The Cyclist and an Inspiration
The early morning sunlight flickered from behind the high clouds and reflected golden and crisp from the monument in Bergerac’s market square. Around me, shoppers bustled and in the roadway a car beeped its horn. The grey stone pillar rose fifteen feet above me, its shadow pointing away towards the elm trees that line the roadway. A smell of garlic wafted as I read those brave words that showed the strength of the French and France’s indomitable leaders. The monument was a reminder of the valour and sacrifice of those brave local partisans who gave up their lives in the struggle against the occupying Nazi forces all those years ago.
Yes, it is moving. Surely there’s a story here.
In my head a story began to form. What would it have been like to have to make the choices needed to protect oneself and one’s family yet still remain French? The main character would need to do something admirable. He would need to depart from the norm. If you became a partisan you would endanger the people nearest you. What if you were caught?
I began to think of how it would be to be the one who is rounding up the local Jewish people. Would you hate it? Of course you would, even if you were forced to it for fear of endangering your family. For a religious man it would be even harder. Surely one would do anything to avoid such ‘duties’ if you had a conscience?
The story began to form. A Vichy French policeman, a man of conscience, a family man working with evil Nazis whom he secretly hated. I created Auguste Ran, a good policeman, but in essence weak, until a certain event tips him over the edge and slowly he begins to fight back.
That’s where THE CYCLIST came from and it was my springboard for the other books in my French resistance series. Each takes a character and makes life hard for them, allowing them to become. In the end, THE CYCLIST sold 30,000 copies. It was Editor’s choice in the Historical Novel Review in 2011.
You can catch all six books on Amazon: a policeman, a teacher, an artist, a chef, a philosopher and in THE PROMISE a medical student.
THE PROMISE is the last and most recent of the series. Jean Valois, a medical student before the war, swears to his sister he will protect her. But in war, who can keep such promises? Trained to kill by SOE, in a desperate bid to save his sister Rebecca, he undertakes a mission deep into enemy-occupied Poland, risking all for the sake of a promise made long ago. A story of love, war, hatred and revenge, THE PROMISE tells a tale of courage and staunchness.
If you like drama and character-based plots check them out!
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(Fred Nath is a renowned Neuro-Surgeon and also the author of the best-selling 'The Cyclist')