New Release: The Cardinal’s Hat

 

9780992848545

Basil of Makri – a sardonic, irascible old man, once immensely rich and powerful, wakes to discover he is locked in a dark, airless cellar. Basil’s isolation and dreams revive charismatic ghosts from his past who force him to relive the glories, betrayals and tragedies of his colourful life. Only his sharp wit and sardonic humour keep him sane. His fate is bound up with that of Bernard of Chevreuse, a poor but pious French archer who joins the Fourth Crusade. As the crusade lurches from one disaster to another, Bernard gradually learns that wars can never be ‘Holy’ and that their roots lie in greed for power and money. Through each of them in turn, the reader experiences both sides of a terrible conflict and journeys back to another world, another time, and other Gods.

In the end, Bernard must choose between his conscience and his comrades. For Basil, the conflict first makes him heroic as he rescues the love of his life, but later brings tragedy – though also great wealth. During the second half of his life, grief makes him bitter and cruel while wealth and power increasingly corrupt him. He neglects and abuses his family, his philandering results in murder, and he steals the girl that his grandson loves to use as a concubine.

Basil and Bernard are both, initially, ordinary men. Basil’s character personifies the rise and fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, corrupted by wealth and power, whose downfall comes at the hands of so-called ‘allies’. Bernard gives us a ‘pilgrim’s tale’ of lost youth and innocence: the common man as a soldier, gradually understanding the deceptions and lies of war.

The story also reveals the greatest secret history (and arguably, disaster) of the medieval age – the destruction of the greatest Christian city, and Empire, in Europe – by an army of crusaders.  There are dramatic contemporary echoes: hate preachers recruiting for Holy War, an insane conflict that destroys a great civilisation, and a humble fisherman who becomes rich by smuggling refugees…

As a writer and former psychotherapist, Ian knows that all of us have secrets, and that some of us have secret lives. His work also taught him the power of words – how one good metaphor can, in an instant, unleash a flood of understanding that sweeps people forward and past obstructions in their lives. As a writer, the same metaphors burst into a reader’s consciousness and sweep them along with the character, living the story. He blends dramatic narrative and dialogue, quirky yet empathic characters, and the full range of life’s emotions. ‘The Cardinal’s Hat’ can be characterised as ‘Winter Pilgrims’ meets ‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared’.

A copy of the print version signed by the author, with free postage in the UK, can be ordered through the contact details on this site.

If you prefer to use Amazon a print version can be ordered here

or a kindle version here

Coming soon: THE CARDINAL’S HAT

Storyline: Basil of Makri seems to be a very lucky man. Not only has he survived several hellish scenarios (fire, war and pirates) but he is also gifted with fabulous wealth and longevity. Yet most of those he loved did not survive, and what remains of his family have locked him in a cellar. Now, out of the darkness, charismatic ghosts are springing to life, revealing his secrets. Deliciously dark comedy blends with tragedy on an epic scale…

Themes: Two very different men journey to the limits of good and evil: love and loyalty versus  revenge and betrayal; religious fervour and duty versus common humanity. Both must make horrific choices, endure the earthly consequences, and contemplate the effects upon their soul…

Context: Across Europe, preachers are recruiting for Holy War, though they will end up murdering those of their own faith and destroying a great civilisation. The resulting chaos will make a humble Anatolian fisherman rich beyond his wildest dreams when he smuggles refugees away from the conflict. Sounds familiar? Think again: the year is 1200 and the fourth crusade is about to depart…

Congratulations to North East DCP (and hello to my ex-colleagues)

It was great to see that my ex-colleagues are still striving and thriving professionally – I spotted the DCP North East Branch were meeting on  6 July. On a personal level I’d love to hear from any former colleagues. North-east psychology gave me a lot of great life experiences; in return I’d like to offer any clinical psychologist in the north east who likes reading fiction free postage and half price on a copy of my novel.  It makes great holiday reading – a cracking story set in Ireland and the north east, with psychological themes to do with trauma and resilience. You can inspect it by clicking on Ian’s books here or in the menu above. To ask for a copy just email me at ianwat33@btinternet.com

 

Merry Christmas to Holly Bough readers

If you are a reader of the Holly Bough (2015 Christmas edition) and the Cork evening echo in Ireland this message is especially for you.  The book ‘Crossing the Water’ was mentioned at the end of the article ‘The Big Fella and the little fella’… this described my father-in-law’s meeting with Michael Collins and his involvement in one of the first shoot-outs of the war of independence. The book itself tells the story of the lives of two ‘children of Irish independence’ as an elegy to that generation – and it has had really great reviews from readers – see for yourself.

You can get it half-price as an ebook for your kindle between the 22nd and 26th of December 2015. Don’t worry if you don’t have a kindle, you can read it on any tablet, laptop or computer, if you install the (free) kindle app on your device.

To find out a bit more about the book on this website use the menu above by clicking on ‘Ian’s books’ in the top menu on this page. You can also inspect the amazon listing page and see the reviews by other readers at this link: kindle e-book (this is also where you can get it between the 22-26th).

It can also be ordered as a printed book from Amazon using this link printed book or from Waterstones branches.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The big fella and the little fella!

Readers of the Holly Bough (2015 Christmas edition published by the Cork evening echo) in Ireland will have read this article – and may be curious about the book ‘Crossing the Water’ – I hope so! Those who missed it can see it on this dropbox link (Click on the link to see it and then click on the image so that you can magnify it for easy reading.)

You can find out a bit more about this book using the menu by clicking on ‘Ian’s books’ in the top menu on this page or clicking on this link

If you want to order the book, it is available to order from Waterstones branches in the UK using these details: ‘Crossing the Water’ by Ian Wilkinson ISBN 978-0-9928485-0-7 … that should work in Ireland too, but you will have to ask them to order it in. If you have a problem getting hold of it please email me.

It can also be ordered from Amazon either as a printed book or as a kindle e-book (these have a different ISBN but its the same book) and you can inspect the amazon pages by clicking on the one you are interested in.

I do occasionally run special offers on the kindle version so watch this space over the Christmas period if you’re interested…

Free Ebook for libraries and their users

One fine September morning 96 years ago, a small boy strolled across a bridge over a river leading into a small town in rural Ireland. Suddenly, all hell broke loose around him as he was caught in the middle of one of the very first cross-fires between the IRA and the British army. That boy was my father-in-law, Paddy Ryan. His life was fascinating but typical of his generation, who experienced civil war, emigration, the great depression, and then world war two. His story inspired me so much that I blended it with other true stories into a novel that celebrates the lives of the children of Irish Independence and Anglo-Irish connections.

The book has been described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Professor Alan Carr (University College, Dublin) and the public reviews average 4.5 out of 5. As a way of helping hard-pressed libraries and of celebrating various anniversaries the Kindle version of this book will be available free each and every Sunday in September this year at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QQTHBCY

 

Ebook about childhood trauma by former SIG chair

One fine September morning 95 years ago, a small boy strolled across a bridge over the River Blackwater leading into the town of Fermoy, County Cork. Suddenly, all hell broke loose around him as he was caught in the middle of one of the very first cross-fires between the Irish Volunteers and the British army. That boy was my father-in-law, Paddy Ryan. The story of his life inspired me so much that that I blended it with other true stories to create a novel that celebrates the lives of that generation. From a psychologist’s perspective, it’s a study of childhood trauma and resilience in several characters as they move through the life span during troubled times. It makes a great holiday read for psychologists who enjoy reading fiction with a psychological emphasis and a background of living history.

 

Ebook for Irish booklovers

One fine September morning 96 years ago, a small boy strolled across a bridge over a river leading into a town in rural Ireland. Suddenly, all hell broke loose around him as he was caught in the middle of one of the very first cross-fires between the Irish Volunteers and the British army. A few years earlier, while hiding under a table in his uncle’s pub, he had also observed Michael Collins (or rather his boots) during a secret meeting. Collins was, in all probability, recruiting for the Easter rising.

That boy was my father-in-law, Paddy Ryan. As a family therapist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society, I knew that all of us have secrets, and some of us have secret lives. Paddy certainly had both in a life both fascinating and typical of his generation, who experienced the war of independence, the great depression and world war two. I blended his story with other true stories into a novel that celebrates the lives of the children of Irish independence.

The ebook is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00QQTHBCY

The book has been described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Professor Alan Carr (University College, Dublin). The average public review score is 4.5 out of 5.

E-BOOK

One fine September morning 95 years ago, a small boy strolled across a bridge over the River Blackwater leading into a small town in rural Ireland. Suddenly, all hell broke loose around him as he was caught in the middle of one of the very first cross-fires between the Irish Volunteers and the British army. That boy was my father-in-law, Paddy Ryan. He told me all about this shoot out when I took him a good bottle of Irish whiskey and asked him what it was like to grow up during the struggle for Irish independence. A few years earlier, while hiding under a table in his uncle’s pub, he had also observed Michael Collins (or rather his boots) during a secret meeting. Collins was, in all probability, recruiting for the Easter rising.

As a family therapist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society, I already knew that all of us have secrets, and some of us have secret lives. Paddy certainly had both – my wife later discovered that he (and therefore she) had been using a false name for most of his (and her) life! His secret life was fascinating, but also typical of his generation, who experienced the war of independence, the great depression and world war two. The story of his life inspired me so much that that I blended it with other true stories into a novel that celebrates the lives of the children of Irish independence.

“Crossing the Water” has been described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Professor Alan Carr (University College, Dublin) and the public reviews on Amazon UK and US are equally positive (average score of 4.5 out of 5). The UK Amazon link is http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0992848539 and there is a virtual inspection copy at http://makripress.com/our-titles/crossing-the-water/inspection-copy/ .

As a way of celebrating Paddy’s unique life, the 95th anniversary of the dawning of the struggle for Irish Independence, and my life in psychology, the Kindle version of this book is now available.

 

ELEGY TO A SPECIAL GENERATION

I was lucky enough to be interviewed recently about ‘Crossing the Water’ by Stephen Patrick Clare, the editor of Celtic Life International, a major North American magazine. His questions helped me to define what had inspired the book (see ‘interviews‘ on this website for a transcript).

My generation (and that of my children, and hopefully their children) are very lucky, living in times of relative peace, prosperity and stability. But right through my life, I have had jaw-dropping moments listening to what the two generations before me went through to make our world what it is. They were all modest, often reluctant to tell you what they’d been through in their childhood, through the great depression, and the Second World War. They would tell their stories in a matter-of fact way, as if it was nothing, and you’d be thinking, my God… so, a whole series of jaw-dropping moments inspired “Crossing the Water”.  And all of them are true stories, some from my family and other true stories taken from oral histories of those times.

From a British and North American perspective, that ‘special generation’ is the one whose sacrifice kept us free in World War Two. From an Irish perspective, that generation were children at the time that Ireland won the War of Independence. The tragedy for Ireland was that so many of that generation were lost, forced to leave their homeland in the aftermath of the civil war and what followed. Imagining the details of life for that generation was at times very moving and left me overwhelmed with respect for what they had endured.

So the book is an elegy to that special and lost generation; I like to think of it as action-packed Irish version of Midnight’s Children…