The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES David Lawlor's Book: The Golden Grave. FREE from April 25th thru April 27th, 2014.
The Golden Grave
A Liam Mannion Story
Author: David Lawlor
1920 – Former British soldier turned republican fighter Liam Mannion is on the run with a price on his head. He looks up with old comrade Ernie Wood, who is being lured back to the battlefields on the Western Front in search of lost gold.
The source of the story is Liam’s former lover, Sabine Durer, who ran a soldier's bar close to the frontline. Blinded by thoughts of her and buried treasure, Ernie and Liam enlist three other ex-soldiers to find it.
. What starts out as a simple excavation soon becomes much more. Wartime memories and old rivalries are resurrected. The men discover that Sabine has not told them the whole story and that their lives are in danger, but who can you rely on when greed and lust cloud your judgment beneath Flanders' fields?
Flanders 6 June, 1917
Fournier checked the pressure gauge and then ducked low as another shell landed off to his right, sending clods of earth spouting skyward. Beside him, Moureau muttered an oath and hurled another shovel of coal into the firebox. They were at full speed – over seventy miles an hour – trying to outrun a barrage from the German lines. Fournier looked across at his fireman. Moreau grimaced as he scooped more coal from the tender and tossed it into the roaring blaze, moving back and forth, like some manic automaton. Twenty years working trains and the driver thought he’d seen everything…like the time he’d smashed into a herd of cows or when he’d derailed outside Paris, but never before had he been in a race for his life.
He checked the pressure gauge again – the needle was fixed at over two–twenty…way too high. Sooner or later something was bound to snap. He pushed the thought aside and leaned out from the fire plate, studying the track ahead. It was hard to see; the last glow of the evening sun had retreated from the advancing darkness so that now only the moon remained to light the landscape, catching on shattered tree trunks and hanging on the tangles of barbed wire that covered the earth like virulent ivy. Above him, a dark plume poured from the smoke stack and stretched out across the ruined, muddy fields of Flanders as the engine took them towards safety.
For the briefest of moments Fournier caught the fireman’s eye. Fear, regret, acceptance all stared back at him, and then it was gone and they were back to their nightmare. Two shells exploded on the left side of the track – closer this time.
‘Merde!’ whimpered Moreau, digging the shovel faster into the tender’s mountain of coal.
Fournier didn’t know which would crack first – the engine, his fireman or his own torn nerves. He was wrong about all three.
He saw the gap in the track about two hundred yards away. His hand immediately shut the regulator and he hit the brake. The train glided on a wave of sparks as it tried to slow; the tortured screech of its wheels competed with the noise of the exploding shells around them. In his heart he knew it was too late. His hand was white tight on the brake lever as his lips moved in prayer, knowing what was coming yet powerless to stop it. An image of his little girl formed in his mind, a cheeky smile beneath blonde curls, but the memory was lost when the engine slewed to the side, jerking him off his feet. It rolled down the embankment, turning over – a strange, gigantic animal wallowing in the mud; an animal now in its death throes.
Hot coals poured from the firebox door, scattering embers along the ground like a million fireflies in the night. The temperature soared inside the boiler, steel plate buckled and steam spewed from pipes sending shards of scorching metal into the shell-filled darkness.
But neither Fournier nor Moreau lived long enough to witness it; their flesh was punctured by the red hot metal that whirled through the air, lighting up the night as it joined the coloured flares and the belching artillery fire that rumbled in the distance sending terror and death into trenches full of quaking men.
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David Lawlor is Associate Editor with the Evening Herald newspaper in Ireland and has been writing features, reviews and working as a production journalist in national newspapers for 22 years.
David has written four novels and is currently working on his fifth. This is the first novel he has published. David lives in Greystones, Ireland, with his wife and four children.
Author's Book List
- A Story of Exile, Betrayal and Revenge
‘Peelers have a knack for hitting you where it hurts; broken nose, bruised ribs, a few loosened teeth...no more than a rapist deserved, Sergeant Coveney and District Inspector Webber had said. Proper order, too - except the lad was no rapist, and Webber knew it.’
It’s 1914 and Liam Mannion is forced into exile for a crime he didn’t commit. He flees Balbriggan, the only home he has ever known and travels to England, where he enlists and endures the torment of trench warfare in France. Five years later he’s back in England, a changed man, living in the shadow of his battlefield memories. Liam finds work in a Manchester cotton mill but prejudice and illness soon see him destitute. Starving and desperate, he enlists in a new military force heading to Ireland - the Black and Tans - and is posted to the very town he fled as a youth.
While he has been away Liam’s childhood friends have joined the republican cause, while his brother has allied himself to the Crown forces. Liam must wrestle with his own conflicted feelings about duty to the ruthless Tans and loyalty to his friends. The potent combination of ambition, patriotism and betrayal collide, forcing him to act as he comes face to face with the man who spread lies about him all those years before.
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