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ABOUT THE STORY
THIS IS A WORK OF HISTORICAL FICTION
Intelligence reports indicate that Imperial Japan has an expansionist intent called nan′yō. Successful implementation of this intent would mean extending that country’s influence throughout Asia.
Australia had previously relied on Britain to protect it, but there is a very real threat of a possible invasion.
John O’Neill lives at the Imperial Hotel growing up surrounded by horses, the life-blood of the family business. Over the years, thousands of Walers had been sold to the Imperial Japanese Army for use in Manchuria. Emerging world events prompt a questioning of these profitable transactions.
The body of a Japanese official is discovered in Stillsbury Lane where the body of a Japanese official is discovered, causing John to confront the nemesis who is behind the likely threat to Australia.
An intriguing invitation changes the course of John’s life and sends him on an adventure that will almost cost him his life, moving him from his privileged life style to a challenge that will be almost beyond his physical ability to overcome: to the Solomon Islands to stop the implementation of nan′yō and to save the country.
The spectre of the mysterious murder in Stillsbury Lane will remain until John’s quest is completed.
REVIEWS AND CRITIQUES
‘An exhilarating adventure of murder, mayhem & microdots’. David Jeffrey, LCDR, RAN Retired
‘A great, fast paced Aussie read’.
Former Intelligence Officer, David Nolan, RAAF, Retired
‘The book gives an authentic feel for the political and espionage background to Australia-Japan relations leading up to World War II.’ Frank O’Shea. Canberra Times & Irish Echo Book Reviewer
‘My Dad told many stories of the war in New Guinea and Rabaul and it was good to read things that touched those memories. I enjoyed the book and thought you brought the situation of the period out very well’ Phillip Murray, Canberra
‘Could not put it down. My kind of book. Your style of writing really drew me to the exclusion of all else.’ Rebecca from Maitland.
‘A wonderfully written tome, fast moving, intriguing and thoroughly entertaining. There is so much of our own lives in this book, even though it is fiction.’ Barry Maher launching the novel on ANZAC day 2013 at the Imperial Hotel, Maitland NSW.
‘It really drew me in to the drama of those times. Wonderful read.’ Joe Blackwell, Canberra.
‘Just loved it. A great entertaining read of an important part of Australia’s history.’ Alex Farrugia, Perth
‘A great authentic and most enjoyable read.’ Bob Cramer, review in The Serviceman.
BACKGROUND AS TO HOW THE SPECTRE WAS WRITTEN
Stillsbury Lane is a piece of Mick’s past. He lived at the Imperial Hotel in High Street, Maitland with his parents, John and Marjorie, and his sisters Janet and Kerry, and his Grandmother Maime for many years. This seemed like a good place to start the novel, with the body of a Japanese official, in a tale built around the unfolding war in the Pacific after the Pearl Harbour attacks and the subsequent threat to Australia. It was a way of mixing my love of writing with my knowledge of history and the stories that I’ve collected over the years during my travels and often influenced by the many interesting characters that I met on those journeys. Putting the plot into the WW2 era gave me more tension, urgency and highlighted the tragedy of war on ordinary people. The insights I gained in my numerous visits to Honiara – the capital of the Solomon Islands, and the surrounding islands, combined with the impact that the war had on the Pacific region, are at the heart of the murder mystery.
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