Thank You…

 

ElectrifyingIt’s been heart-warming to see your reactions to my latest release, Last Prophecy of Rome, and for all your thoughts on Placidia, Rome, and current events.

A particular ‘thank you’ to the bloggers and other reviewers, who have written so many kind things about the book – from ‘ChickLibraryCat,’ who wrote: “I was completely hooked from the very first page;” to ‘Splashes into Books’, who declared “(Last Prophecy of Rome is) an amazing, up to date, enthralling read that had me riveted from start to finish,”; Donna’s Book Blog who said it was a “cracking thriller… better than Dan Brown,” and ‘Chelle’s Book Reviews’, who blogged: “What an ending – I was totally blown away and found myself on the edge of my seat hyperventilating.”  Thank you all.

Author feedAnd thanks, also, for all the customer reviews – especially the majority of reviews so far which have awarded Last Prophecy of Rome five stars out of five.  If you liked the book too, then please recommend it to others by leaving a review on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or on your facebook page.  You don’t need to write much – a few words is plenty.  Reviews make a big impact on what other people decide to read.  The Myles Munro books have become popular through word of mouth, so please keep saying and writing such nice things about them!

Secrets-of-the-Last-Nazi-Facebook-graphics-3A number of readers have queried whether Myles Munro is genuinely odd.  For example, one blogger mused that although “Myles Munro is on my list of favourite characters…. I can’t work out why he’s called a misfit.”  It’s reassuring to see so many people prefer their heroes to be unusual – there are already too many shallow James Bonds in fiction.  In my writing, I tried hard to prevent Myles from being typical, which is why he’s not even a typical misfit (whatever that might be).  Myles Munro doesn’t belong in any pigeonhole, even one labelled ‘odd’ – and if you tried to put him in any category, he’d escape in a way you wouldn’t expect.  I promise I’ll reveal more about Myles’ character in the next book.

Best seller 1Meanwhile, ‘Secrets of the Last Nazi’ continues to intrigue.  Eight months since it was published, it has become the 35th best-selling book in the overall Amazon.com sales chart, and in its best weekend so far, which was recently, it sold a massive 3,000 copies.  The book has now topped several Amazon charts in both the US and the UK, including categories for the best-selling international mystery and crime story, the top spy fiction book, and the best-selling tale of intrigue.  ‘Secrets of the Last Nazi’ is also being translated around the world – and this website is getting ‘hits’ from more and more countries.  I will keep trying to answer every comment and question about the books; sorry if I’m slow sometimes.Czech SOTLN cover

As for me, I’m going to take a short break from writing – both fiction and non-fiction.  Myles Munro will return, but not just yet.

So thank you – your support has been wonderful. Please keep writing reviews, recommending Myles Munro books to your friends, and thank you again.

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Thank You for Your Reviews

So many people have written such wonderful things about the book – thank you all.  It’s great to know you enjoyed Secrets of the Last Nazi, and that Myles Munro is so popular.

SOTLN coverHere are some of your reviews of Secrets of the Last Nazi:

Five Stars“Either this author has pulled off one of the most amazing Derren Brown type wondertricks of all time (just how did he do that?); or it changes fundamentally the way people understand the world.  And it’s an excellent story, too.  This really is the most amazing, impressive book I’ve read for more than a decade.  Really.”  – Peter Cranston, Amazon.

“Best Book I’ve Read for A Very Long Time” – Steve Salter, Kobo.


New Release 1“This book stands out in so many ways, I wish I could have given it six stars (or more). It really is an absolutely remarkable main theme, told through a riveting plot, with an astonishing ending. Brilliant.”  – Harriet, Amazon.

AmRev5
Five Stars“Superb. Excellent, fast-paced, intriguing. I really had to read it at one sitting.”  –
Stella M, Amazon.

AmRev6“When I read books, I always hope for three things – fast action, interesting plot (and plot twisters) and interesting details. Secrets of the Last Nazi succeeds in all three.”  – Bjorn H, via Kindle.

Secrets of the Last NaziFive Stars“I’m hooked on Myles Munro, the hapless hero of this fantastic and intelligent yarn. At once a fantastic thriller, but so deftly interwoven with science fact, history and observation from what must reflect real experiences it is hard ot imagine this is a first foray into fiction for King. Highly recommended.”  – ‘Itoloshi’, via Kindle.

AmRev4“Brilliant and fast paced. I’ll recommend to my friends.’‘  – ‘FindMyWay’, via Kindle.

Best seller 1“Tremendous fun from intriguing, teasing outset to a conclusion that I wouldn’t want to spoil.  Detailed without being a slog to get through, the reader is invited to think more deeply as the story romps along.  If Mr King is going to continue to produce this best-of-breed material, I’ll make sure to get hold of future books, too.”  – Perdesthai, Paperback.

AmRev3“I’ll definitely be recommending it to everyone.  It had a little of everything – mystery, action and betrayal.”   – ‘Clippers for sure’, US Amazon.

Five Stars“One of the most original and carefully thought out stories that have yet to appear in print.” – Paul Lane.

There was only space to include a small number of your comments.  Thanks to everyone who has written such great reviews for the book.  It is your words which have made Secrets of the Last Nazi a huge success.

Customer reviews editMost online sites promote books with higher ratings.  Give Secrets of the Last Nazi five stars, and others will enjoy the book, too.

The next Myles Munro book, ‘The Last Prophecy of Rome’, will be out in spring 2016.

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World War I: The Most Important Battle

Russian Captives after the Battle of Tannenberg
Russian Captives after the Battle of Tannenberg

What was the most important battle of World War One?  There are lots of contenders.  Many in Britain would consider the Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916) to be the most important – it was certainly the most deadly for the UK , although it did little to shift frontlines or change the strategic balance.

In France, the Battle of Verdun stands out.  It ran throughout most of 1916, and cost almost a million lives.  But it was also one of the war’s most futile confrontations.

Battle of Jutland
Battle of Jutland, 1916

At sea, the Battle of Jutland (May 1916) was the greatest encounter, but it wasn’t decisive.  And away from the Eastern Front, perhaps the Gallipoli campaign offered the biggest chance to change the war – although it ultimately failed.

Which is why the most important battle of the war was probably at Tannenberg, in August 1914 (the 101st anniversary is next week).   It was the first big battle on the Eastern Front, and resulted in a huge win for the Germans.  Some 150,000 Russian soldiers were killed or captured, and a large part of their imperial army collapsed as a military force.  Crucially, Tannenberg allowed the Germans to swing their troops back towards France, and with speed.  If the battle had gone even better for them, they may have broken through in the West and the war really would have been over by Christmas.  If it had gone just slightly worse, the war would have been over too – but with a different result.  The protracted stalemate of the First World War resulted from the exact scale of the German victory at Tannenberg.

Tannenberg Eclipse, 21st August 1914 (Image: NASA)
Tannenberg Eclipse, 21st August 1914 (Image: NASA)

The battle occurred in what is now north-eastern Poland, and it happened five days after an eclipse centred just 281 miles from the battle.  The eclipse was on 21st August – the day German and British troops first clashed on the Western Front.  Britain’s first military casualty, John Parr, died within minutes of the eclipse.

Ancient people have long associated eclipses with war, and it’s not hard to see why.  Just before Alexander the Great invaded Persia, there was a solar eclipse over Tyre, a city he captured in a defining moment of his campaign.  And the crusades, which ran for two centuries, began just after an eclipse over Jerusalem in September 1093.

Several major military confrontations were presaged by eclipses.   The earliest recorded case was in May 585BC, when philosopher Thales predicted an eclipse which interrupted the Battle of Halys.  Fighting stopped for an hour or so, and the Battle became known as the Battle of the Eclipse.  There have been many other examples since then.

Korean War Eclipse, 9th May 1948 (Image: NASA)
Korean War Eclipse, 9th May 1948 (Image: NASA)

Perhaps the most precise coincidence between war and eclipse was in Korea.  Big elections were planned for 10th May 1948.  Just one day before, the United Nations agreed it was only going to monitor voting in the south, and on that very day – 9th May 1948 – there was an eclipse exactly over Korea.  Violence on the peninsula soon escalated, and by 1950 it was a full-scale war.

Solar eclipses are rare, and can be centred over any point on earth.  The coincidence of these eclipses happening so close to the battles which followed is some two-trillion (2,000,000,000,000) to one.

Could the ancient peoples who used eclipses to anticipate war have been on to something?

Why wars and eclipses are connected is not clear.  Wars don’t cause eclipses, and we can only guess how eclipses might cause wars; they probably don’t.  But, as any statistician will tell you, correlation doesn’t mean causation, which means good correlations don’t need the two events to be connected in any way.  The one-in-two-trillion link between wars and eclipses is the perfect example.

The correlation between war and eclipses made perfect research material for the Nazis…

Find out more in Secrets of the Last Nazi…

Hitler: Really a Non-Hero in World War One

HitlerMustacheIn the 1935 book ‘The Story of Adolf Hitler Told for Children’, widely distributed throughout Nazi Germany by state authorities, Hitler’s time as a soldier was retold in lively language – once, he was said to have ‘run straight through machine gun fire’ to deliver messages between outposts on the frontline; and later he is described as ‘one of the bravest soldiers in every battle.’  Hitler’s service for Germany became an essential part of his political message: he had served his nation in the most selfless way possible, so he demanded the nation serve him in return.

Even opponents of Hitler accepted that the dictator’s record in World War One was impressive – he had won the Iron Cross twice, there were many apparent eye-witness reports of his bravery, and he served for the whole war.  Almost without exception, respected western journalists have repeated as fact that Hitler was one of the bravest men in the trenches.

But a little historical research reveals Hitler’s ‘heroic’ war record was mostly a figment of Nazi propaganda.

Hitler the Draft Dodger

Buy at Amazon.comBefore the war, Hitler dodged the draft.  Conscripted to serve his native Imperial Austria in 1910, Hitler failed to report for duty.  He did this at least three times, and it was probably to avoid military service that he moved from Vienna to southern Germany.  Only in February 1914 did he surrender himself to the Austrian authorities, who deemed him medically unfit for duty. He tried to cover this up – through lies in Mein Kampf (for example, his autobiography claims he was in Munich on a day in 1912 when Viennese police arrested him for vagrancy), and by sending his Gestapo to destroy the official papers when Germany united with Austria in 1938.  Hitler was furious when he was told the paperwork had gone missing.

Hitler the Coward

After he was caught up in a fateful battle on 29th October 1914, Hitler managed to wangle himself a cushy position at regimental HQ, several miles behind the frontline.  There he lived in relative safety and luxury, only occasionally venturing near the trenches; usually he was just delivering messages between the regiment’s HQ and its administrative base, both well away from danger.  Several times during the war, Hitler turned down opportunities for promotion to keep this precious role as a regimental dispatch runner.  It was quite a feat to him to remain at the army’s lowest rank (not a corporal, as is sometimes reported) throughout the whole war.  He spent a smaller proportion of his war years in the trenches than almost any other private in his regiment, the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment.

Adolf Hitler im Ersten Weltkrieg

Picture: Hitler with other despatch runners, safely away from the frontline at Regimental HQ, Fournes.

Hitler – and his propaganda machine – pretended he delivered reports between frontline positions, but he was only called into the frontline when German manpower was stretched.  It meant he served at the battle of the Somme for only four days.  He suffered a ‘light wound’ from wood splinters in October 1916, which meant he was in hospital on the days his regiment faced its worst battles.  He missed other crucial days of fighting by being on leave.

Hitler: Not Blinded by Gas in 1918

Buy at Amazon.co.ukHitler claims to have lost his sight following a chlorine gas attack in mid-October 1918 – standing firm against the Allied assault, as Germany was ‘stabbed in the back’ by traitors back home.  But the doctors who treated him in Pasewalk military hospital near Berlin diagnosed his blindness as a form of hysteria, and concluded it was caused by psychological exhaustion or ‘hysteria’ rather than gas.  The medical papers were so damning – and sensational – that Hitler’s predecessor as German Chancellor, Kurt von Schleicher, who came across them in 1932, kept them personally – probably regarding them as an insurance policy, so he could blackmail Hitler later if he needed to.  But Hitler struck first: Schleicher was gunned down on 30th June 1934, one of the first victims of the dictator’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’.  The original papers have never surfaced.   (So how do we know this account is true?  It is the testimony of doctors and others interviewed in 1945 versus the word of the Fuhrer himself.  I know whom I believe…).

Research credit: Thomas Weber, author of the excellent ‘Hitler’s First War’.

Image below: Hitler at the announcement of war, Munich, 2nd August 1914.  This picture – the main protagonist of the Second World War celebrating the start of the First – has been doctored by Nazi spin doctors to imply the war was much more popular than it really was. A young Hitler cheers the start of World War One, 1914