A Relative Invasion – a fateful rivalry
A trilogy. Set in 1937-1950, a fateful rivalry between two South London boys mirrors the emotions which led to the second world war: envy, desire for new territory, lust for power.
Written for adults but suitable for teens. Teachers, parents can use Books 1 and 2 to enrich Year 6 and Year 9 curriculum work on WWII and evacuation. Teachers might also use them for PSE because of the issues in the narrative: bullying, honesty, resilience and for older teens, Book 3 highlights long-term outcomes
The first draft of this work was runner up in the Yeovil Prize (novels) 2011. It also reached the editor’s desk of Harper Collins’ writers’ site, Authonomy and therefore won a full review. Extract: “…a powerful and compelling narrative with strong and relatable characters, and offers an evocative portrayal of England’s war-time home front. Billy is immediately sympathetic and Minett perfectly captures a child’s viewpoint, adding a gentle and honest humour to the story. The mounting tensions between Billy and Kenneth parallel the rising agitation in Europe …”
Book One INTRUSION. War threatens at the very shores of home . . . with ruthless Hitler in Europe and devious Cousin Kenneth at the doorstep.
Intrusion has been awarded a B.R.A.G medallion (Book Readers’ Appreciation Group USA)
In 1937 five-year-old Billy meets his cousin, the idolised, frail and manipulative Kenneth. As the adults worry about war emerging in Europe, the slow burn of a fateful rivalry develops between the boys. With emotionally distant parents, bullying uncle and manipulative cousin, Billy starts to stutter. The one thing that upholds Billy’s spirits is the Cossack sabre, owned by his father’s work colleague. Once seen, never forgotten, the sabre becomes an icon of power – but possibly, destruction.
Historical Novel Society Review. “…the author very skilfully portrays the misery of being bullied…. “thoroughly enjoyed the book. The reserch is meticulously done with convincing historical detail.”
“Very strong writing this; a book pleading to become a film.” Grady Harp, HALL OF FAME, TOP 100 REVIEWER, VINE VOICE
Book Two INFILTRATION
Two boys, one family, a world at war – the invasion continues
Now it’s autumn 1940. Relentless bombing in London means evacuation once again. Billy is billeted with an elderly couple. Though happy in their care, sinister cousin Kenneth – who is billeted beside Billy’s mother and sister – haunts his life. Billy’s imaginary power from the precious Cossack sabre, now comes only from its photograph.
A catastrophe causes a new invasive threat from Kenneth. This one will affect both their futures permanently. What’s more, the precious photograph goes missing. Can Billy become a hero when his parents are not?
Infiltration tells of childhood resilience in the face of war, rivalry and parenting ignorance. It follows a boy’s growth into personal responsibility.
Historical Novel Society review: “A delightful read.”
Post-war, adolescence, austerity – the fall-out
Book Three was awarded a Discovering Diamonds.
1945. The VE party is over and so is evacuation. Bill must tear himself away from his firm attachments in the village and face a new life in post-war Wandsworth. Uncle Ted had returned from service, but in what state? And how have Bill’s grandparents fared through the blitz and just recently, the dreaded VIs and VII rockets?
So much is in ruins, not least the life Bill had known as a child. One area remains wonderfully stable: supportive Mr Durban and the exciting icon of his Cossack sabre.
Kenneth, however, is even more present. Now adolescent, the cousins are developing their separate skills and identities but the home context is claustrophobic. Their rivalry increases in intensity, culminating in a fearful crisis. All the family’s lives change forever. It’s a terrible fall-out. Is it Bill who must take responsibility and find a fair way forward?