The year is 1912. Two Oxford men are members of the same college, but they could not be more different. The first, Stanley Walker, son of a shopkeeper, is studying engineering. The second, Jimmy Barrington, son of Britain's wealthiest banker, owns a fast car. They become friends.
Jimmy's birthday picnic at Port Meadow turns into a grand gathering, attended by the cream of London society, who sip champagne served by the family's butler and enjoy the late summer sunshine. Stanley is introduced to Theda, Jimmy's headstrong sister, and the other members of the Barrington clan. None of them knows — though some suspect — that their world is about to change forever.
When war breaks out, Jimmy decides to join the Royal Flying Corps, and he persuades Stanley Walker to come with him. Soon they are embroiled in a new kind of war which starts with the German invasion of Belgium. Not all goes according to plan, however, and while Stanley sticks to his guns, Jimmy's fate takes a turn that leads him to an even stranger battlefield.
The Deadly Playground is the first volume of a series that recounts the story of the prestigious Barrington family during the Great War. A tale of espionage, romance and a portrait of power and influence moving behind the scenes as the curtain rises on the first act of a Century of tumultuous conflict.
Hallmarked by attention to historical detail, this novel comes with a guarantee — that the reader will find a story that will make him or her regard the Great War in a completely new light. It is unlike any other story that has been told.
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About the Author
I was born in Staffordshire, near Etruria, the place made famous by Josiah Wedgwood, but was brought up in Sydney, Australia and later in Lancashire, England. I studied astrophysics at Newcastle University, where I started the student science fiction society. Writing novels has always played a part in my life, and I've tried to see the world enough to be able to write fiction with the help of personal experience.
After university, the US oil industry was booming so I went to Dallas, Texas, later on I worked on rigs in various parts of the Middle East and the war-torn heart of Africa. I was aboard the Ron Tappmeyer, a rig that blew out in the Persian Gulf, killing 19 men. It was dangerous work, but well-paid, and it took me to places that outsiders rarely see, like the Rub-al-Khali of Arabia and hard-to-reach parts of equatorial Africa.
When I left the oilfields, I spent time on travel, first to East Berlin and Warsaw, then to Moscow and Leningrad. From there I took the Trans-Siberian railway to Japan. In Hong Kong, I worked on a road survey, took tea with the heir of the last king of Upper Burma near Mandalay, and on the path to Everest base camp just happened to run into Sir Edmund Hillary. After traveling around most of India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, I returned home and took up a job with the BBC. Four years later, I left BBC TV to write. I finally settled in London, but I still like to head off to interesting parts when time allows.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received this ebook as a free gift from the author to read and review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. This ebook is listed as being The Barrington Quintet Volume I. I am assuming that the author is planning to release each volume to reflect one year of the Great War. This particular volume focuses on the events of 1914 as they relate to Stanley Walker & Jimmy Barrington. Stanley comes from a working class background but has becomes close friends with Jimmy, a member of the elite Barrington family, through school connections. The story begins at a party at the Barrington Home where we learn that the Barrington family is an extremely large one. I found this section a little overwhelming as I wasn’t clear on who was who and many names were being introduced. I think as part of a series which is to focus on the Barrington’s it would be helpful to have some sort of character list or family tree. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, there were many fascinating parts and it was very clear that the author has researched this time period extensively and knows how to write in such a way that he sets you right there in the time period. Both Walker and Jimmy Barrington end up trying to train as pilots, mostly through machinations on Jimmy’s part. As it happens, Stanley Walker succeeds brilliantly, while Jimmy doesn’t quite have what it takes and ends up following a different wartime path. I loved reading the section where Stanley had his first flight. To quote: “Walker knew that he was not the same man he had been just half an hour ago. He had experienced a sort of magic, and that magic had changed him.” I found myself having to use my dictionary several times to find out what the author was referring to. This is not a bad thing in and of itself but some elements such as “Theosophy” didn’t really have an important part in the story and I felt did not add to the flow of events. The story alternates between the perspective of the two men and occasionally their paths do cross as the year plays out. The ending to me came very abruptly and I would rather have continued on directly to the next part. All in all, this is well researched and well-written and when all five parts are read together will no doubt be a very moving read.