Title: DARK SEPTEMBER
Author: Brendan Gerad O’Brien
Genre: Alternate WW2 History
Germany invades mainland Britain. Stormtroopers swarm ashore along the South Wales coast to capture the Steelworks and Coal Mines. Newport is blitzed. Danny O’Shea’s house is bombed and his wife is killed.
A German motorbike takes a wrong turn down Henry St and the driver is killed by a frantic mob. O’Shea grabs the motorbike and takes his son to his grandmother in Tredegar. They hide the motorbike and walk to the house where they keep out of sight.
The Germans find the motorcycle and the search for the culprit begins. Terrified the Nazis will blame him for the soldier’s murder, O’Shea grabs his son and heads to Ireland. But on an isolated road they witness Welsh insurgents robbing some boxes from a German truck. The insurgents capture the O’Sheas and keep them prisoner at an old farmhouse.
German Captain Eric Weiss, responsible for the boxes, knows his job - even his life - depends on him getting them back and he unleashes a terrible retribution on the local population.
But the insurgents are double-crossed and the boxes disappear. Then O’Shea goes to the aid of a dying woman - and both the Germans and the insurgents believe she’s told him where the boxes are hidden.
Suddenly O’Shea is separated from his son and catapulted into a world of betrayal and brutal double-cross. Pursued by both the Germans and the insurgents, his only concern is to find his son and get him to safety.
Cerys ran to the car and pulled open the driver’s door. And she was beaming as she leant in to speak to the man behind the wheel.
From where O’Shea was standing he could only see one person in the car. Cerys stepped back, and as the man climbed out he pulled up the collar of his long overcoat. He gave a quick smile at everyone before he reached back into the car and brought out a trilby which he pulled down over his eyes. Then he threw a long white scarf around his neck.
Rhys and Idris glanced at each other. Cerys slammed the door shut and guided the driver in O’Shea’s direction.
‘This is Danny O’Shea. Danny is the one who’ll be going back with you this afternoon. Danny, this is Mr Clooney.’
Clooney took O’Shea’s hand in a strong grip. And there was something about him that made O’Shea hesitate. Had they met before? Clooney obviously didn’t know O’Shea because there was no recognition in his eyes. He just smiled and said hello. Then he turned back to Cerys.
Cerys motioned for Rhys to go on back to the house. Rhys looked at Idris and his eyes narrowed. There was a hint of annoyance in them. But there was something else, too. He seemed anxious. Idris just shrugged and walked on.
O’Shea caught up with them. ‘What’s going on?’
Rhys raised his eyebrows but didn’t answer. O’Shea looked behind. Cerys and Clooney were still on the road talking.
O’Shea sensed the tension in the way Rhys was walking. He’d swung the shotgun across his arms and snapped it shut. His eyes were like a water rat’s as he scanned the trees.
‘How come there’s only one person in the car?’ O’Shea looked from one to the other but again there was no response from the two men. ‘I thought Cerys said there would to be more than one person. You know, like when she said people were coming? She didn’t say person, did she? She said people!’
He looked back at Cerys and Clooney again. This time they were just inside the gate. And there was something strange about the way they were acting. It was as if they were reluctant to come up to the house.
O’Shea felt a prickle of sweat on the back of his neck. As he turned to Rhys he caught the look in his eyes. And he turned towards the trees just as a shadow darted back out of sight.
‘Who the hell is that?’
Rhys was obviously startled. He had the shotgun cocked and aimed. But before he could do anything the shadow jumped out in front of them. A rifle cracked and Rhys grabbed his face and flew backwards, slammed into O’Shea and knocked him into the ditch.
As O’Shea rolled onto his knees he saw Clooney grab Cerys and drag her into the high grass at the bottom of the field. His white scarf flew in the wind behind him.
Idris ducked and fired and the gunman flipped backwards clutching his chest. His second shot was aimed at the trees and another gunman tumbled out of the bushes with a gaping hole in the side of his head.
‘Run!’ Idris grabbed the gun Rhys had dropped. O’Shea started sprinting towards the house.
‘Get off the road,’ Idris bellowed. ‘Get into the trees.’
‘My boy’s in the house,’ O’Shea yelled back. ‘I’ve got to get Adam.’
Two shots hit Idris and he folded up, dropped to his knees and sagged forward until his face was on the ground.
O’Shea crouched low as he raced towards the house.
Bullets whined around him as he stumbled into the yard. They plopped in the mud and pinged off the wall as he threw himself behind the shed just as Bethan came charging out of the front door. She was screaming for Cerys. Gareth was pulling at her clothes and trying to drag her back into the house when another burst of gunfire came from the back of the house and spattered along the wall towards them. And Gareth clutched his chest and flew against the window.
Bethan staggered forward a few feet before she realised something had happened. She stopped and looked back in horror. Then she gave a howl of agony as another burst of gunfire slammed into her. She jerked backwards and hit the wall. And she beat at her thighs and stomach as she tried to ward off the pain and hold back the blood all at the same time.
As she wailed her eyes were darting all around the yard in disbelief. Then she saw O’Shea and she pointed a trembling finger at him. She started to walk towards him but she sagged to her knees and dropped onto the cobbles.
O’Shea stayed down in the mud as he crawled over to her. He took her head in his hands. Her whole body was trembling.
‘Irish! You bastard ... you ... was it you?’
‘For God’s sake,’ O’Shea snapped. ‘What do you mean was it me?’
‘Cerys ... where’s my sister?’ Her breath came in desperate gulps.
‘She’s all right. I saw her running away. She got away. But where’s my boy? Where’s Adam?’
‘Safe,’ Bethan nodded. ‘He’s with Rhianne. There’s a secret cupboard under the stairs. No one will find him there.’
Her eyes rolled and blood filled her mouth. She coughed as she gripped O’Shea’s hand. ‘Why did you ...?’
‘As God’s my witness!’ O’Shea wiped her mouth with his sleeve. ‘On my son’s life, I had nothing to do with this.’
Boots came crunching across the cobbles and a bayonet pressed against O’Shea’s neck. A soldier ran over to Gareth, pulled him onto his back and prodded him with his foot. More soldiers gathered around Bethan and O’Shea.
An officer barged his way through and took a closer look.
‘Shit!’ He took off his cap and wiped his brow with a handkerchief.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
The amount of five star reviews, like this one from S J Mogg
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent wartime thriller
Dark September is a gripping tale of a man’s struggle to protect his son during the war. Brendan has written it in a style that grips you from the start and the twists and turns along the way keep you on your toes. I read this book very quickly as I did not want to put it down. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a book that takes you on a journey with the main character and makes you feel that you are there with him. Thoroughly intriguing and an excellent plot.
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I was born in Tralee, Ireland and now live in Newport, South Wales.
I was blessed to have been raised in one of the most beautiful places on God’s earth and, as was usual back in the day, part of a family of eight children and a huge extended bank of relations, so we were never short of company and entertainment. We were lucky to be able to spend our young years playing on the many wonderful beaches that surrounded us and were all within a bicycle ride from our house.
A chance meeting with a beautiful Welsh lady meant a huge step-change and I ended up here in Wales with two wonderful daughters who have encouraged and critiqued my work on many occasion, but always with good humour and affection.
One of the highlights of my childhood years was spending a few weeks in Listowel, Co Kerry, where my uncle Moss Scanlon had a Harness Maker’s shop. It was a magnet for all sorts of colourful characters, and it was there that my love of storytelling was kindled by the likes of John B. Keane and Bryan MacMahon, who often wandered in for a chat and bit of jovial banter.
The numerous short stories I’ve written are based on those characters and have been published in various anthologies and eMags over the years.
I have self-published twenty of them in a collection called Dreamin’ Dreams with Amazon.com.
My first novel, a thriller set in Wales during WW2, is called
Gallows Field is my second thriller and is also set in WW2, only this time in Ireland.
A Pale Moon Was Rising is a follow up thriller involving Eamon Foley again.
Footsteps is my latest thriller.
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