A Brand New Tom Harper Novel

Later this year, there’s a new Tom Harper book coming. It’s called A Dark Steel Death and it’s set during the First World War…

Leeds. December, 1916. Deputy Chief Constable Tom Harper is called out in the middle of the night when a huge explosion rips through a munitions factory supplying war materials, leaving death and destruction in its wake. A month later, matches and paper to start a fire are found in an army clothing depot. It’s a chilling discovery: there’s a saboteur running loose on the streets of Leeds. 

As so many give their lives in the trenches, Harper and his men are working harder than ever – and their investigation takes a dark twist with two shootings, at the local steelworks and a hospital. With his back against the wall and the war effort at stake, Harper can’t afford to fail. But can he catch the traitor intent on bringing terror to Leeds? 

Would you like a very early look at the cover? Scroll down. But first, I’m going to say with pride that the beautiful Leeds Library, the oldest subscription library in Britain, founded in 1768 (read about it here) has listed their most-borrowed titles of the last 30 years, and The Broken Token is in there at number eight, among some huge names. I honestly feel pretty humble.

And now for the cover of A Dark Steel Death. What do you think? Please, let me know.

Leeds Remembering 1914-1918 – Book Review

I don’t often review books, but this one is particularly apt for me to sink my teeth into. Leeds, history – perfect.

Leeds Remembering 1914-1918

Lucy Moore & Nicola Pullan

History Press

remembering

Leeds played an important part in the Great War. Not just in the men it sent to fight, but also in keeping them supplied and making sure the home fires kept burning. Moore and Pullan, both curators with Leeds City Museums, offer a very thorough primer of Leeds at the time, and some of the aftermath.

It’s a compelling portrait, and one of the surprises is that the city lagged behind its neighbours in men volunteering to join up, but the figures don’t lie. As an industrial centre, Leeds was vital to the war effort, not only in making uniforms, but also with plants like Barnbow in Crossgates, where thousands of women did their bit by assembling shells.

Illustrating it all with items, letters, and photographs from the museum collection is an excellent stroke, allowing the writers to home in on things as examplars. It’s not a massive book, so the reader won’t find extensive detail on each of the aspects, but that’s not the intention. This is an overview of the city at war, and in that it succeeds admirably. It’s perfect for the average, curious reader, and the extensive list of resources at the end offer places to for more information. This would also be an excellent book for kids over 14, at least those in Leeds, as a chance to discover what things were like in their hometown a hundred years ago, and also some of what the men in the trenches experienced.

Yes, it’s definitely local interest, and that’s absolutely fine, because history as many people experience it as at a local level. It’s worth remembering that this was the first global, total war. For many people in Leeds it was their first real awareness of the world. The city was an industrial giant, but for most it was a very parochial life until the lamps started going out over Europe.

An excellent, very readable book indeed, and well worth the time. And you can buy it here.