London, 1944. War is raging across Europe and Hitler’s terrifying secret weapons, V1 rockets, transform life into a nightmare.
After her mother was killed in an air raid, Anna Cooper was sent to live with her uncle, the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Now, he too is dead and Anna must seek help from her estranged father to discover her only chance of fighting back.
Commandeering a Spitfire, Anna leads a crew of fearless pilots to intercept the deadly rockets. But Hitler has one final secret weapon, against which there is no defence… At the eve of a devastating war, Anna must confront the ghosts of her past and do what she can to survive in a world forever changed.
AUTHOR: JOHN OWEN THEOBALD
Born and raised in Eastern Canada, John Owen Theobald moved to the UK to study the poetry of Keats, and in 2009 received a PhD from the University of St Andrews. He lives in London, England.
Sneak Peak Taster
7 June 1944
The tall grass waves golden in the morning light. Here I am, in a field in Wales, standing next to a wooden bi-plane. Only a year ago, the thought of me flying a plane – even a basic wooden Trainer like this – would have been impossible to imagine.
A lot has happened in a year.
A lot has happened in the past day.
My head throbs as I double-check the petrol tank. The headaches are growing worse. Now darkness doesn’t even help. Nothing helps. Shove aside the pain, focus. I’ve got more than enough fuel to get back home.
Last night I watched the endless planes fly across the sky, heading to France. The huge invasion force, staining the sky black with smoke. Britain and America, teaming up to invade France, kick the Germans out, and push all the way to Berlin and end this dreadful war.
It has finally begun.
Thousands upon thousands of ships, barrage balloons waving amid the armada, stony-faced men setting off to save the world. And I sat on the riverbank, watching the brave soldiers float into the sea.
What do I do now?
‘Cup of tea?’
I turn to the voice – so strange and yet so familiar. A man stands in the doorway of the small cottage. A man I know mostly from a photograph. Wilhelm Esser.
Only two years ago I was certain I had no father; that he had drowned when I was five. Now he has returned, full of warnings about new German weapons. A man – a German – I know nothing about except the lies Mum told me. Now she’s gone, and Uncle’s gone, and this man – this stranger – is all the family I have.
And I must leave him behind.
He is watching me, seeming to read my thoughts. ‘You stole that aeroplane. You will be arrested if you go back.’
I force myself to meet his eyes. ‘I borrowed that Trainer. And I will take care of Commander Gower. Just tell me everything you know about these weapons.’
He finally nods, adding a new crease to his heavily lined face. ‘I will tell you everything. But won’t you have a cup of tea first?’
I take a small sip of the hot tea, savouring the real milk.
The old couple who own this cottage seem almost unaffected by the war. They live in the farmhouse across the field, and they did not raise an eyebrow when I introduced Father, his accent unnoticed. They fed us a dinner of mashed swede and carrots (they are not completely unaffected by the war) and once Father had offered some payment, the smiling farmer was happy to let us stay as long as we like.
People have grown used to accepting unlucky strangers into their homes.
I still remember when I heard, four years ago, that I was being sent to a new home. I can replay it all – sitting in the hot room, with the headmaster and the lady from the Women’s Voluntary Service. How they told me Mum was dead, killed by a bomb, and that I was being sent to live at the Tower of London with an uncle I didn’t know, while bombs rained down on us.
I look over at Father, sipping his tea at the low wooden table.
‘Tell me about these weapons you built for Hitler.’
He sighs. ‘I was offered a job, by an old friend who studied engineering with me in Berlin. We had studied rocket technology together.’ Father drops his head. ‘But when Hitler came to power, the research centre was forced to stop thinking about space travel. His research – our research – was used to build something else.’
He pours more tea into my cup. The sun is hot at the window, and the small kitchen suddenly feels even smaller.
‘This is a weapon the world hasn’t seen before. Hitler wanted something, in case the war went wrong, that could save the day. Even back then, we called it the Miracle Weapon.’
To enter click the link below all info is on the post.
If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook. It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.
Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.