Tom MacAulay

Orion Books £6.99 pbk

Released: March 18th 2010

Reviewer: Calum MacLeod


Calum MacLeod is a reporter for the Inverness Courier and had been writing for SHOTS since its early days. In 2009 the Highland and Islands Media Awards' judging panel awarded him “Highly Commended Feature Writer of the Year”.


Once Iain Madoc was just his father’s little boy, but something happened the first time George took his son sailing that was to put a barrier between them and prevent father and son enjoying the relationship they should. 

Now grown up, Iain has sold his business and dreams of living the good life in France with his photo-journalist wife, but those plans are put on hold as his mother lies dying.

Her last words and news that his father’s RAF rescue launch has been salvaged off the Breton coast provide Iain with one last chance to discover the secret that has haunted his father since the war and make peace with the old man before it is too late. 

A visit to another veteran offers some clues but little enlightenment and reports of a murdered Wren killed shortly before George’s ill-fated mission add to Iain’s unease until the only course of action is to go to France himself and find what happened to the launch and his father long ago in 1944. 

Touching on the gulf that lies between the generation which fought in the war and their offspring for whom life has been so much easier, and the heroic myths and unpalatable truths which surround the Occupation in France, MacAulay’s debut is reminiscent of the history infused mysteries of Robert Goddard and if MacAulay is more concerned with Gallic atmosphere than suspense for much of the book, then he shows he can keep the reader flicking through those pages in a seaborne climax of sacrifice and redemption. 

MacAulay may not write white-knuckle thrill rides, but this first effort displays an intelligence and a grasp of place and character which should earn and keep him a discerning adult audience as his career progresses.






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