by Martin Edwards
For Martin Edwards – Royal Marine, Special Forces survivor, soldier of fortune, thwarter of terrorists and much much more besides – life has been one big world of trouble.
The product of cruel parents in Rhyl, this born rebel’s escape was a long time coming. But once it was engineered, the road that opened up took him from North Wales to the high seas to Disney World Florida (thrown out, naturally), to undercover work in Northern Ireland and, ultimately, counter-insurgency in the likes of Abu Dhabi, Uganda and Otterton, a previously peaceful village in Devon!
Brutally beaten as a child – and attempting suicide at the age of twelve – he somehow retired as a multi-millionaire, but not before carving an equally remarkable trail through locations as diverse as deepest Dartmoor, Bogside, Kampala and the City of London, in the company of a colourful cast of characters.
Featuring a lively array of mind-boggling adventures, the majority laced with dark humour, Ultimate Survivor tells a story like no other. It is an X-rated tale of warship sieges, sexual abuse, hair-raising IRA ambushes, a death-defying run-in with notorious Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness, military coups, encounters with celebrity and a job as bodyguard to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. You are unlikely to have read a memoir quite like this one.
All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to charities supporting military mental health and vulnerable children
By Tom Kitching
Tom Kitching is one of England’s leading traditional fiddle players.
He has worked as a solo performer, band member, dance caller, violin teacher, and street busker. That last element – the busking – was an afterthought, something to be phased out as he built a career in music.
But the busking bug wouldn’t go away. Beyond the music and the collecting hat, perhaps fiddling through the streets of England could be a key to finding out who the English really are, how they view themselves and how they deal with change. Is there anything that ties together people across England’s many cultural divides, from neat Cotswold villages hugging village greens to former mining villages huddled beside abandoned pits, from multicultural city to Anglo-Saxon market town?
Armed with a violin, a Northern sensibility and a love of life in all its troubling richness, Tom took an 18-month journey through England to find out.
This isn’t really a book about busking, though. It’s about people, place, and that elusive beast – Englishness. On Tom’s street-level odyssey, the lines between friend and stranger blur, informality reigns, and chance encounters make a mockery of careful planning.
As the seasons change and the tally of busking towns grows, the complex mosaic called England confronts its fly-on-the-wall observer with the challenge – define me if you dare.
Investigations from a Yorkshire Crime Writer’s Casebook
By Stephen Wade
There has always been a fascination with crime and punishment; from highwaymen to the foul deeds of Bradford lorry driver Peter Sutcliffe. The allure of the unsolved case has long provided material for true crime and fiction writers.
In Stephen Wade’s personal casebook, Murder in Mind, he gazes back over favourite investigations in his home county Yorkshire – rich with villainous acts, painstaking detective work and injustice.
Read about Leeds’s most notorious female killer Louie Calvert and why Wade believes her conviction and hanging a travesty. Learn of famous hangmen, Chartist rebels and cases open to fresh investigation, such as those of Bill o’ Jacks, Mr Blum and Emily Pye.
Murder in Mind brings together Stephen’s journeys into the criminal underworld, including his work as a writer in prisons and his research in the murder archives.
The basis for this book was created in the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ years, when the impact of that series of murders sparked the crime writer in him. His tutor, Stanley Ellis, worked on the notoriously misleading ‘Ripper Tapes.’
Since then, Stephen has written over 70 non-fiction titles – many of them on the history of crime and the law – but this is something different. It is a mixture of memoir, reflection and the realisation that murder often happens down the street.
FALLEN HEROES OF THE NORTHERN UNION
By Jane and Chris Roberts
They were among the sporting elite of 1914 – the stars of the Northern Union – idolised by thousands of enthusiastic men, women and children up and down the land.
Yet despite their heroic status in what was soon to become known as rugby league, these warriors of the playing field were willing to sacrifice their careers – and then lives – on the World War One killing fields, for King and Country.
Other sports have honoured their Great War fallen over these past 100 years, producing Rolls of Honour to ensure that their ultimate bravery is never forgotten; not so rugby league – until now.
The Greatest Sacrifice – Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union – rights that wrong. It tells the story of talented sportsmen who, when war was declared on 4 August 1914, duly departed for France, Belgium and beyond, never again to see the rugby league towns and grounds they once so famously graced.
Among those who fell were three members of Great Britain’s 1914 summer tour to Australia and New Zealand. A number of other former internationals died too, as did many more who had earned top domestic honours with their clubs. Some of the youngest players were just embarking on professional careers and therefore never able to fulfil their potential.
Each player featured has a different tale to tell – from childhood to rugby stardom to enlistment into the British Army and, finally, the greatest sacrifice of all.
Britain’s Forgotten Reality Superstar
by Tim Hogarth
In the north of England there was a put-down for women who had ideas above their station: “Who do you think you are? Lady Docker?”
Through Britain’s post-War years, scarcely a day went by when Norah Docker and husband Sir Bernard didn’t dominate the newspapers. The Dazzling Dockers, as they became known, were on everyone’s lips. Rubbing shoulders with royalty and the era’s Hollywood stars, the pair caught the imagination of a public hungry for frivolity.
They were the pioneering reality superstars of their age, controversial standard-bearers for our own celebrity-obsessed 21st century. Yet of the two, there is no doubt whose star shone brightest. Born over a butcher’s shop in Derby, Norah Docker went on to enjoy a level of fame second only to a young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Brash but always fun, Sir Bernard was her third millionaire catch in a row.
Antiques expert Tim Hogarth, star of ITV’s Dickinson’s Real Deal and Secret Dealers, re-tells a tale once familiar but now almost totally forgotten featuring excessive spending, posh furs, diamonds, gold-plated Daimlers and terrible behaviour, such as when Norah got the couple banned by Prince Rainier of Monaco and saw the jewel that inspired the Pink Panther films stolen, thereby becoming involved with the London underworld. The Dockers sailed the Med on their own superyacht, owned castles and country estates.
It couldn’t last, of course, and didn’t, but what waves this working class girl made en route from rags to riches and back again. From the Bright Young Things of London’s Roaring Twenties to their equivalents in the Swinging Sixties, the adventures of Lady Norah Docker are a dazzling treat.