His­tory is key Au­thor Nigel re­turns to wartime

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Sue SMITH gloslive­[email protected]­plc.com

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.

Nigel Mes­sen­ger

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

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