More Reviews of “Ghosts of the Empire”

From Colleen Dudley, Sydney, Australia
After being unable to put down ‘Nor the Years Condemn’, ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ was a must-read. A brilliantly constructed tale of our forebears, brave young men who went on an adventure to the other side of the world. The narrative flows effortlessly between the various players, with clever intersecting of characters from ‘Nor the Years Condemn’. ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ grabbed me from the prologue, and I found myself totally immersed, book-in-hand at every opportunity. Well researched and well written – a ride that takes you through so many emotions. Justin’s characterisations let you in to the lives of these people and you feel their love, pain, joys and losses. Laugh and cry and feel the injustices that war brought to the likes of Mick O’Regan. So looking forward to the next chapter in this engrossing ‘trilogy’. Top shelf!”

From Denise Boneham, United Kingdom
‘Ghosts of the Empire’ was eagerly awaited as Justin’s first book, ‘Nor the Years Condemn’, was an epic tale of war and love. I was not disappointed by his sequel. Justin is not just writing for a male audience; this one is good for the ladies too. Don’t just buy it for Fathers’ Day, buy it for Mothers’ Day too. Justin set us up for a rollercoaster ride with his main character but his genius is bringing it to life with the many small (and not so small) cameo performances. I liked the reappearance of characters from ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ too. Again there was a polyglot of nations which was exactly how it was. I especially loved the inclusion of a Polish character which was just how many of them, from my serious reading, were! I am not going to spoil Justin’s great plot by giving you any clues but I will say that this is a darker tale especially in the greatly surprising ending. Thank you, Justin, for answering my plea and doing a Bomber Command based book even if it still features Fighter Command too. All in all this book (and its predecessor) rates wider worldwide recognition than it already gets. Nice one, Justin. Book 3 is on my wish list already. I am agog with anticipation.

From Martin Zitek, Sydney, Australia
THIS was a fantastic read! A real page turner, very tight in construction and narrative and totally engrossing. A saga of Australian World War II pilots, I loved the “as if you were there” details of the times that only thorough research could have brought out. The flight scenes were even more vivid, as if recounted by an ace pilot in the way they were described and choreographed. The whole 1940s atmosphere of the times was relayed superbly. I felt the story was written just a few years after the horror of WWII, it was that detailed. The absolute waste and stupidity of mass conflict was conveyed as well. More stories like this should be told. There is no way the world should ever forget that mankind was brought to the brink of annihilation because of madmen and ineffective politicians. This story portrays a mere few caught up in the unimaginable catastrophe that swept across the whole planet in WWII. Magnify that to the level of every nation: At that time everyone suffered a loss, either of their own life or that of a loved one. ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ should haunt us to the depths of our souls to ensure that conflict can never again escalate to the terrific levels it did then and to safeguard against the unnecessary loss and total waste of human potential by sending young men and women to die before their time. If more people knew of the hell war creates, more would avoid it and less would glorify it. A superb telling by author Justin Sheedy, once again.

Amazon 5-Star Review by Author Marc Stevens, Ontario, Canada
‘Ghosts of the Empire’ is the latest WW2 novel from Australian author Justin Sheedy, the follow-on to ‘Nor the Years Condemn’. The second book of a proposed trilogy is neither prequel nor sequel; rather the story takes place concurrently with the first, and actually briefly shares one or two of the characters. Once again, Sheedy succeeds mightily in getting the reader quickly invested in the story, whose proponent is a young Australian pilot, Mick O’Regan. Growing up in working class Sydney, our hero enlists in the Royal Australian Air Force, desperately hoping (like all young men of the day) to become a Spitfire pilot. He gets his wish, joining the elite group of flyers whose simple job is to kill or be killed. A sad fate that becomes too many of his friends and allies. The background research necessary to write this story well (and Sheedy has indeed written it very well) is evident at the turn of every page. But where the author triumphs, once again, is in drawing the reader so deeply into the emotional lives of his characters that one cannot wait to turn the page. As a reader, you CARE about these brave aircrew and their families. And there is no shortage of pulling at heartstrings on the family front. Letters between combat ace Mick and his 6-year-old sister back in Australia do a credible job of ripping at your guts. In addition to his marvellous characters, Sheedy is also showing himself to be a master of plot. Unexpected twists and turns keep the reader awake and begging for more. Yes, you will cheer for the good guys and sneer at the villains, but you will also come to learn that the innocent victims of war are never on just one side or the other. Justin Sheedy is rapidly becoming that to which every author aspires: a novelist with serious talent.

From by Mark Bentley, United Kingdom
This latest fact-based but fictional novel by Justin Sheedy is without doubt every bit as good as the prequel, ‘Nor the Years Condemn’. Both are written to tell the story of the brave young men from the British Commonwealth, in this case from Australia, who volunteered to become aircrew during World War II as part of the Royal Australian Airforce. The opening pages of the book tell you all you need to know about the story’s main character: who he is, what he does before joining up, the background of his family life. Sheedy excels here; in just a few short pages you feel you have met the character and know him personally – Other authors have used half a book to attempt this, and bore you rigid doing so – definitely not so here.

The way in which ’Ghosts of the Empire’ has been researched for accuracy is quite simply astounding, even down to a countryside walk away from the main character’s UK airfield, an airfield that is still in use today, and one which I visit to photograph the modern Royal Air Force: The description of the land by Sheedy made me feel I was walking on those very country lanes and roads, only next time I do I’ll ask, “Is that a gentle breeze I feel, or is it someone else taking a stroll from an earlier time?!” Another aspect of Sheedy’s writing style is that during the book he jumps mid-page at times to events happening elsewhere in the story, events happening at the same time, and then back again. When Sheedy does this it actually works, and works very well; he keeps you enthralled the whole time, unlike some other authors where you find it annoying and end up skip-reading or even missing pages to get back to the main narrative thread. Very Well Done, Justin Sheedy. An excellent read from cover to cover!

Review by Tim Bean, Australia
Justin Sheedy’s ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ was a good read. Its companion novel, GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE, is even better. This is because the theme of ‘Nor the Years’ – that all fighting men are mere pawns in the life-and-death chess game that is war – is delivered with even greater impact in ‘Ghosts’. Another key theme of ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ is ‘war by media’, one brought to a head in that Mick’s exploits have the side effect of attracting ‘good press’, something the bad-press-prone Allied Top Brass desperately crave. In the book’s final chapter, Mick is given the opportunity to tell these Bomber-Command-Chess-Players, at their own insistence, exactly where they have made the wrong moves. Mick does so in the riveting Whitehall scene – six pages of logic, conflict and humanitarian mathematics so devastating in their truth that the reader’s inclination to physically applaud is acute. (This scene is a complete mini story in its own right, powerful enough to make a splendid short film, should the right hungry young producer/director combination take it on. One can only hope.) The accuracy of Mick’s assessment, however, inevitably leads to the moving conclusion of ‘Ghosts’. Justin Sheedy is a writer by choice, a historian by passion and a promoter by necessity. He is very good at all three and in GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE he delivers a novel worthy of passion and promotion. A splendid read.

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