“Too dangerous to be allowed out and too precious to destroy.”
Malta is a small island 9 x 19 miles 50 miles off the Italian island of Sicily. It might be the most fought over island in the Mediterranean. Some say Atlantis was just off shore and survivors made it to Malta in ancient times. Plato wrote about it. Homer has it in his Odyssey – his Calypso’s Island is said to be Gozo, an even smaller lump of limestone within Malta’s group of islands. I’d live there tomorrow if circumstances were different. The Ottoman Empire laid siege to Malta in 1565 and in spite of their superior numbers they couldn’t get the better of the thick limestone walls and fortitude of its people. True, that after the defences were strengthened the French sailed by en route to Alexandra and after a petite seige they took the island in 1798. The French capitulated to the British in 1800. The island is in a strategic position and so the Axis powers in WW2 preferred
Malta to be in their hands than the British.
Any aficionado of things Maltese and World War Two will love this book. It tells of the personal experiences of a young Scottish soldier stationed on Malta and seeing firsthand the deprivations, disease yet heart-warming accounts of bravery. Diary entries log the comings and goings of bombed convoy ships and plucky minesweepers along with the mixed feelings some had for the plucky yet often arrogant RAF pilots. George loved the island and its stalwart people and it shows. He had a girl at home and the difficulties of communications meant their romance was as much stretched to breaking point as the Malta defences. In between the bombs and deprivation, George was inducted into the Freemasons and this account is one of those rare insights into that secretive society along with symbols and odd handshakes.
Some literary turns of phrase. P49 ‘…he recognised the elegant flick of a wrist, the swing of shiny auburn hair and a smile that scanned you like an X-ray and moved on, leaving you exposed.’ Marvellous.
My favourite quote from Jean Gill’s book that epitomises the whole Malta experience under siege: its indomitable Editor wired London, ‘Heavy bombing interrupted reception. Please repeat Derby winners.’
Many of my Maltese and British friends will enjoy this book and will recognise places and the ennui on the islands.
Perhaps you’ve seen the film Malta Story (1953), which is also based on the island during the war and features a pilot – photographer (played by Alec Guinness) co-opted by the British to take reconnaissance photographs over Sicily. He falls in love with a local girl and experiences the angst of the locals including a little of the Mussolini sympathisers on the island. Jean Gill’s book goes into that more so. It must have been quite a dilemma for many families in Malta who had relatives in Italy and its islands.
Jean Gill’s Faithful Through Hard Times is a valuable contribution to historical interpretation of Malta during the siege of WW2. I can commend it.
Another rejection for my Chaos of Mokii story. Ironic that I consider it one of my best but perhaps it’s too exotic for contemporary publishers. A city that only exists in the minds of its inhabitants. It’s now on its way to MetaSagas magazine. Wish it luck.
Spiritus Quercus Robur has been delivered to The Horror Zine for consideration. The story is based on a real oak tree in Llangollen. In my story the tree is ancient and witnesses a murderous crime. Incensed and seeking justice the tree vows to keep its spirit alive even though the wood has gone.
Ysbyty Ifan – bigger than it looks – Geoff Nelder – Science Fiction Writer
How to WIN Short Story #Competitions
A pdf version is available from Ideas4Writers here.
New story published recently and it will only cost you 50p (80 cents) or less than the biscotti for your coffee.
One of my wife’s colleagues ran into a container. Clarify Nelder. Okay, he was sailing to the Isle of Man and the container had fallen off a ship. To a writer of spooky stories this is a rich start to a horror story. What’s in the container? Surely not people, yes but what kind of people… It’s called Voyage of the Silents, published by Pennyshorts
To grab a copy of one of my ARIA books here are the links
Kindle – Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/
Publisher’s website with more details and formats.
Buy it quick before you run out of memory
Another science fiction book you might like of mine uses a bit of quantum mechanics but in a fun way. EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEE After timequakes cause chaos, a Mars mission is diverted to chase departing mysterious spheres. Will the spheres listen and return before Earth rips apart?
Check out the page with video clips and purchase links http://geoffnelder.com/project/exit-pursued-by-a-bee/