked in the IT, Medical Registration and Courier delivery industries and is proud of the fact that in his youth he managed to work at all three major fast food outlets.

He grew up in the era of films like Tron and Starwars, playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading Lord of the Rings and the Fighting Fantasy books. However, it wasn’t until about 7 years ago that he decided to put his imagination to good use and start writing his first novel.

He published his début novel, George and the Dragon, in April 2014 and hopes that this will be the first of many more to come.


Thanks Philip for bringing us his novel, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, comment, share and CLICK!

Family stories


Français : Résistants de la 2ème guerre mondia...
Français : Résistants de la 2ème guerre mondiale dans la région d’Huelgoat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you will remember I have posted in a number of occasions about my mother’s uncles, Josep and Conrado Miret Musté, who fought both in the Spanish Civil War and later in France, taking part in the French Resistance against the occupying German forces. My cousin Joan Molet sent me another article talking in more detail about both brothers and their roles during the French resistance. I’ve translated the article below and include a link to the original article at the end. 

The first contacts with the direction of the O.S. (Special Organisation) were made within the family as it were, because most of the leaders were French ex-combatants with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Nadal, Spanish leader of the first period, gives us his testimony: 

     “It was  a summer’s day of 1941, and I had an appointment with a French colleague in a café near the metro station of Sèvres-Babylone. It was my first contact with colonel Dumont, who was the leader of the 14th International Brigade in Spain. He asked me to choose some comrades with experience fighting behind enemy lines, for the armed groups. (Dumont also asked, in the same period, the support of the Italian comrades of the 12th International Brigade “Garibaldi”). Following his instructions I asked Buitrago, former head of the 14th corps of guerrilla fighters during the Spanish War, to come from Burdeos, and José Miret introduced me to his brother Conrado who volunteered to fight in the urban guerrilla.” 

The heroic fight of the Miret brother and their tragic deaths deserve the respectful memory of all the members of the Resistance. 

José Miret Musté, member of the executive commission of the P.S.U.C. (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia, a Communist nationalist party) and of the government of the Generalitat de Catalunya, was also commissar of the 43rd Division during the war in Spain. In France, he was political leader and organiser of the Spanish resistance within the occupied zone. He was arrested by the police in November 1942, he was immediately transferred  under German jurisdiction, and after being jailed and tortured in Fresnes, he was deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp on the 27th Auust 1943 with the inscription “Natch und Nebel” (by night and fog) that meant, according to Hitler’s words, “Death sentence, but total silent to the families about the fate reserved to the prisoners”. On the 10th September 1943, José Miret was sent to the exterior commando of Schwechat, and he died the 17th November 1944 during the bombing of the Florisdorf commando. The truth is that José Miret and his partner of misfortune, Juncosa Escoda, were only wounded, but S.S. Streitwiesser, kommando leader, ordered that they were finished off with a bullet to the back of their heads. 

Conrado Miret Musté (Lucien for the comrades of the O.S.) was nominated leader of the armed groups of diverse nationalities, organised by the M.O.I. In early times the recruitment was selective and limited, and Conrado Miret took part in numerous operations with French comrades. 

Alber Ouzoulias (colonel André) writes in his book ‘Youth Battalions ’: 

            “The immigrants anti-fascists have their own organisation: Lucien (Conrado Miret-Musté), of the Spanish Communist Party, leads the armed units formed by anti-fascist men and women of all the countries members of the M.O.I. (Immigrant Workers).” 

            Ouzoulias specifies that Lucien was in charge of weaponry, and gives detailed account of two operations that took place in 1941 where Conrado Miret fought with the French Groups of the O.S.: the arson attack on a German garage, in number 11 of Paris Street (Vincennes) on the 5th September, and the attack with Molotov cocktails to the German Garage HKP 503, in number 21 Boulevard Pershing in the XVIII district. 

For the snipers of the M.O.I., Conrado Miret was Alonso. Georghe Vasilichi, a Rumanian member of the resistance, explains that “the organisers of M.O.I. bring together in combat groups all the immigrants under the command of Conrado Miret (under cover known as Alonso). Carlotta Gruia, another Rumanian member of the resistance who was deported to Ravensbruck concentration camp in July 1943, also talks about Alonso (alias of Conrado Miret Musté): 

            “Bocsor turned up at the apartment in boulevard of the Chapel with a stranger, and this apartment became the main “arsenal” of the O.S for the fighting groups of the M.O.I. The strangers told us he was called Alonso, and it wasn’t until much later that I discovered he was really called Conrado Miret Musté. He was a Spaniard who had fought in the Republican Army and according to the link between Bocsor and his superiors he had studied Chemistry…” 

            “Alonso had brought me a dozen of revolvers that some Spaniards in Paris had given him and he told e to give them to the combatants of the O.S.” 

Carlota Gruia describes the process of fabricating bombs and granades, and also the necessary chemical experience required by Conrado Miret and Bocsor to be able to fabricate explosive, and their plan to derail a train transporting German troops using the simplest possible method, although unheard of during these early times, removing the rails using a wrench… 

             In October or November 1941, they arrested comrade Alonso (Conrado Miret Musté). Immediately Bocsor came to see me in the street of the suburb of Saint Denis, to tell me that we had to evacuate quickly the apartment of the Chapel   Boulevard. He said that he was convinced Alonso was strong enough not to say anything, but it was more prudent not to go there for a few weeks… 

            We had nothing to fear. His leader had died a hero, tortured by the Gestapo.” 

Carlota Gruia doesn’t share Ouzoulias’s opinion about the date of Conrado Miret’s arrest. She and Boris Holba, who later will become leader of the groups F.T.P-M.O.I, give a vague date (October, November 1941, or the latter part of 1941). Albert Ouzoulias, affirms that he was arrested in February 1942: “In February, other comrades were arrested, among them, Conrado Miret Musté (Lucien), founder of the snipers groups of the M.O.I.” 

Conrado Miret was already dead, tortured and assassinated by the Gestapo, but the time his brothers in arms went to trial: 

            “On the 15th April 1942, the second trial of the “Youth Battalions” and the O.S. begins in the House of Chemistry. The Nazis said that it wasn’t a second trial but the continuation of the one that had taken place in the Chamber of Representatives.” 

            “The charges inculpate twenty-seven combatants, the twenty-eighth, Conrado Miret Musté, leader of the snipers of the M.O.I. is not present. He was tortured to death before the beginning of the trial. “

Original article can be found here:

Thank you for reading and if you have enjoyed it, please feel free to comment and share! And if you have any orther information I, and particularly my cousin,  would be very grateful.

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