Source: Review copy
Publication: 26 September 2019 from Accent Press
The first book in a light-hearted historical adventure series set during the mid-twentieth century.
Follow the adventures of Cambridge historian and mountaineer Ernest Drabble as he travels to Cornwall to inspect the decapitated head of Oliver Cromwell – a macabre artefact owned by a Dr Wilkinson. Drabble only tells one person of his plans – Harris, an old school friend and journalist.
On the train to Cornwall, Drabble narrowly escapes death, and soon discovers that he has become embroiled in a pro-Nazi conspiracy headed by a high-status member of the British government… Meanwhile, Harris has been kidnapped and is being pressured for information…
In this race against time, what fate will meet Drabble, Harris and the head of Oliver Cromwell?
I am delighted to wish Alec Marsh a very happy Publication Day for his debut Drabble and Harris novel, Rule Britannia. In a cross between Dick Barton and the Boys Own Paper, Alec Marsh has penned a tale of derring-do; full of dastardly chaps in smart uniforms and pretty girls with more than a dash of pluck about them.
Ernest Drabble is an historian, though not unused to adventure. Recently returned from an arduous climbing expedition where he sadly lost his partner, he is looking forward to returning to Cambridge for a quiet, academic life.
Percival Harris is his friend. A journalist, whose nose for a story is greater than his ability to keep a promise to a friend not to publish it, Harris is usually to be found propping up the bar at his club, The Granville.
It is 1936. Stanley Baldwin is Prime Minister and the Government is wrestling with the news that King Edward VIII wants to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. Drabble receives a note from a Dr. Wilkinson, asking him to travel to Cornwall to inspect the severed head of Oliver Cromwell. Drabble is of course aware that after being posthumously executed at Tyburn, Cromwell’s head was severed from its body and its whereabouts lost for hundreds of years. Excited by the prospect of such a momentous find, Drabble confides in Harris, swearing him to secrecy, and heads off for Cornwall.
What follows is a tale of high adventure, lots of car chases, sharp faced men (and the odd nasty woman) and a political conspiracy designed to bring fascism to power in the most terrible of ways.
Part Indiana Jones, part Errol Flynn, Drabble will find himself pitted against some of the most dastardly villains in Britain as he fights to save the soul of the nation and rescue Harris from a terrible fate.
Verdict: Written with brio and a light touch humour, Marsh cleverly uses historical facts to pen an adventure story to gladden the hearts of fans of mild mannered historians with plucky hearts of fire.
Alec Marsh is the editor of Spear’s Magazine and was named Editor of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2008. He graduated from the University of Newcastle with a First in History and has gone on to write for the Daily Mail, The Times and the Daily Telegraph.