Sunday, 31 August 2014

Farewell To Kings by Les Rowley book review

I read this book on holiday recently, and the blurb reads:

100 years after WW1 some scores need settling

Authored by MR Les Rowley
Edition: 1
Nearing 100 years after the end of WW1 and another battle is brewing. Farewell To Kings is the new novel from BBC journalist, Les Rowley, who has drawn on history's darkest period to produce a 200+ page story about an unfinished business from the Belgium Trenches of 1917.

The book, published to mark the centenary anniversary of WW1, is a tale about the quest to find the Holy Grail of WW1 memorabilia. A war museum team has a chance to win the object and hopes the new treasure will save the industry. In the spirit of 1917, it's Germany versus England all over again. Let battle commence.

From Leeds to Ypres, this is a first proper novel from former Loaded journalist and Chris Evans producer. Farewell To Kings is published April 2014 in paperback. For paperback copies contact

It's World At War meets Match Of The Day


The book starts with a prologue in Ypres, Winter 1917, where Jacques Piccard, a Swiss Dr trying to fast-track his surgical career by helping heal the wounded, is chosen as a referee for the Christmas Day football match of peace.  Fast forward to July 2017 and referees are the new heroes of football and Tony Bloom, the Cristiano Ronaldo of referees, is about to endorse a new digital version of the pea whistle that has served referees well for over 100 years.  Meanwhile Martin Kossow, historian at Leeds Imperial War Museum (LIWM), which is suffering in the times of austerity, finds a rare VC at a school fair (one of only 1,800 misspelled medals) which leads him to the home of Horace Taylor who was once a 13 year old witness to the 'match of peace'.  The race is now on to prove the authenticity of the myriad of artefacts (that have now been taken from his home to become a permanent exhibition in the LIWM in the hope that it will raise visitor numbers and awareness of WW1) using an A5 notebook written by the then 13 year old Horace.  Horace, however, feeling that his duty has been done, passes away age 113 to visit his fallen comrades once more and the rare VC goes missing.

The race to prove the authenticity of the artefacts uncovers a plan (The Deauville Offensive) to finish the war a year early and the missing VC medal and the whereabouts of the 'whistle of peace' are now the keys to blowing the lid on the secret from the Great War.

Football, war and history combine in this book written by journalist, writer and television producer Les Rowley, and you can feel the enthusiasm for each subject as you read the story.  It was fortuitous that I read the book at the beginning of August, coinciding with the 100 year anniversary (4 August 2014) and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in either WW1 or football.

The past is always with us.                                                                                           7/10

#FarewellToKings  #FarewellToKingsMovie  #LesRowley  #WW1  #Football

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