Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Prisoner of Parison

The third novel in my fantasy trilogy the Rombuli Saga : The Prison Of Parison by Eddie Gubbins.

Edward and his friends had gone. Now all that was left was for the army to retreat back to the Alskar River. Grand Master Silker the commander of the army had said," We do not have enough trained soldiers to do anything about a direct attack on the enemy. With odds of twelve to one, we can do nothing to ultimately stop their advance. All we can do is hope that the magicians Nelvask and Latask can hold them up with their power at the Alskar River. The other thing we can do is leave some people behind their lines to harass their backs and hit their supply lines with mind communicators to supply us with intelligence. I have to admit it is not much of a strategy but it is the only one I can com up with at such short notice. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I know it is really only a delaying tactic, hoping that something better will turn up. I can see little hope of it succeeding."
All the allies deep down know that the strategy is suicidal. They reason that it is all that can be done until somebody leads a group to Parison to rescue  the prisoner Tulka. He is the leader of the magician's faction called the Covenent but has been imprisoned by the Black elves.
With his powerful magic, the remnants of the Covenent, Edward Eastland and Nelvask there might be a chance of confronting the Black Elves and their magic. The only problem is they have to find Edward Eastland who has disappeared.
The Elves of the Golden City stir in their forest hideaway on hearing that their banished enemies the Black Elves have returned. Edward Eastland had confronted their attitude to the outside world when he had been taken to the Golden City. They reluctantly agree among themselves to help the humans in their fight with the Black Elves.
Will there need to be a frontal attack on Parison or would they be best to undertake a clandestine mission?
The situation is desperate but where is Edward Eastland the most powerful human magician? The enemy appears to have much stronger magic and a larger army.
Will Nelvask find Edward Eastland in time for him to help in rescuing Tulka? Will the King of the Elves of the Golden City make the King's Call to summon the legendary dragons to his aid?
Old enmities have to be submerged in order to fight a greater evil but will old grudges come to the surface and hinder the mission to stop the Black Elves?

This novel explores the need at times to put previous differences aside if confronted with a greater evil. There re many situations in the world at present where this principle applies.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Call of the Sea

The final page of my semi-autobiographical novel:
Tales From the Sea by Eddie Gubbins
available from Amazon, creratespace and smashwords as both a paperback and for downloading as an ebook/

The Call of the Sea

The sea is calling, always calling
Even when the sailor has long left voyaging behind.
The sea calls, ever calls,
Over the noise of this sometimes dreadful life.
To sail away , to leave this life behind,
But to where?
That is what adds to the thrill.
Let the voyage be long or short,
Let the oceans be calm or fierce,
In the urge to sail away,
Lies man's eternal quest
For something new.
Why oh why does man always strive after the new
When accepting the present would save a lot of heart ache.
It has long been a mystery to me but,
More than in any other profession,
The sea  offers a greater chance to satisfy this need.
The sailor never arrives
Because each new port is a stepping stone to the next
And on to the next
Until the nomadic lifestyle grows too much.
It maybe that the sailor observes other people
Settling into a pattern of life which brings rewards
Such things as family and home,
Anchored to other views of living
Rather than constantly on the move.
So the sailor leaves the sea
And puts down roots.
Or does he?
The sound of a seagull screaming ,
The wind moaning around the roof of his house 
The sound of waves lapping on the shore
Will awaken in the hidden recesses of his mind
The longing to feel the excitement once more
As the ship goes silent,
Ready to leave for the sea.

The Return of the Exiles

Following his return to Parison, Edward Eastland realises the Empire was disintegrating. His sworn enemy Latask the Covenenter is asking for help which Edward reluctantly agrees to provide. There had been no communication with the Parison for three years. People reported that strange creatures had been seen. Sending troops to investigate has proved futile. As soon as they crossed the border of Sandaria, nothing has been heard of them again. The plan they concoct is to hold onto Rombuli while somebody found out what was happening elsewhere.
Edward is given the task of finding the Walloonian army at a place called Bryants Ridge in order to contact two Covenenters. Going on this trek means he has to leave his new wife Kitty. He is to be accompanied by her brother Boric and his friend Tag. In the event, they becomes cut off from Rombuli. With his friends, he sets out to find his way back home by a circuitous route.
Edward wonders whether his powers, magic as Tag calls it, will help him to keep them safe. Will he have to learn quickly the extent of his powers? Are there forces with greater powers than him waiting to prevent him reaching his goal? During the journey, will his friends keep following his lead no matter the dangers they encounter? He has to suppress these doubts when he leaves.
As they set out they have to face the possibility that the Empire will no longer exist when the get back home.

Available from or Amazon as a paper back. Amazon as an ebook for downloading to most electronic readers.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Dealing with ISIS

I watch the television with horror as the ISIS forces take over more of Syria and Iraq. Not only that but the barbarians destroy treasures which have lain for centuries. This is done in the name of religion but most of their other religious adherents do not believe in what they are doing.
A question which has nagged at the back of my mind has now taken shape. Has not the time come for the rest of the world to join together to rid the planet of this scourge. I know there will be difficulties with this concept. It will mean drawing into alliances such former enemies like Iran and President Assad. There comes a time when enmities have to be put aside for the greater good.
This is one of the themes of my fantasy novels The Rombuli Saga.
In The Teacher of the Rombuli by Eddie Gubbins, Edward Eastland lives in Alskar Province of Rombuli under the heel of the Parison Empire. During his struggles to assert the rights of the Rombuli people he comes across the evil sect called Covenent. They are his enemies but when the Empire is disintegrating under the magic of the black elves, he has to agree to align himself with his enemies. He reasons that old enmities have to be sacrificed in the face of a greater evil.
The Rombuli Saga by Eddie Gubbins.
Book 1  The Teacher of the Rombuli
Book 2   The Return of the Exiles
Book 3   The Prisoner of Parison

All available through Amazon as paperbacks and for downloading as an ebook.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Christianity and gay rights.

Once more the question of christian beliefs and gay rights has raised its head. It is a very complex question as the Belfast case of the baker testifies. Many christians believe deeply that homosexuality is wrong. They do believe sincerely that they have been instructed in the bible to uphold this view.
That stance is not held by all christians though. It has been debated at length in my church with many different stances taken by the members. I have always wondered at the idea that there has been no development in christian understanding. Every Sunday we sit and listen to a sermon which interprets bible passages in the light of modern knowledge. We know far more about homosexuality and why people are homosexual now. If we apply Jesus' instruction to love our neighbour, then we should open our arms to homosexuals.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Sea

I spent a few days with my sister by the sea. Walking along the coast with the sound of the waves breaking on the beach and the smell of seaweed brought back all thoughts of my previous life. It is strange after spending my childhood near the sea and then after leaving school spending twelve years as an officer in the British Merchant navy, I should then move to a place as far away from the sea as one can get in the UK. My children have always laughed that whenever we visited relatives living near the sea, we had to go and walk along a beach before going on to the relative's house. Even now whenever I board a ship I feel at home. 
My life at sea between 1957 and 1969 has been used as the basis for an autobiographical novel called 
Tales From The Sea

In its pages the reader will meet the characters with whom I sailed and their antics both on board and ashore. There are the funny incidents and the tragic. They will experience nights ashore and visit through my eyes many of the  places I visited. I tell of the different ships, old and new as they plough across the oceans carrying the products of the world. Throughout the pages there is the constant sound and smell sea and its dangers. The sea can be angry or benevolent bringing violent storms which toss the ship around or flat calm lazy days. 
This is the call of the sea summed up in the poem that starts chapter one.

The Sailor’s Mistress

When the cargo is loaded and all falls quiet
The sea itself is calling,
Beckoning the sailor out there beyond the dock.
His mistress is waiting
Where the river meets the sea.
He has no real knowledge of what her reaction will be
When he sails out to meet her.
She may greet him in a calm, balmy mood,
Like a gentle lover entwining him in her arms,
Leaving him refreshed and happy when they part.
It might be that she is angry
And will meet him with unmatched violence
A violence that beats upon the senses
And leaves the lovers drained and exhausted,
Ready to rush apart,
Ready to find a place of peace and quiet
Not the feeling of complete satisfaction.
Like all lovers, the sea and the sailor
Will never quite know what moods will greet them when they meet
Or how the mood can change very quickly.
This is the excitement of the sea.
Every time a ship leaves port,
The sailor approaches that love
With a mixture of exhilaration and apprehension.
Will they together make beautiful love under a clear blue sky
Or will they fight?
It is not for the sailor to subdue the sea
But to live with her moods
In the hope that he can survive.
The sea is calling, always calling
As a lover calls.

Tales From The Sea by Eddie Gubbins is available from Amazon and as a paperback and Amazon for downloading as an ebook for all e readers.

Friday, 8 May 2015

VE Day

There bis a great deal of publicity about the seventieth anniversary of VE Day. The serving military and merchant navy personnel returned home as heroes and happy. This might be the official propaganda but it is not a true picture. Many returned home traumatised and effected deeply by the friends they had seen killed. Then many found that they had fought for country only to find when they returned as heroes that all the best jobs had gone to those who stayed behind sitting out the war returning home each night. Having saved the world they found the country no longer wanted them. This happened to my father. When he returned i was four and I could not accept him in my home. His medals were sent to him in a brown envelop without even a thank you. What happened has stayed burnt in my mind and I used this incident in my novel An Ordinary Life.

 What follows are the relevent paragraphs.
“ This is one of my legitimate enterprises,” Mr. Hunter replied smiling and spreading his hands on the desktop. “ You go ahead and declare it. The fee will appear in the books of Hunt Enterprises as a legitimate payment. Any future advice I might ask you to give will go through the books no matter what the subject. Changing the subject. Why does your father not come to the remembrance day parade?”
Tom was taken by surprise by the change of subject and he felt his anger rising. “ That is none of your business.”
Tom was about to stand up but Mr. Hunt waved him back into his chair.
“ It was meant as a civil question,” Mr. Hunt stated bluntly. “ I know your father was in the army during the war. He was a gunner in Italy and fought at Monti Casino very bravely from what I gather.”
“ How do you know this?” Tom asked equally bluntly.
“ You are an intelligent man, Tom Houseman,” Mr. Hunt’s expression was bland. “ In my line of business, do you think I would let anybody into my organisation without trying to find out something of their background? Why does your father not come to the Remembrance Day parade or to the Legion Club? “
“ I don’t really know,” Tom observed choosing his word carefully. “ All I do know is that when he came home, I was five years old and could not really remember him. To me, our family was my mum, my brother and I. All I had ever seen was a photo of my dad on the mantle piece. My mum used to sigh every time she cleaned it and tell me it was my father. When dad came home, I hid myself in the toilet and would not come out. He had to break the lock in the end to get me out. For years I never got on with my father and even now we are a bit distant to each other. I think part of the reason why he never goes near other service people was his resentment at missing his boys growing up. Then there was the work. He went away, fought in the war and watched his friends all die outside Monti Casino when his gun was blown up. He was in hospital for six months after the war and could not have any more children. When he finally got back, all the best jobs were taken up by those who had stayed behind. He was in and out of work for a while after the war until he found a job in the docks. Finally, I can still remember this although at the time I did not take too much notice of it. They sent his medals to him in a brown paper envelope with out even a thank you note. He threw them into the fire and swore that he would have nothing to do with them ever again. Mum fetched them out and keeps them hidden in her jewellery case.”
Mr. Hunter was silent for quite a while after that. “ I know how he felt,” he said in a quiet voice. “ That is one of the reasons why I ended up doing what I did. I was in the Royal Navy during the war. When it was all over, I took up this line of work because I was good at organising things. Getting back to my look into your background. I know you were recommended by Derek but even the most sophisticated of us can be fooled. Lets face it, Derek is not the most cultured or sophisticated of men. A very loyal and competent man but not cultured. Have you ever been to the opera?”

An Ordinary Life by Edmund Gubbins

Money laundering is illegal. Even Tom Houseman knows that. He, as an academic, makes a distinction between helping somebody to set up legitimate business and the source of the money.
The novel follows the life of Tom Houseman. From his early childhood on the edge of a hard council estate to eminent Professor with a worldwide reputation and great wealth. The story explores the manner in which most people regard themselves as honest and law abiding although there are times and circumstances when they ignore the rules of behaviour or of some moral code. These people justify their actions by ignoring their conscience or making excuses for their behaviour. In extreme cases they give the impression that morality is not an issue in their case.
Tom Houseman has a boyhood friend called Derek from the council estate and, though their paths diverge after junior school, he stays loyal to his friend. Derek becomes the right hand man of the criminal Mr. Big and introduces Edward. During his life, Edward accepts opportunities presented by his friends and his brother. These enhance both his standing in society and his wealth. All the time, he ignores and denies the moral and legal implications of taking advantage of these offers. As time passes, he has to accept the implications of his choices.
Will he finally have to face these hard decisions or will he sail serenely on living, to him, this ordinary life?

Available from Amazon and as a paperback.
From the Kindle store or Amazon as an ebook for downloading to all electronic readers.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

British election

I sit and wonder at the seeming ignorance of both the politicians and the media commentators over the prospect of no one party having a majority of MPs. It is what happens in most democracies round the world. I know it is not supposed to happen with the first passed the post system but the political landscape is changing. There will have to be an acceptance by both politicians and commentators that it is the ability to command a majority on the queens speech which lays out the proposed legislative programme that is important not the number of seats a party has gained. Compromise is the name of the game.
I notice once more that a bank having got us into this mess will not accept any responsibility or control. Mr Camreon is right to say it is ordinary people who reaped the financial storm caused by the almost criminal behaviour of bankers but they have not suffered. What makes me angry is that he has done nothing to make things difficult for his mates in the city except what has been demanded by the Lib Dems.
Friday is going to be interesting. The danger is that Nicola Sturgeon as an outsider to Parliament will try to play a part in any negotiations.
It will be interesting.

Monday, 4 May 2015

A Legacy From Mary

A Legacy From Mary, a thriller by Eddie Gubbins

Ken Flood vowed he would never again have anything to do with Commander Sturgess or help his brother as he had done before. Then his friend, collaborator on research and a few times lover Mary is killed in a car crash. His research assistant is killed in a mugging or so it appears. Helping her parents clear her flat of her academic work suspicion grows in his mind that her death was not accidental. He realises the connection of the two events is a country called Mengmbwi. Mary has been there to run short courses and Joshua is Mengambwian. When he tells his brother Norman of his suspicions, he is drawn back into the murky world Commander Sturgess inhabits. Once more his life is in danger and he gets the feeling he is being manipulated like a puppet. 

Following are the first few pages of A Legacy From Mary

Chapter 1

" And so my country is in crisis," the speaker said to the listeners sitting on the rows of sloping benches in the lecture theatre.
  They were silent, their attention focused on the speaker as he came to the final passionate ending to his lecture. The eyes of the thirty odd people in the room hardly noticed the drab concrete pillars, the grey painted steel beams criss crossing the ceiling or the dusty curtains over the windows. Through the floating dust particles in the beam of the slide projector, they had witnessed second hand the scenes of pollution and the poverty in Mengambi as the speaker flashed images onto the white screen. Mostly in stillness, they had sat through the talk of the evident contrast in the lives and the riches of those who had the power to the poverty all around of most of the people. The speaker had shown them in images on the screen, the  strutting  confidence of the army and the British style uniforms of the officers.  He pointed out the soldiers in their smart uniforms pushing people out of their way and mixing with the rich and powerful. This was the Mengambi he was trying to convince them was a reality. Not the propaganda put out by the Government of his country which appeared to show happy and prosperous people living in ideal conditions.. 
Now the audiences whole attention was on the speaker.  A hush filled the room as the speaker  paused to gather his final thoughts. The overhead light now focused on the speaker at the front of the lecture theatre as the projector was turned off. 
" The wealth brought to our country by the oil is shared between the leaders and the oil companies. Water flings itself at the sky in the arid north where they have set up a capital while my people cannot get clean water to drink. The roads in the north  are pathed and smooth while in the south they are pot holed and dangerous. The questions we have to ask ourselves are ' When are my country men to have justice, to have a fair share of the wealth of the country? When will my people be able to live without  fear of the knock on the door at night if they speak out against their injustice?  When will the corruption  which favours the few, end so that the many can live proper lives? ' "
" The answer to these questions is obvious to me and my fellow countrymen who oppose the Government. All the things  we crave will only come about, and proper democracy be put in place in Mengambi, with the help of the rest of the world. Therefore I would like to end my talk by appealing to you all to raise your voices against the gangsters who control my country, to protest to your government if they support the regime, to not co-operate if asked to participate in any activities which are controlled by the government or by the oil companies. Please, even if the money is attractive, stay at home. One day we will be free, we will all be able to participate in the running of our country and we will be able to say what we like without fear of being gunned down if somebody does not like what we have  said."
" Thank you all for coming and I hope I have at least opened your eyes to what is happening in my country."
The speaker smiled at the audience in acknowledgement of the applause from the lecture room as he gathered his papers together. Most of the people here, he thought wryly to himself, are on my side anyway but maybe they can help by spreading the word. The crowd in the room stood and stretched to ease aching muscles, speaking quietly to their neighbour before leaving for the bar as was traditional after meetings of the international affairs society.
Ken Flood, one of the speaker Joshua Bengsali's Ph.D supervisors, walked down the steps to the front from his seat in the lecture theatre and waited patiently for the few people who wanted to talk to speaker to have their say and  leave. When Joshua was alone, Ken shook his hand, smiling in greeting.
" Thanks Josh. You have given me something to think about even though from what we have talked about before, I was well aware of what was happening in Mengambi. What I can do to help as one individual, I have no idea at the moment but I expect I will think of something in due course. My problem is that Mengambwi is not a place I have ever had an offer of consultancy, so I can't refuse to go. That to me is the most powerful objection we academics can make. If we refuse to take students from your country, it would stop people like you coming to the U.K. to study. That is our problem which we have to overcome somehow."
" At the least you can tell everybody you meet what you heard from me tonight,"  Josh smiled back, as though sending light beaming into the gloomy room. " Some of your friends might listen to you even if they don't take any notice of what I say."
" Come on mate, lets go to the bar," Ken said, as Josh finished stuffing his papers and slides into a briefcase. " I'll buy you a drink before you go home. It will do us good to talk about Mengambwi, no matter how depressing, rather than your research for once. You never told me before tonight that your father had been jailed for criticising the regime. How does your family cope with him in jail and no money coming in?"
" They get some financial help from other Mengambwians who feel the same way they do about the government. There are some foreign charities who help as well so, in fact, they are not too badly off." Joshua replied as they walked out of the lecture hall. " Its my sister I feel sorry for and worry about. She is under house arrest because she protested outside the State Governor's house about my father. All she did was stand there with a placard but they said it was subversion. Like with my father, the judges are on the side of the government, hence her house arrest." 
The bar was crowded, noisy and smelt strongly of beer. They found a relatively quiet corner after negotiating the rather sticky floor. Soon after Josh and Ken arrived, they were joined by a number of their friends and colleagues soon forming a little discussion group. The conversation was at first of Mengambi and what Josh had told them but it soon drifted to research, lecturing and university gossip. 
On his way back from the bar with some drinks after they had been there a while, Ken almost bumped into two black men standing trying to hear what Joshua was saying. The two glared at Ken as he brushed by, making an obvious gesture of displeasure in the way they smoothed down their jackets as though Ken had creased the cloth. Both men were broad shouldered and big built as though they worked out in a gym to keep fit. One had a round face with big ears beside his tight curly hair. He showed large teeth when his mouth pulled back in a hard smile he aimed at Ken. The other was slimmer with a longer face, close together eyes, a small moustache and longer hair. His eyes did not smile but gazed at Ken in a blank unfriendly way. The two men were dressed in suits and ties which was rather out of place in the bar surrounded as they were by mostly students and lecturers dressed very casually.
After a few drinks, Joshua picked up his documents case and said goodnight to his friends and colleagues. As he turned to say goodnight to Ken, his eyes focused on something behind Ken's back. A look of fear which he  quickly tried to hide, crossed his face. As he was looking directly at Joshua ready to say goodbye, Ken could not miss that look of fear even though Joshua was quick to hide it. Curious, Ken turned his head and glance back over his shoulder. The two black men were standing right behind him looking directly at Joshua with narrowed cold eyes. A shiver of apprehension rolled down Ken’s spine.
" Who are those men?" Ken asked as he turned back to Joshua." I have never seen them in the University before."
" They look like Mengambians to me but I have not seen them before either. Talks like mine tend to attract many of my fellow countrymen who are living in third country and have nothing to do with the University. " Joshua said this with a guarded expression on his face.Seeing that look, Ken suspected Joshua knew the men or had at least seen them before. If Joshua wanted to ignore the men, Ken decided it was none of his business.
" Do you want me to give you a lift back to your house?" Ken asked impulsively. " It is not too far out of my way and it would save you walking home in the dark."
Joshua smiled but declined." No thank you Ken. I will walk. It is not very far and the fresh air will do me good. I usually like to have a little time on my own after giving a speech because it helps me clear my mind."
" Please yourself," Ken said with a shrug. " I expect I will see you sometime tomorrow."
" Yes about eleven after your lecture. You promised you would go over my last attempt at my analysis of the surveys I undertook," Joshua said.
" OK, eleven in the morning then." Ken waved as Joshua left. 
The two men who had been staring at Joshua had disappeared when Ken looked round the bar.  He joined a heated debate about whether it was right for students to have to pay some of their fees and forgot they had been there.
Outside the building where the lecture had been held, it was dark, and rather cold. In the spring air, flurries of drizzle blew on the wind and the pavement was wet and slippery. Joshua pulled up the collar of his coat as he left the relative warmth of the building, put one hand in his coat pocket, gripped the documents case tightly under the other arm and set out walking in the direction of his home. Close to the college, he passed quite a few people hurrying through the night to get inside and out of the drizzle. After a while he turned off the main road, entering a street with a park on one side and very few widely spaced street lights, making the pavement along which he was walking rather dark. In this street there were no passersby, just the occasional cat or night bird to keep him company.
Joshua was very familiar with this route, taking it as he did almost every day to get to the university from his room. As he walked, his thoughts strayed over the time he had been in Plymouth. It was now  two years and he had watched the seasons pass twice in that time. Winter so cold at first to him in contrast to what he had been used to in Mengambi though there had been hardly any snow. Then spring with its flowers and a hint, or so everybody told him, of the warmth of summer. The two spring times he had been in Plymouth had, to him, seemed still really cold. Summer had come and he had at last been a little warmer though it was only on a few days when it had felt like home. Finally autumn and the shock that it would soon be cold again. Tonight as he walked  with his collar pulled up round his ears to ward of the cold and damp, he next thought about his home land, about the images his talk had conjured in his mind. He reminded himself of his family so far away, wondering how his mother was faring without him to help now that he was in England and his father in jail. In his mind he could see his home, the few rooms crowded with his family, his mother, his brother and his three sisters. 
Once more he imagined the street outside his Port Claymore home, full of pot holes which ruined the cars which a few people had managed to obtain.  Down these streets there was running unclean water because the sewers were inadequate for the number of people using them. He remembered back to the struggle he had had as he tried to study in that house and the joy, not only for him but for all the street, when he had gained a scholarship to go to a better school. Because of his background and the advantages he had gained from his education, he had always thought he owed it to his parents, his brother and sisters to spread the word of what it was like to live in Mengambi. This is why, despite the seeming indifference of the vast majority of the British population, he continued to give his talks in the hope that something would spark a response.
As he walked past the park entrance lost in thought, he heard footsteps following him along the road but did not take any notice. The attack came unexpectedly as a man  rushed him from out of the gloom of the park gate and the footsteps which had been following were suddenly very close as they hurried towards him. For a moment Joshua thought that somebody was coming to help but this thought was quickly stifled. As he turned to face his attacker, Joshua felt the back of his legs hit with something hard, like a baseball bat. Turning quickly, he grabbed at his attacker but the pain exploded in his head as one of the men hit him on the forehead. Despite his efforts to stay upright, Joshua was falling towards the pavement as a red mist started to fill his eyes. Hitting the pavement hard which knocked the breath out of his body, Joshua tried to get out of the way but there were two of them and no matter which way he turned there was always one of them confronting him. He desperately tried to rise but each time he almost got to is knees one of the men pushed him to the ground once more. As loud has he could manage, he called out for help but there was only silence surrounding his struggle. All the time he struggled to rise, the men were hitting him, kicking him and pushing him around in the dirt.
Then  an overwhelming pain exploded in his chest and he could not breath. He was sinking into a dark hole with no light and try as he might he could not escape. All went dark as he lapsed into unconsciousness and the pain was gone.
Joshua's two attackers bent over the body, pulled out his wallet, scattering the papers over the road but putting the money in their pocket. They lifted his fingers and pulled off his rings. Finally they took his watch and his coat leaving him lying in a pool of blood as they disappeared down the road abandoning him to the mercy of the cold and damp.
Later that evening, he was found by a woman and man returning from the pub around the corner and they called for an ambulance. When he was examined in the hospital, he was dead.

A Legacy From Mary by Eddie Gubbins is available as a paperback from Amazon and and as an ebook for downloading to e-readers from Amazon or Kindle.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Brotherly Love by Eddie Gubbins

Brotherly Love a thriller by Eddie Gubbins

This is a story about fear, of somebody out of his depth in a world made strange to him by events he could not fully comprehend. It is a novel about Ken Flood, living a mundane, steady life as an academic in Plymouth but is pulled by family loyalty along paths of experience which would be best left unexplored. Along the way there are chance encounters with people who through friendship are willing to help. Though scared to death, Ken somehow finds hidden depths behind his placid exterior and keeps going when to give up would be the easier option. The novel explores the conflicts which arise when an ordinary people is forced to choose between family loyalty and obligation to the wider public. Would you question what is being asked of you by a family member who you had always thought was honest or just help in any way you could? What happens if the activity you are being asked to undertake looks very dodgy, if not criminal? The problem is Ken's brother, who Ken now believes after some time on the run, appears to be on the other side. Are there sides in the game Ken is forced to play? Which side is good and which evil? Who are the buddies in black hats? It is soon obvious to Ken that there are no sides in this game  and friend and foe are not easily distinguished. The novel follows Ken's quest to answer these questions to its ultimate conclusion.

Ken Flood lives a quiet life with his wife and two daughters in Plymouth, working as a lecturer in the University. He minds his own business and is relatively happy with life. Until, that is, his brother Norman arrives unexpectedly one day asking for help. Norman puts forward a proposition to Ken but which appears to Ken to verge on an attempt pull him into the murky waters on the edges of crime. Ken has to decide quickly whether to help his brother out of brotherly love or let his brother face his unknown pursuers alone? Reluctantly Ken agrees to help and soon finds himself outside the law, being chased by people he does not know, trying to deliver a mysterious package given to him by his brother to a man he has never met in London.

Ken's decision to help his brother sends Ken into hiding pursued by people he does not know, unable to call anybody a friend, holding onto information his brother told him was important but which Ken had no idea of the contents.

Here are the opening pages of the novel:

Chapter I

" Will James Gordon please report to the Trans Air desk!"
The echoing sound of the loudspeaker cut into the hubbub of noise from the passengers milling around the concrete concourse of the airport. People paused in their hurried passage across the terminal and stood listening to the announcement. Most passengers continued on their way as soon as they were sure that it did not concern them.
" Will James Gordon just arrived on flight TA234 please report to the Trans Air desk! We have a message for him." The voice, although still pleasant, sounded more urgent.
The relatively tall, broad shouldered man emerging from the customs hall as the announcement was made could not be mistaken for anything else but an Englishman. He was wearing a well cut dark suit, very shiny shoes and old fashioned horn rimmed spectacles set squarely on his nose. Looking hard at the floor as though to make sure it was clean, the man placed his travelling bag carefully on the ground at his feet and took off the spectacles, rubbed them vigorously with a large yellow cloth, put them back precisely on the bridge of his nose and peered short sightedly round the passenger hall for the Trans Air desk. Smiling slightly when he had located the source of the announcement, he picked up his bag and walked slowly through the crowds to the desk.
" I'm James Gordon, " he said to the girl behind the desk, his clipped accent and soft spoken words out of place among the loud, brash American voices of the other people near him by the desk seeking information or asking questions. " You had me paged over the public address system."
" Yes Mr. Gordon, we sure did," the girl replied with one of those sunshine smiles that only receptionists in the United States are able to achieve, giving the impression like no other place on earth that service is a pleasure, the customers welfare their only concern." We have a caller waiting for you on the line in booth four, which is over there by the end of the desk. Just go to the booth, pick up the phone and I will connect you. If you have any trouble with the line, you come right back over here and I will try to put you through again."
Gordon smiled at the girl and walked the few yards to the phone booth. Picking up the receiver in booth four, he waved to the girl on the reception desk. There was a click, some static on the line and then the cheery voice of the girl said, " You are through."
" Gordon!" he grunted into the phone, looking over his shoulder at the people passing through the concourse as though to check whether he was being watched. Satisfied that nobody was paying undue attention to him, James Gordon turned his attention to the voice on the other end of the telephone line.
" Good," a voice replied gruffly in his ear. " You have been booked into the Washington Hilton for the night. Go there like any other businessman. There will be a car booked in your name waiting for you in the morning at the hotel; all you have to do is ask at the hotel desk for the key. While in the hotel, you are to give everybody you speak to the impression that you are off to the mid west in the morning to meet some clients. In the morning, you will drive off from the hotel in the direction of Saint Louis. Once you are quite sure you are not being followed, head for New York, leaving the car near the airport in the usual spot. One of our men will pick it up and deliver it to the hire people in St. Louis as though you had driven it there from Washington. Once in the airport, you are to book onto the next available flight to Vienna. Once in Vienna, we will contact you and give you the details of your mission. I need not belabour the point that you must make sure you are not followed or recognised. In this you are on your own." The phone clicked and went dead.
Replacing the receiver, Gordon waved to the girl at the desk and went out of the arrivals hall to get a taxi. He spent the evening in Washington alone, drinking at the hotel bar and telling everybody who would listen that he was off to the mid west, giving the impression that he was a salesman but being deliberately vague about what he was supposed to be selling.
After breakfast, he paid his bill, collected the car keys and found the car that was waiting outside. Driving leisurely west, he stopped several times for coffee until he was satisfied that he had not been followed. Once certain, he headed for New York.
Leaving the car in the designated car park, he went into a bar and emerged a few minutes later dressed in jeans and a duffel coat, minus the horn rimmed glasses, with a soft travelling bag in his hand. He booked onto the next flight to Vienna with spare seats and sat in the departure lounge reading a magazine until the flight was called.  
Arriving in Vienna, Gordon collected a parcel that was waiting for him at the flight desk, stowed this away in his bag and took a taxi to a hotel in a rather run down part of the city. The hotel was not the best in town, consisting of draughty corridors and even older furniture but it fitted the image of a thrifty British tourist lacking adequate funds, which Gordon wanted to foster.
Carefully locking the door after a detailed surveillance of the corridor outside, Gordon checked over the room and looked out of the window at the street before he unwrapped the parcel he had collected at the airport. Laying the contents on the bed, he examined the automatic pistol, several clips of ammunition and several sheets of closely typed paper. After reading the notes, he tore them into small pieces and flushed them down the toilet. Fixing the gun onto a clip on his belt, he lay on top of the bed fully clothed and went to sleep.
His alarm wristwatch woke him in the semi darkness of evening and hardly pausing to wake up, he swung his legs off the bed onto the rather threadbare carpet. Stretching the kinks out of his body, he smoothed his hair, brushed down his clothes and, placing his bag on the bed, went out into the night.
Standing in the shadows of a shop doorway opposite the hotel, he carefully surveyed the street before hailing a passing taxi. Once he had given the driver his instructions, Gordon settled back in the seat and watched the night slide by the window. The taxi dropped him in a busy street and he walked at normal walking pace passed the bars and shops, stopping every so often to look into a shop window. Other people strolled passed; taking no notice of another rather shabbily dressed man out for an evening stroll.
Coming to a side street dimly lit by infrequent lights, he paused in doorway to light a cigar and glance up and down the street. Certain that he had not been followed, he walked purposely down the alleyway to a block of flats and into the entrance. Ringing a bell, he waited until a voice came out of the speaker, spoke himself and pushed the door inwards at the sound of a click. He paused briefly inside to let his eyes become accustomed to the light, walked up the stairs and along a passage checking the numbers on the doors as he passed. Finding the right number, he pushed the bell.
" Hello Jenny," he said as the flat door opened, pushing his gun hard into the girls stomach." Don't call out or do anything stupid or I will have to hurt you. You must know I wouldn't hesitate." Jenny backed into the room, her eyes narrow and watchful, her hands in full view of Gordon.
" I'm sorry I had to imitate Jack's voice just now," Gordon continued when they were inside the room," but I had to get in here and see him without putting you on your guard. All you have to do is sit on the settee with me until he gets back."
They sat on the settee, Jenny glowering at him, Gordon relaxed and silent as the time slowly passed, their ears straining to hear the sound of the buzzer which would signify the return of Jack. The silence hung in the air and after a time it seemed that they had been sitting together forever but when the buzzer sounded, Jenny jumped with fright. Gordon was the first to the button to activate the front door motioning Jenny to remain seated. Putting the lights on low, he walked over to the door and put the lock on the catch.
" Any sound out of you when Jack comes through the door and I will be forced to shoot," he said quietly to Jenny as he waited, tense and ready, behind and to the side of Jenny so that he could cover her and the door.
The door swung slowly open to reveal two men, one large and heavy, the other smaller and more athletic. The smaller of the two reacted instantly on seeing Gordon, his hand diving under his coat as he moved to the side but there was a plop and he slumped back against the wall, a red stain seeping through the cloth of his sleeve.
" Don't move!" Gordon growled to the other man, who obeyed by freezing into stillness, his hand only part way to his shoulder." Take the gun out slowly and throw it into the corner." The gun thudded onto the carpet to the right of Gordon but he did not take his eyes off the man in the doorway." Good boy. Now pull your friend inside and shut the door so that anybody passing cannot see into the room. We don't want innocent bystanders interfering do we?"
When he had propped his companion against the wall just inside the door, Jack looked at Gordon with naked hatred in his eyes." What shall I do with Joe?" he asked, looking down at the blood soaking the sleeve of his friend's suit.
" Christ Jack get a cloth and try to stem the blood before he bleeds to death!" Jenny cried, jumping up from the settee but sinking back when Gordon moved the gun in her direction with a glare that would have shrivelled a normal man.
" Jenny you are going to tie Jack up," Gordon ordered in a quiet tone, ignoring her look." Jack you sit on the floor near Joe and make her task easier."
Once Jack was securely bound to his satisfaction, Gordon produced two pairs of handcuffs from his coat pocket, placed one of these round an ankle and the other a wrist of Jenny and then secured her to the leg of a table. In this position, Jenny could just about reach Joe but when she tried, Gordon kicked her hand away.
Pulling up a chair, Gordon sat close to Joe and smiled crookedly at the three on the floor." Right!" Gordon said briskly." We will sit here and watch Joe bleed until you tell me where the package I came to collect is hidden." Gordon let his voice trail into silence, a silence punctuated by Joe's gasps and whimpers of pain." Well'?'
" You bastard!" Jack shouted but sank back as Gordon fired into the wall at his elbow.
" After Joe lapses into unconsciousness, I will have to start on Jenny," Gordon remarked, his voice calm and certain. He did not smile now but sat in the chair moving Joe's injured arm with his foot, causing Joe to cry out at the pain.
" It's taped behind the drawer of the desk in the corner over there," Jenny gasped pointing to a piece of furniture which had seen better days while her eyes pleaded for Jack to forgive her. Jack glared back at her but did not say anything.
Gordon pulled the drawer right out of the desk, scattering the contents across the floor as he turned it upside down. The package was taped to the rear just as Jenny had indicated. Smiling to himself, Gordon pulled the package from the back of the drawer, ripped off the tape which had been holding it in place and opened the top, spreading the items it contained onto the surface of the desk before examining closely each item in turn. Accepting Jenny's strangled affirmative when he asked if this was all there was, he replaced the items in the package, put it into his pocket and went to the door.
Turning to face them with his hand on the door handle, he smiled faintly and said in a quiet voice. " If I were you Jack, I would phone your boss rather than the local police because you may have difficulty explaining what you were doing in their country armed and undercover with a bleeding man on the floor of your flat."
Shutting the door quietly behind him, Gordon went out into the street, walking slowly back the way he had come as though he was an English tourist out for a stroll.

Brotherly Love available as a paperback from Amazon and For downloading as an ebook from kindle, amazon and

Friday, 1 May 2015

Running After Maria by Eddie Gubbins

Running After Maria by Eddie Gubbins

James Ashleigh lives the perfect life. Plenty of money, plenty of women and plenty of drink. Carefree, he is not tied to one place. He sails from port to port as a ships officer. Then he meets Maria in Finland and his life changes. Tied now to one woman no longer playing the game as his friend calls the chatting up of women. 
This novel charts the progress of those changes and the twisting path of James' life.

This is the opening lines of my tragic romantic novel, Running After Maria.

Chapter 1

Henri and I walked through the rest of the summer of my troubles, hand in hand, Helen, Alice and all the others forgotten. Close together, our hands clasped, we strolled along golden beaches by the sea to the sound of waves breaking and the screech of sea gulls. At other times we walked across fields and through the woods of England's green and pleasant land. The warmth of the air and the brightness of the sunshine, for that is how I remember that summer, resulting in warm sunny days and clear warm nights, making our senses tingle and the blood run excitedly through our veins. We lunched whenever we could in some isolated thatched country pub by tinkling streams or village greens. Sometimes we picnicked by the sea ignoring any other people by becoming enclosed in our world. For me, time appeared to stand still or to go very slowly as we focused all our attention on enjoying each others company.
Henri’s mother and father welcomed me into their house, shyly at first but soon with quiet  confidence. Without any fuss, Henri came home with me to meet my mother who soon  relaxed in her company. The soothing influence of Henri enabled me to relax and I had visited the library at the  college where I was studying. This was something I had not done since starting the course of study for my Master’s Certificate in the spring of that year. Often during those days, I would return home with an arm load of books to find Henri waiting for me, sitting talking to my mother in the kitchen of my mother’s house. 
When we were alone together, we seemed to be talking all the time but I cannot now remember what we talked about. Under the calming impact of Henri and the approving gaze of my mother, my studies progressed to the point where I had reached the place  in the syllabus I should have reached by the end of term, weeks before. At that point, Henri and I had even more time for each other because I left my books on the shelves in my room ready for the start of the next term. Thus the summer passed and I hardly thought anymore about Maria and Karl.

Running After Maria by Eddie Gubbins is available as an ebook through Kindle and as a paperback through Amazon. It is also available as a paperback from