Many thanks to Charlie for enabling me to post a blog on this page too. Many of you have already read my novel Major Tom’s War. I just wanted to share that it has just been awarded second prize in the inaugural military history fiction awards run by the Society for Army Historical Research. I was very surprised, not least because my publisher didn’t tell me he was entering it, and of course delighted. The top prize went to Allan Mallinson for the 13th book in his Napoleonic Wars series so the competition was stiff.
The second edition (minus the editorial glitches present in the first and plus a new chapter 10) will be out in Kindle before Christmas, and the paperback may be out or may appear just afterwards.
The new Chapter 10 will interest CIHA members as it covers the arrival of the Indian troops in Marseilles in the bitter winter of 1914 when they camped out among the fountains and statuary of Marseilles grand parks. I have written it from the point of view of Risaldar Harnam Singh (far right top row above), one of my favourite characters. I am not Indian and I did not presume to write in an Indian ‘voice’ but for this all-important moment I needed a witness and Tom was not there – he joined the brigade in Therouanne much further north.
Since I wrote Major Tom’s War I have had much reader correspondence and to my joy several descendants of Risaldar Major Amar Singh (far left top row above) have got in touch. I will be meeting several of them in December and also visiting a school erected in his honour and given his name. Even now his memory is cherished as a kind, devout and remarkable man.
My book tour of Punjab will launch the second edition and I travel on 28th November, returning around the 18th. I will be visiting Sangrur for the heritage festival, Amritsar to meet the family of Amar Singh, Delhi to give a lecture and Chandigarh for the military history book festival there. If I can, I would like to get to Shimla and Patiala too. If any CIHA members might like further details/dates do please let me know.
I have never been to India before and I will be travelling alone in between engagements, so I hope that fortune does indeed favour the brave on this occasion.