Lying about his age to join the army, poor Edinburgh teenager Jamie Melville comes to the attention of his battalion’s new colonel, Winston Churchill, who is seeking redemption in the trenches as an ordinary soldier after his resignation over the Dardanelles fiasco in 1915. Jamie becomes the colonel’s new ‘batman’ (a.k.a. orderly) and is soon thrust into the line of fire.
Later, both are returned to civilian life, and when Winston returns to the cabinet, Jamie is offered a position as assistant to the new minister's private secretary and part time-literary agent Edward Marsh, who introduces Jamie to the artistic side of London life. Along the way Jamie falls in love with a nurse and makes contact again with his broken family, which will leave him with a difficult choice to make: stay with Winston, or leave and make a life of his own.
Mark Woodburn’s first novel is a fast-moving delight, meticulously researched, clearly a labour of love – early readers were convinced the book was a genuine memoir, and readers of the final edition may find themselves checking the small-print too.
“Woodburn offers an excellent portrayal of Churchill ... a novel not to be missed.”
— Finest Hour magazine
“An outstanding book ... Memorable, eminently readable, and thoroughly enjoyable.”
— Undiscovered Scotland
Mark Woodburn was born in Edinburgh, 1968, and grew up in Scotland, Canada and South Africa. His colourful employment history includes work in forestry, pet food, ladies' fashion, risk analysis and as a part-time soldier in the Royal Corps of Transport. He currently lives in West Lothian, with his wife and daughter, and is a season ticket holder at Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
Mark's first novel Winston and Me, featuring the legendary Winston Churchill circa World War One, was the first unsolicited fiction submission to be taken on by Valley Press, and was published in 2012. A sequel, The Finest Years and Me, featuring the same characters reunited in World War Two, followed in November 2015.
Date Published: 2012-10-19
Catalogue Number: VP0039
Number of Pages: 320
Cover design by Jamie McGarry
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