Hamlet-Like Weather in Helsingor, Denmark:
Even in midsummer Scandanavia seems to be a bit nippy to say the least. It reminds me a little of the weather in Newport, Oregon on the Pacific Northwest Coast in the summer time. I have been looking up the weather in Helsingor, Denmark now for several weeks on a daily basis in June and J. I am trying to get a feel for it. That is one of the important settings of my novel Murder at Hamlet’s Castle. Kronborg Castle, or Hamlet’s Castle, is in Helsingor, or Elsinore. The highs seem to always be in the 60’s and the lows are in the 50’s. It does rain some days. It is frequently cloudy, and seems to be the perpetually gloomy type of climate ideal for Hamlet.
Nor does Helsingor seem to have many distractions the way Newport, Oregon does. Newport has a beach. Perhaps Helsingor does, too, but I wonder. I have not heard it mentioned. Perhaps Hamlet’s town is just too far north for that sort of thing. Newport, Oregon also features the Oregon State Aquarium with whales and all sorts of sea creatures and birds that inhabit the Pacific Northwest Coast. I don’t think Helsingor has that sort of thing either. The most I have heard about are shops that sell Danish pastries and various kinds of folk cooking. That sounds more like Europe. Perhaps they can whip up a dish that even Hamlet would like to eat.
Murder at Hamlet’s Castle will soon be published by Cheops Books LLC.
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Hitler’s Agent Visits Paris, France:
In the wake of Trump’s visit to Paris for Bastille Day we have been discussing France. I have used France occasionally as a setting for my novels. I did use the French part of Belgium, Wallonia, as the setting for Inn at the Crossroads, my novel about Napoleon. But France itself has managed to wedge its way in there once in a blue moon. For instance Dora and Edward meet Churchill at the Ritz Hotel for a long luncheon right after they escape Hitler’s clutches in the novel Hitler’s Agent, which I am about to publish on October 15. They have just escaped Mussolini in Venice and sailed through the Mediterranean out past the Rock of Gibraltar to Paris going in that direction. Dora has Thomasina with her and is surrounded by guards that she has hired for the occasion to protect her from the Nazis. Helga, who is Hitler’s Agent, and Herr von Wessel make an entrance into the dining room. They send Dora notes about the Lawrence maps, key to world domination, with the cooperation of the waiters. Helga is seated by a statue of Venus. But Dora puts an end to that, too. It is one of the few occasions where Helga is in the same room with Churchill. The two don’t mix well as characters, mind you. But at least on that occasion Dora and Edward managed to escape back to Ware Hall in the south of England for more adventures. For the historical thriller, Hitler’s Agent, does not end there.
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France In The Edward Ware Thrillers At War Series:
Where all have you traveled in France? I came close to returning there two years ago. We were not far away, but it was a no go. The closest we got was Luxembourg City in 2015. Then we went to Waterloo instead of Dunkirk.
But when I was a kid, I went to Paris, of course. We went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre (where we saw the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and Mona Lisa the quick tour route), Versailles, Fontainbleau, Napoleon’s Tomb, Montmartre where I also spent a Bastille Day watching Frenchmen dance in the streets and shoot off fireworks, and the Ritz where my brother and I actually ate lunch. I also arranged a special driver to take me to Illiers where Marcel Proust was born. In those days he was my favorite French writer. I got to see his teacups and his petite pastries that he made so much of. On the way back to Paris we saw the Romanesque Chartres Cathedral.
On the Bastille Day that we spent in Paris I don’t think I ever saw a bigger fireworks display anywhere else.
Our only French setting in Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series is in Wallonia instead of France itself. Wallonia is the French section of Belgium near Waterloo. And Waterloo is the subject of the novel Inn at the Crossroads, soon to be published by Cheops Books LLC.
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Parlez-vous Francais? Do You Speak French?
Do you know French? When I was in third grade I had a teacher named Maya Monsieur who taught children to speak simple French after school. I took the course. It was the only French I ever had. I still remember how to count to ten in French. I know a few simple phrases such as “Thank you very much” in French which came in handy two years ago when I found myself in French-speaking Belgium in Wallonia. This was in stark contrast to Germany. I am 100% ethnically German but I can’t speak one word in German. I was mute during my travels there while Gary did all the talking. I can sing a complete song about Napoleon in French to this day, but I don’t know what I am saying. So much for third grade French!
It is interesting to hear that Trump is visiting the Jules Verne Restaurant at the Eiffel Tower. I, too, visited the Eiffel Tower. I am sure you did, too. I didn’t go up in it. But I was there. I even have a photo. More recently Jules Verne has been influential on what I write. I really like Journey to the Center of the Earth for instance. Have we ever discussed Jules Verne before? My current novel Old Faithful Plot is actually influenced by that novel. Do you remember the ending? A Scottish scientist leads a team of scientists and one wife of a scientist under the earth. They discover the Lost Continent of Atlantis. Then at the end they get spewed up into the ocean by a volcano. Well, Old Faithful Plot is all about the Yellowstone supervolcano and what it might do someday. I need not say more.
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Julia: A Novel by Dora Benley:
Julia: A Novel, another ancient thriller by Dora Benley, will be offered free on Amazon for the next five days starting on Wednesday, July 12 and continuing through the weekend. But hurry! This offer won’t be repeated this year.
Senator Gaius Julius Rufus was unlucky to be born during the first period of the Civil Wars that tore apart not only Rome but Italy into two factions, populares and optimates. He was sixty years old in May of 81 B.C., having spent most of his adulthood in Rome away from his grape and olive vineyards attempting to remain neutral and friendly with both factions while not doing much for either.
His rank and family made his efforts fruitless. He was a senator, an aristocrat. Worse yet, he was a member of the ancient and illustrious clan claiming descent from Aeneas and his mother Venus — the Julii. During the civil war between Marius and Sulla his daughter, Julia’s, life is at stake as well as her heart pining over the man she really loves and cannot have. What can he do to save her? Find out in this historical novel about the days of ancient Rome.
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EU Should Reinstitute Border Checks:
One of the dangers is that the EU thinks that it is modeling itself on America. It calls itself the United States of Europe. It is implementing new rules and laws that are dangerously inappropriate. My aunt told me that she was on a train coming from Italy to Munich, Germany that went through the Alps. The train stopped in Innsbruck. I think this was in the very early 1970’s. Everybody had to get off the train in the station. Not only did the “putsfraus” or cleaning ladies go aboard to clean everything, the authorities insisted on looking at everybody’s documentation after crossing a border.
If the authorities had checked papers when the rioters entered Hamburg by train, they might have been stopped before they could riot and loot. Instead they marched freely through the train station where we parked 5 years ago looking for the Best Western St. Raphael Hotel nearby. They were carrying a huge sign in front of them saying something like the “war starts here”. It couldn’t have been more obvious what was going on. They were announcing themselves. They should have been arrested before they set any cars afire or looted any shops and told the shop owners that the needed to pay them protection money.
The EU should reinstitute border checks. That is what I am saying.
Hamburg is the setting for several Edward Ware Thrillers at War novels including Map Plot, Wall Street Swastika, and the Cherusci Plot. Germany itself in one of the main settings and themes of the whole series from Cherusci Plot on to Captive at the Berghof, Unlocking Trinity, and other World War 2 and World War 1 novels such as Dark Horse, Salisbury Plot, Map Plot, and Key to Lawrence Special Edition.
The photo published with this blog is one that the authors took in Hamburg at the train station in 2012. It is the place that the protestors used as a port of entry.
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America Can’t Export Itself To Europe: Legacy Of The Hamburg G20
It is very disturbing that Europeans think it is normal for anti-capitalists and other such groups to constantly interrupt and plague their conferences such as the G20 just ended in Hamburg. It is even more disturbing to hear that they tend to avoid holding conferences in big cities because they can’t control them and tend to favor out of the way places in the country reachable only by helicopter. This lends the conferences an unnecessary elitist edge and also makes Americans wonder about politics in Europe and just how stable the continent really is.
The Roman mob was legendary. The English mob was fearsome. But at least in the old days before the G20 there were kings and emperors who could control them. The problem may be democracy itself which doesn’t totally fit Europe. Just one hundred years ago a lot of the continent was still controlled by royal families such as the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns and now there is not enough autocratic discipline to keep the citizens in line.
By analogy Americans would have to hold their Republican and Democratic Conventions in the country instead of in cities which would never happen. The last thing either party would want would be to look as if they were hiding from the people and were trying to appear elitist and exclusive. It shows that democracy fits America better than Europe. And American ways do not export well to the Old World. In fact they can even be dangerous there as evidenced by the G20.
The continent of Europe, particularly Western Europe, is a key setting of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War novels. Hero Edward Ware’s home base is England. He travels to Germany all the time and had had adventures in places as far flung as Italy, Russia, and Gibraltar.
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Merkel Fiddles While Hamburg Burns:
Here is one of my photos of the concert hall in Hafen City in Hamburg in the Harbor Area on the Elbe River surrounded by photos of rioters. This is where Trump and Melania Trump attended Merkel’s concert for the G-20 meeting on July 7. We sailed up and down the river four times in 2012 and 2015 and really liked the place. Hamburg looked very modern with all sorts of very neatly kept buildings and lots of greenery lining the streets. The Elbe River was well populated with swimming beaches and beach hotels and houses. There was also a Lion King hall where they kept on playing Disney’s Lion King in perpetuum. We passed the old Cora Verlag Building that used to house the editor I dealt with when publishing 48 books in the Mystery and Mystery Thriller Lines. We even found a fascinating bookstore that specialized in ships and the North Sea and bought a Hamburg calendar and lots of postcards. I wish I could have purchased one of his North Sea calendars, but alas they were too big to fit in my suitcase! We rented a car here twice and returned here twice to board the Queen Mary 2 in Hafen City. The place seemed prosperous and upbeat.
Now we hear how the ambience of the city of Hamburg has been shattered by violent riots in the streets. Policemen are battling with non capitalists. Ever since we left Europe two years ago there have been nothing but terrorist attacks and now this. Melania Trump was apparently trapped in her hotel room by the extreme violence. So was the Australian Prime Minister. You would think that the Germans of all people would be better at keeping order in the streets. It is really shocking and makes me fear that Europe isn’t safe anymore. Tanks in the streets of Hamburg? The army called in? Military helicopters hovering above the conference site? It’s really too much.
I think part of the problem must be Merkel’s immigration policy and all these Middle Easterners wandering around Europe committing terrorist acts. But these rioters run deeper. They remind me of the groups that Hitler was fighting 100 years ago in the streets of Munich, the German communists. I looked up photos of Hamburg on July 7, 2017, and they remind me of World War 1 and World War 2. Absolutely shocking! It rattles me to the core just to look at people tearing about the city we were driving through only two years ago, driving across the bridge out of town and returning to a hotel on the outskirts, Zur Linda, the water wheel restaurant on the edge of town, the Hors Muhle, and then returning to the harbor area. And all Merkel can do is play classical music? Somehow her reaction seems disconnected and ominous like the legendary image of the Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned.
Hamburg plays a role in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War. Hamburg is where Dora and Edward end up at the end of the novel Map Plot before returning to Britain together. It is the farthest expansion point of the Roman Empire into Germany. The Romans were trying to reach the Elbe River in the Cherusci Plot when the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest stopped them. Among them was one of Edward’s ancestors.
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The Battle of Aqaba took place 100 years ago yesterday on July 6, 1917. It was not that big a battle but it was symbolically important. I don’t go into it much in my novel Key to Lawrence: Special Edition, though it does play a part. My big set piece is something called the Battle of Petra which apparently is where Lawrence was holed up in that area of the desert. It was nearby on the high ground. But I cannot determine if the battle ever really took place. It is reported in the narrative of Lowell Thomas, the American reporter, called With Lawrence in Arabia. But I’ve never found it anywhere else. So it is probably apocryphal. But it sounded so good I couldn’t ignore it. All that stuff about how German troops invaded the Siq in Petra and had boiling oil poured down on their heads by Arab women that Lawrence of Arabia recruited. Before the Battle of Petra German airplanes strafed Edward. It was just too dramatic to resist.
What I go into more is the Battle of Damascus whose 100th anniversary is coming up next year on October 1, 2018. This was the battle that concluded the whole Arabian Campaign or Mesopotamian Theater, or whatever. The Turks sued for peace after that. That I cover in a novel called Map Plot, which is from Lieutenant Edward Ware’s point of view. Next year I hope to have an Armistice edition of that book which has never been published before.
Map Plot coming soon on Amazon.com
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One hundred years ago, on July 6, 1917, an Arab army led by Auda abu Tayi and Captain T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) captured the key Turkish outpost of Aqaba (today, Aqaba, Jordan). Nearly two months before, on May 9, 1917, abu Tayi and Lawrence, along with 45 Arabs, left the headquarters of the Arab Revolt in Wehj on the Arabian peninsula. Lawrence had come up with a plan to attack Aqaba from the landward side, rather than the heavily fortified sea side. He did not share these plans with any other British officer before leaving Wehj.
Each man carried water and a 45-pound sack of flour. Lawrence, who was wearing Arab robes and riding a camel, also carried 22,000 British gold sovereigns. He and Auda Abu Tayi used the gold to attract fighters from tribes along the way. After eight weeks in the desert, the band had grown to 500 fighters, riding dozens of horses and hundreds of camels.
On July 2, 1917, the Arab army attacked and annihilated a Turkish relief column of several hundred men at an outpost 40 miles to the north of Aqaba, Aba el Lissan. The Arabs then rode into Aqaba, whose 300-man garrison quickly surrendered without firing a shot. They “splashed into the sea” on July 6, 1917.
Lawrence then immediately followed up on the victory by traveling an additional 150 miles by camel across the Sinai desert to bring news of Aqaba’s fall to the British in Egypt. Meeting with the new British military commander, General Allenby, Lawrence persuaded him to provide weapons, supplies and pay for the Arab forces.
The fall of Aqaba is related in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel Key to Lawrence: Special Edition.
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