The Story of M

OK, so this blog is WAY overdue an update. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Today, July 13 2021, sees the release of ‘M, King’s Bodyguard,’ an historical thriller based on actual characters and events that I have been working on for over ten years, since I came across William Melville in a website article headed ‘Ten Amazing Irishmen You’ve Never Heard Of’. I am not the first to try and tell his story in fiction, but to the best of my knowledge I’m the first to get to publication.

William Melville left Ireland at fourteen, joined the London Metropolitan Police in 1872, and rose to become head of Special Branch and occasional bodyguard to British royals. In 1901, in the leadup to the funeral of Queen Victoria, he received a tipoff that a gang of European anarchists planned to attack the cortege and assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. With the Kaiser’s bodyguard Gustav Steinhauer in tow, Melville set out to see off the plotters – but nothing went according to plan…

Last time I blogged here the term CoVid would have sounded like some sketchy phone app that allowed you to watch movies with mates. In 2021 we know Covid all too well, and it’s a lot less fun. What it means for us authors (Us Authors! Sounds so cool!) is that book tours remain firmly virtual and I don’t get to sneeze on any would-be readers. Instead we have Zoom and YouTube, and if anyone reading this today is interested in watching/joining my launch event – 1pm in Texas, 7pm UK time – here’s the link:

King’s Bodyguard is intended to be the pilot for a series. Steinhauer, who in 1901 stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Melville when the bullets were flying, went on to head the German spy network that infiltrated Britain during the years preceding the First World War. Melville was recruited by what was to become MI5 to counter him, and the two men played a lethal game of cat-and-mouse across Europe for over a decade. I have to say historical novels are bloody hard work – did you know that the ‘crossword’ as such was not invented until 1913? So why does this character mention it in 1901? And there’s a dozen of those on every page.

It is an epic yarn though. Watch this space. (Not this space, obviously. I’m hardly ever here. Maybe try Twitter, where I’m @Noghar…)