1940 and Norway is under occupation from Germany. British troops are there to help keep the German army at bay. Lieutenant Harry King of the British Army is in trouble for getting into a fight whilst drunk. His commanding officer wants him court martialed but he is given a second chance to work under Colonel Munro, where what starts off a simple recconnaisance mission to collect transport to help the Norwegians transport artillery, quickly changes and puts Harry King in the middle of a battle and conspiracy that could change the outcome of the war for Norway. King finds himself involved in murder, deception and betrayal and needs to keep his wits about him as he is in a race across Norway’s mountains, and fjords to keep one step ahead of the enemy and uncover a traitor in their midst.
This is the first novel by Adrian Hyde and the first in the Harry King thrillers, and an brilliant read. The plot and characters are like a Grand Master Chess Game; all the pieces are on the board waiting to move and see where others will move and all are controlled by those in charge. It is a fast moving plot with plenty of twists and thrills that will engage and entertain the reader; it has power, greed, deception, romance and lots of historical detail. The historical detail and research is impeccable and is blended seamlessly with the fiction of the plot.
Harry King is a troubled and flawed hero with an alcohol problem. He blames himself for his father’s death in a fire with is what drives his anger and drinking. He also has a lack of respect and lack of trust for those in command. We do see a more vulnerable side his character when he is interacting with his interpreter Anje. The injection of romance brings out a softer side of King’s character and brings a different element to the storyline.
I highly recommend this to those readers who love a good historical thriller that is full of twists and turns and you are never sure who is double crossing who and just who is the enemy. A fantastic first novel and I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of Harry King’s story.
When I started to write my book, Kingmaker: A Harry King Thriller, I wanted to write a mainstream thriller but as a new author I knew that I needed something different to stand out in a crowded market. With this in mind, I decided to set the story in Norway at the start of World War 2 as I was keen to try to show that this fascinating era of history could be a suitable background for a mainstream thriller. This meant that I had to make sure that the background of the war supported the main plot, rather than the other way around. Many readers have already said how much they enjoyed reading Kingmaker and were surprised at how unlike a traditional “war story” it is, as well as enjoying the rich background that the unusual era and location provided. My writing was inspired by early memories of Charles Dickens, Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkien, but now I particularly love to read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thrillers, so my style now mixes fast action sequences with a rich background setting.
I chose Nazi-controlled Norway in 1940 because I have always been fascinated by the war (as were most boys of my age, growing up surrounded by war movies on the television at Christmas, when toy soldiers were still the X-box of their day), and this was increased by tales of my father’s own military experience in the fifties. As a result of this, history has always been a passion of mine, so over the years I tried to read more about both World Wars in order to better understand what happened. I was particularly drawn to those events that didn’t go as planned and were consequently swept under the carpet by history and establishment alike. The British failure to stop Hitler’s invasion of Norway was largely ignored and overlooked by Britain at the time, desperate to focus instead on the miracle of Dunkirk and the success of the Battle of Britain. Despite this, I felt it was a fascinating story of bravery and plucky resistance against overwhelming odds, and I decided to use this reflection of my similarly confused, misunderstood and underestimated protagonist. My anti-hero – Harry King – is a British Lieutenant with a haunted past and a drinking problem despite his responsibility. He is falling to pieces but nobody wants to listen, mainly because the world was far less understanding of mental health issues at that time and King’s torment is lost in a sea of old-school authority and the British stiff upper lip. As part of the joy of discovering and developing King, I wanted to see how he coped under pressure by placing him out of his depth in a foreign country, and then throwing him in at the deep-end by dragging him into a world of conspiracy, murder and treason. Despite his many problems and imperfections, King is surprisingly resilient and heroic, and wins through in the end by forgiving himself and gaining redemption. The frozen landscape helped cleanse him of his past and give him a clearer vista of his future. There was also a timeless purity of the frozen Norwegian landscape that remained somehow pure despite the horrors of war, and I found that King had much in common with this as he initially seems as hard as the mountains themselves, but then he shows a hidden warmth and humanity that is only unlocked as his feisty local companion Anja helps him to face his demons and find love again. I felt that it was important to include a strong female character, as too many books set in this period tend to forget that the vital role that women played in winning the war.
The biggest problem with setting Kingmaker in WW2 Norway was the huge amount of research required to support the story and remain faithful to the facts whilst also interweaving a complicated plot-line. To be honest, when I started I don’t think I truly understood how much work it would take! I spent two years just working my way through all of the many available histories and personal accounts of the period, trying to find out every detail that could help bring the history life. It isn’t a military novel but I still had to check every military detail including period disciplinary procedures, vehicles, equipment and weapons as I didn’t want anybody to question the authenticity. I also made sure that the weather and lunar cycle were correct using the historical records, and I had to ensure that King’s story fitted perfectly within the background story’s historical timeline, so that at one point whole sections of my original plan had to be discarded as they didn’t fit any more. I also needed to ensure that every time that a character walked or drove somewhere, the distance was correct – in one section Anja rides a horse (spoiler alert!) so I even had to calculate how long it would have taken her if she had taken a particular route and what the terrain would have been like. I originally planned to visit the locations so that I could see them myself but I soon realised that there was little point as most have changed beyond all recognition since the events happened (several of the towns were flattened by bombing) so I had to recreate them in my mind using history books, period photographs and even Google Street View. I also had to stitch into this Norway’s rich cultural and mythological history as well as their unique culinary delights – it became a labour of love, but by the time that I had finished writing the book I had started to question my own sanity in choosing the setting in the first place!
Despite this herculean task, I have fallen in love with the country and the history, and I hope I have created something worthy of those unlucky few who were there during the world’s darkest hours. I hope that people will enjoy reading Kingmaker as much as I enjoyed writing it.
KINGMAKER: A HARRY KING THRILLER
WEALTH. POWER. GLORY. REVENGE.
When the world is against you, who do you trust?
April 1940. Norway has fallen under the Nazi Blitzkrieg. Only a small British force now stands between Hitler’s SS and the ultimate prize… Lieutenant Harry King is in trouble again. Haunted by his past and consumed by alcohol, he is saved from his fate by a mysterious senior officer. When he is sent on a seemingly simple errand, he stumbles into a conspiracy that could change the course of the war. Dragged into a hair-raising world of murder, mystery and betrayal, King must choose between his duty, love and revenge. In a heart-pounding race across the frozen tundra, mountains and fjords, can he survive against the odds and uncover the traitor at the heart of his world?
Adrian Hyde is a thriller writer, history nut and citizen of the world. He was born in the city of Derby, England in 1975, the son of an ex-soldier. He grew up on the doorstep of the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District, and his father’s military service and an interest in local history inspired him to write from an early age.
Educated in Derby and Heanor, he studied Politics at the University of Reading, Berkshire (after changing from History). Adrian then had a successful career in sales, marketing and product management, mainly in heavy engineering and construction equipment companies, where he travelled extensively throughout the world.
All this was to change when his wife was diagnosed with dementia, and Adrian became a full-time single parent and carer, however the experience spurred him on to return to writing full-time. He still loves Derbyshire but now lives in Burbage in neighbouring Leicestershire with his two children and Ben the Labrador. His first novel – Kingmaker: A Harry King Thriller – is published by Three Assassins Press and sold via Amazon (e-book and paperback). He is currently working on the sequel, planned for completion in late 2017.