Latest Readers of “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy share their ‘FAVOURITE BITS’
Rising Australian author Justin Sheedy has recently seen his third book published. Hailed by iconic UK bookstore chain Waterstone’s as ‘Book 2 in Sheedy’s “Nor the Years Condemn” Series’, Sheedy’s highly-anticipated “Ghosts of the Empire” has been warmly received by readers. An historical fiction bringing to life the stunning true saga of the shining Australian 20-somethings who crossed the planet to fly Spitfires and Mosquitos against Nazi tyranny in World War Two, this week latest readers of “Ghosts of the Empire” offered their ‘favourite bits’ of Sheedy’s gripping tale in a live Facebook event…
Colleen Dudley – Sydney, Australia: Bridie’s letters to Mick struck a chord with me – a fiery passionate 5 year old who is proud of her big brother but misses him, loves him to pieces and wants him back home. Very poignant.
Justin Sheedy – Author: Thank you, Colleen. I certainly intended the character of Bridie (5-year-old little sister of the story’s hero) to portray via her letters to him the simple, stark fact (as only seen via the undiluted honesty of extreme youth) that War is WRONG. That big brothers being absent because of it is a Crime. And Bridie so needs his help.
From Andrew Landström – Sweden: I think the bit when Mick was invited to tag along on a ferrying of a Mosquito was a bit that struck so many chords: flying, romance, the allure of a woman who showed Mick that she was at least at par with him as a pilot, the sadness of them both knowing that it was not to be, and it was a rather peaceful moment in the middle of a blazing war. This is just one of many nuggets strewn throughout the book. A book well written, a book worth reading.
Justin Sheedy: Andrew, a mighty thanks to you and that was one of my personal favourite bits to write in this book: Our male hero being flown in his first bomber by a lovely 20-something girl, completely his equal despite the reigning prejudice of the time (and indeed of Ours) that she wasn’t. Dear readers, THIS part of the story features the amazing girls of the Air Transport Auxiliary. As pictured above from many months back when I was writing the scene. (Full writing excerpt HERE.)
From Mark Bentley – Norfolk, United Kingdom: For me it has to be his solitary walk down the lanes at Marham (UK), not an action packed part, but strikes a chord with me as I walk those lanes regularly taking photos. This shot of mine is from near lane described in the book. Does not get much more accurate than that. If you have not read “Ghosts of the Empire” yet, you are missing out. Go buy a copy. If you have like me, then we shall just have to wait for the next book. Way to go, Justin.
Justin Sheedy: Mark, thank you for your response to the story. I loved writing that part: Mick O’Regan from Lewisham, Sydney, Australia, taking a peaceful walk between missions filled with death around the (as it turns out) ghost-filled countryside of Marham, Norfolk, UK, on the other side of the world from his home & family. And the seasoned local he meets reflecting that this young Australian is just the next in a long tradition of ‘ghosts’ in the local area. Also amazing, Mark, that your pic of the very location shows a modern Tornado, the direct descendent of the Mosquito as flown by my story’s main character. I’m just glad that, in this age, less of the young men flying them become ghosts. My book title being, after all, “Ghosts of the Empire”.
From Martin Zitek – Sydney, Australia: Yes! When we see the full and horrible effects of war on a suppressed and invaded populace, how their lives are turned upside down and so many are left to starve and die. This is brought home by beautiful French teenager Jacqueline Orval on her last legs, returning to her family farm house with no other option but to whither away and lament on what could have been had she flown off with the story’s hero, Mick O’Regan, a rescued pilot she had known for the briefest time. He can only return after avenging the death of her father at the hands of a brutal sadist and thus repaying the debt of the sacrifices she made to save him… The conclusion is beautiful and poignant…
Justin Sheedy: Thank You, Martin. That this key relationship in my story resonates for you is music to my ears; this book (and Book 1, “Nor the Years Condemn”) being a portrait of shining young people whose shining young lives are HIJACKED by the evil or incompetent old men who lead us. The ancient tragedy still with us. Apparently it still needs to be written about until such evil/incompetent men are put away yet my story remains a portrait of eternally shining Youth. Dear readers, Martin’s review HERE…
Ian Iam – Canada: Justin, I have to say that the realism in how you write this book is something that is close to me. It feels like I’m reading an actual historical document. The training in the Empire Air Training Scheme, the ship voyage to England, the interaction of the air crew… Everything in the book makes it feel so real. Dare I say almost as if I was watching a movie!!!
Justin Sheedy: Ian, just brilliant to know the book & its detail are working for you the way it seems to be. A movie? WOW, I like the sound of that & SO glad the writing seems cinematic to you.
Tim Bean (Australian Arts Veteran): My favourite bit?… The six pages that make up the Whitehall scene. I think that is one of the best scenes I have ever read in ANY novel. Memorable, for a lot of good reasons.
Justin Sheedy: Thank YOU, Tim. Wonderful for me to know that key near-conclusion scene of the story so resonated for you. My intent with that section was to symbolise the whole deadly corrupt injustice of the war in my portrait of one excellent young man speaking out articulately and damningly against it.
TO PURCHASE JUSTIN SHEEDY’S “GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE” AT WATERSTONE’S BOOKSTORES (UK) CLICK HERE, AT WH SMITH STORES CLICK HERE, IN AUSTRALIA AT DYMOCKS BOOKSTORES CLICK HERE. FROM GLEEBOOKS, HERE. FROM BERKELOUW BOOKS, HERE. FROM ABBEY’S BOOKS, HERE. To order internationally from AMAZON in paperback & Kindle formats click HERE. “Ghosts of the Empire” & “Nor the Years Condemn” by Justin Sheedy are now proudly stocked by the AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL.
As the storm of World War II breaks, Mick O’Regan is a peaceful Sydney working-class boy. Yet he and the shining youth of his generation are cursed to enter a world of high-speed life and death. Like first-time Aussie backpackers they cross the planet to save the British Empire, their job on arrival the most dangerous of the War: flying for Royal Air Force Bomber Command.
Based on a true Australian war story only now being brought to life by author Justin Sheedy’s vivid historical fictions, Ghosts of the Empire is also a story of young people living life to the full while they can – in a blacked-out world where dance partners, sex and death flow in equal abundance.
Though standing on its own as the white-knuckle excitement saga that it is, Ghosts of the Empire is the much-anticipated sequel to Nor the Years Condemn, Sheedy’s highly acclaimed story of shining young men destined never to grow old. ‘Ghosts’, it is said, are the spirits of those who die violently, tragically, or when ripped from life too young. Ghosts of the Empire is their story.