2029 Michael Fitzalan


My wife and I, Alexander and Barnaby, used to go to Cornwall every summer for a week with my in-laws. We stayed in the charmingly named Portwrinkle, in the forgotten corner of Cornwall. Most people would whizzed past on their way to Newquay, Padstow, Rock or St. Ives. Often, we would stay in an old-fashioned hotel called The Whitsand Bay Hotel. My father-in-law was a keen golfer and there were stunning views over the bay. The hotel had been used as the backdrop to the denouement where Aubrey comes face to face with his nemesis Terence Lawless.

I had the ending, but I needed the beginning and the middle. I imagined a post-Brexit Britain that had a terrible recession and a severe epidemic.

The ‘Virulent Virus’, this was two years before ‘Covid 19’ struck. As a result of economic collapse and deaths, people had resorted to bartering goods and smuggling as the currency became worthless.The reason

I had my villain, Terence Lawless, who, like any good entrepreneur, turned smuggling into a successful business. My conceit was that his armed security men had annexed large parts of rural Cornwall to create his own personal fiefdom. My setting was complete. An annexed port for the smugglers where high-powered, black boats travelled fast and dodged the Royal Navy, much as they used to between Morocco and Spain in the 1980s. Based in Gibraltar, I had witnessed sailors filling bullet holes in similar black boats in the harbour while I was on ‘Waterwitch’ in 1982.  A book has multiple layers of the author’s history in every page.The reason

My main character was named after one of the charming sons of the family featured in Major Bruton’s Safari. I’ve travelled to Uganda, and I added some of the naïve teenage habits of my youth to him. Then, the plot was easy.  

Drawing ideas from books such as ‘Moonfleet and ‘Jamaica Inn’, as well as others from the smugglers genre, I came up with the family mausoleum and a fishing-net type trap.

Creating Adele who lost an eye in a food riot and who works for Terence Lawless was my first task. She would be the woman Aubrey would fall for and who he hoped, in his naïve, teenage way, would fall in love with him. However, the charming and likeable son of Terence gets in the way. The reason

Aubrey needed an ally to help him escape. She appears as the shopkeeper, Kate.

Like Adele, she is strong and dynamic, but she also has an acerbic sense of humour. She is helping Aubrey escape after he is wrongly accused of being partly responsible for Freddie’s drowning. The third and final strong character is a Ugandan officer, Thomasina Mutesa, working for the Administration, the new government. She is manipulative and powerful and of course Aubrey falls madly in love with her only to discover she is a marionette, and he is her puppet.   

Written by Michael Fitzalan

Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

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