Here’s a small taste of Crow’s Song, my NEW WWII historical fiction book due for release in February.
Preorder kindle version here prior to Crow’s Song release on 21st February, 2022.
An Excerpt from Crow’s Song, Chapter 25, Taking the Heat…
The main character is Piet Verberne, a teenager who overheard his parents conversation the previous night:
Ma swings around. ‘Yes. What’s the matter?’
‘I heard you both, last night.’
As the words tumble from my mouth, they sound like an accusation, a criticism from an adult trapped inside a youth’s body. I am my father’s son. His words have crept into my mouth, and I blame my mother through no fault of her own. History’s repetition on a woman who loves me and carries the full burden of six mouths to feed. A wave of guilt washes over me as I hold my silence, horrified by my clumsy attempt to sound grown up.
Ma falters, weighing her response.
‘Trust me Ma, I’m old enough.’
‘Ignore whatever you think you heard,’ she instructs in a harsh whisper. ‘Forget you heard anything,’ she insists, her face blank, lips pressed tightly together. I can almost see her mind racing ahead, considering how she can unravel this serious breach of my father’s life-risking activities.
The downstairs bedroom door opens, and Pa walks into the room. He glances at Ma before his blue eyes rest on mine. Pale grey has washed over his exhausted face, his jaw outlined with dark stubble with dull pockets under his eyes.
‘You’re up early, Piet.’ Fatigue strains Pa’s voice. Or has something more terrible happened to him while he’s been missing?
‘Yes. I heard your voice last night.’ My parents stand together, regarding me seated at the table. Their eyes signal acknowledgement to one another before my father speaks again.
‘Listen Piet, we are in a very serious situation here with Nazi occupation. Things are far worse than you think.’
He frowns, clearly considering how far he should explain things to me. He has no idea Ma has already discussed his immediate problem and I maintain a blank expression to avoid causing more tension between them both.
I bite my bottom lip, not knowing what to say and bracing myself to tell him about Rebecca but how can I when he has the replacement of ID papers on his mind? I will get into trouble and embarrass my mother. I will let him talk first and if I get a chance, maybe I can explain my friend still hiding in the storage cupboard. Part of me cannot believe how stupid I’ve been. The risk I have taken with the entire family. I feel sick as my stomach churns.
Pa pulls back the chair opposite me and sits down heavily, watching me from across the table while my mother places the kettle on the hot stovetop.
‘You’re my oldest son, so I am going to tell you something that you must keep absolutely to yourself. And I mean only to yourself. You can talk to your mother and to me, but to no one else. No one in the family, not your brothers and sisters, not your grandma and not your friends, not even Henk.’ His voice is hard but almost begging. Pa has never spoken like this before and my increasing unease rises, constricting my throat. I am gagged by my complicity. I’m unable to speak and simply nod an affirmation.
‘I’m working with the Ondergrondse, the Resistance, as you already know. But I have a dreadful problem.’
I frown, saying nothing. He continues, his voice sombre, heavy with anxiety, explaining the meaning of those few words. I know only one thing. No matter how much he reassures me, working for the Underground Resistance means a firing squad could execute him, or suffer far worse, violence and torture.
It is as if I am facing execution myself, with a rope around my throat constricting my breathing as I struggle to contain my thumping heart trapped without any obvious escape. Pa didn’t notice.
If you would like to preorder this book to get an advance kindle copy click here:
Paperback copies can be ordered directly from [email protected] from 21st February.
Read the back cover blurb here.
I’d love to hear from you after you’re read Crow’s Song. Drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know what you think.
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