History is key Author Nigel returns to wartime
ONE small paragraph in a book he read around 40 years ago stuck in the mind of Cheltenham author Nigel Messenger and gave him the inspiration to start writing his own books.
The former hotelier, began writing in 2013, basing his first book on the incredible story of a battle in the Old Testament against the Turks which took place in the First World War.
“I read about a British Major who was reading the Bible the night before a battle that had been fought in the same place in Palestine.
“Even though the battle had taken place in Biblical times, the Major followed the tactics described in the Old Testament tactics and won,” said Nigel, 69.
“I was so taken by that story that after I sold my hotel in Stroud, l and I had a little more time, I went out to the West Bank, found the battlefield and started researching to put together my own story.”
But the research for Nigel’s first book, The Miracle of Michmash left him with so much information about the Middle East and the battles of the first and second world wars, that he went on to write Megiddo: The Battles for Armageddon, and now his third book, From
Maybe we should be looking more to history for some of the answers we are seeking.
Eden to Babylon has just been published.
His latest novel begins when a filthy barge arrives in Basra full of near-dead British soldiers, wounded, starved and dehydrated.
A British officer and his team take the men off the barge and on to a steamer headed for Bombay and then by train to a hospital in Northern India.
The officer recognises one of the injured soldiers who had saved his life in the Boer War in South Africa and when the man’s sister travels to India to nurse him back to health, she falls in love with his rescuer.
“My grandfather, Herbert, served in the horrendous Boer War and I followed his career and he too rescued a soldier in battle,” said Nigel.
I didn’t want a boring family album, it’s more of a general book, a sort of history lesson while enjoying reading about what is happening.”
Although he self-published his first two books, the latest has been published by Austin Macauley Publishers in London’s Canary Wharf.
He says: “It was very exciting finally getting a publisher even though I only really write as a hobby but they could see what I was capable of with the first two and now my fourth is already underway, also with a First World War theme.” Nigel now works as a business consultant to London’s five-star hotels, and is also President of the Rotary Breakfast Club in Cheltenham.
He has worked with the Poppy Factory in Richmond, London, for almost 30 years and is on the board of directors, supporting wounded, injured and sick veterans into employment in the UK.
An avid reader, he says he gets through between 12 and 15 historical books for every book he writes himself.
“Once I have absorbed the facts, I find the writing just flows. For me that is the easy part,” he said.
“It’s the reading and research that takes the time. Each book takes around two years from start to finish.”
For him, the attraction to writing is all in the power of the story.
He says: “People can learn so much from reading about something that happened 3,000 years ago and that can be enlightening and relevant in our lives today.
“Unfortunately, our politicians can’t learn from something that happened two weeks ago.
“That says a lot. Maybe we should be looking more to history for some of the answers we are seeking.”
Nigel will be signing his latest book at Alison’s Bookshop in Tewkesbury on Saturday, October 19 and he is also available to talk on the First World War and the Middle East.
From Eden to Babylon is published by Austin Macauley Publishers and is available now.
Nigel Messenger with his third book From Eden to babylon