I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook which recounts a son’s journey to uncover the story of his parents service in war-time special forces. Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate and to Unbound for my review copy.
Watch the trailer for Monopoli Blues here
Praise for Monopoli Blues:
‘Lucidly written, deeply researched and extremely well-structured … a remarkable act of imagination and filial homage’ William Boyd, New Statesman
‘Powerful … this is the reality of war behind the headlines’ Jonathan Dimbleby
‘A gripping tale of wartime exploits, an unlikely love story, and a son’s journey to discover his father’s secret war’ Joshua Levine, author of Dunkirk
About the Book
In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.
He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…
Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.
Format: Paperback (288 pp.) Publisher: Unbound
Published: 13th June 2019 Genre: History, Non-Fiction
Find Monopoli Blues on Goodreads
The book is clearly the product of painstaking research involving the piecing together of facts from a myriad of sources: contemporary accounts, personal interviews, archive records and historical works. And an unexpected treasure trove that provides a touching insight into the relationship between Tim Clark’s mother and father. I found the accounts of the trips made by Tim in an effort to recreate his father’s journeys particularly compelling.
Along the way, there are portraits of remarkable and colourful characters who served with the SOE; singular individuals whose former experiences ranged from big-game fishing, managing a rubber plantation manager or competing as a world-class athlete. Often the success of operations seems to have been determined by nothing more than charm, ingenuity and bravado – along with, of course, remarkable courage. There’s also fascinating information about the setting up of the SOE and the training of its operatives.
The authors create a compelling picture of the contrast between periods of boredom whilst waiting for operations to commence and intense moments of danger once they’d begun. Often these took place under cover of darkness never very far from the possibility of running into enemy troops and with dire consequences if captured. Not to mention the very chaotic situation they often found on the ground with rival factions of partisans competing for supplies. And one can’t forget the information vacuum endured by those waiting for news of their loved ones.
Monopoli Blues is a touching portrait of a loving relationship, a compelling account of wartime bravery and a fitting commemoration of, as Paddy Ashdown writes in his foreword to the book, ‘perfectly ordinary people’ who did extraordinary things. In its detailed account of SOE operations in Italy the book makes fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in military history and the events of WW2. However, the personal nature of the story makes it accessible to anyone.
I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Unbound, and Random Things Tours.
In three words: Painstakingly-researched, inspiring, compelling
About the Authors
Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.
Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly, initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel, was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point, was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.