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Against the Tide [Kindle Edition]

John Hanley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

It’s July 1939 and even though Poland is trapped between Adolph Hitler and Uncle Joe Stalin, everyone hopes war can be avoided. On the island of Jersey, eighteen-year-old Jack Renouf is forbidden from associating with his own Uncle Fred because of his dangerous Communist views and salacious liaison with his Spanish mistress. Caught in his own velvet trap between outrageous Caroline and secretive Rachel, Jack doesn’t pay too much attention to international affairs especially during this glorious summer when, despite the darkening horizon, everyone is in holiday mood.

In his final days at school, Jack is focussed on breaking the one-minute barrier for the 100 yards freestyle so that he can get into the British swimming team for the 1940 Helsinki Olympics. Desperate for those last few seconds, he listens to Miko, an enigmatic Jewish refugee who works as a waiter in a local hotel but claims to have trained the Romanian water polo team for the Berlin Olympics. He persuades Jack to try some new techniques, which he promises will bring him success. But everyone else at the swimming club is suspicious of Miko who always wears the same white tee shirt and never seems to swim.

An arrogant Dutchman on holiday in the island bullies Jack during a water polo match and his carefully constructed sang froid boils away as he retaliates viciously and has to suffer the disciplinary consequences.


Product Description

Review

The action, dialogue, scene-building, and plot development all blend together effortlessly, making this a real easy-on-the-reader experience. --YouWriteOn

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 671 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (2 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095JNJ78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #266,726 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John F Hanley was born in Jersey in 1946. He grew up surrounded by the massive fortifications the Nazis had constructed to stop the British reclaiming the island they had bombed and occupied in 1940. He discovered that everyone, including his mother, who had endured that occupation had stories to tell. Eventually he decided to immerse himself in the history of that period and use some of that first-hand material to write a series of novels set during the Second World War.
Before he had the luxury of retirement to fund the time for such a venture he spent nearly forty years teaching in London, Cornwall and Jersey where he ended his career as deputy headteacher of his old high school.
When he was eighteen he left the island to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He often wondered what it would have been like to be eighteen in 1939 and faced with a rather different choice and this question provided the initial impetus for the series.
He has now completed three novels in the planned series of ten.
The first Against The Tide was published on 1st October 2010.
The second, The Last Boat, set in 1940 is ready for publication and will be available soon.
The final novel, HO 17, is also ready though, as the characters keep seizing control of their own story lines, he has to constantly update it to accommodate their little surprises.
At present he is working on the third in the series provisionally entitled Room 39 which is set in 1941 and introduces the occupant of that particular lair - Fleming, Ian Fleming

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Against the Tide 6 Nov. 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jack Renouf is eighteen and lives in Jersey, as the author points out one hundred miles from England, but only ten from France. It is 1939 and war is encroaching on Jack's life. Before now his greatest battle has been in the swimming pool, where he is in training for a place in the next olympic squad. Now, however, the real world is intruding. In some ways, this is a typical 'coming of age' novel - Jack is beset by hormones and has two girls competing for his affections. One the difficult and superior Caroline, the other her fellow diving competitor Rachel.

Although all the characters involved in this novel have one eye on the approaching war, many are still affected by previous conflicts and wary of what is coming because of losses in the past. Also, many of the characters have secrets which they are trying to hide. Jack is becoming more aware of family issues, such as his Uncle 'Red' Fred, who is disowned by his family and who seems to be attracting the attention of some rather unpleasant men. The plot is almost too involved to explain and in a lesser authors hands could simply be confusing, rather than intricate. There are personality clashes, especially between Jack and fellow swimming competitor Rudolph Kohler. There are boat chases, conspiracies, romance, smuggling, spying, swimming, Shakespeare and a side story which delves into the death of Lawrence of Arabia. Jack is a teenager in a time where the world will soon abandon the healthy competition he thrives on for the violence of war, and he will have to swim against the tide to keep his faith in himself and do what he feels to be right. The author has written a really exciting novel, with great characters, a fast moving and believable plot and created a world which you know is changing forever as you read the pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Locally Sourced Organically Grown Fiction 4 Nov. 2012
By Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
`Jersey boy' JFH has for many years lived, brought up his family, and taught, near my home, on The Lizard Peninsula. `Against The Tide', a top quality soft back, thick pages, clear print, a pleasure to read, was printed and bound in Padstow. A local friend recommended this as `Harry Potter for men" - a pretty good summing up - and because I know JFH to say hello to at least, I was pleased to choose it from the Vine programme this month.

Muscular and masculine and that's not just the author, it's the writing too, we are really chucked in at the deep end in from page one. Ten fully fledged characters are thrown into the first four pages without so much as a "how's your father", or perhaps more pertinent, "Who's your father?" you can hear the teacher in John saying "Keep Up! Pay Attention!" with a threat to hurl the blackboard rubber if you don't. No such mercies as a dramatis personae; work it all out for yourself. Later on multiple big wigs, island officials who may or may not be what they seem blunder about like the Keystone cops; only firebrand Red Uncle Fred stands out and he's right off the wall.

At times the plot threatens to creak and groan under its own weight, this can't just be a first novel it has to be the start of a series, we haven't even got to the German occupation yet. If you are suffering from post Olympics depression turn to this, there are excellent set pieces that take you straight into the world of competitive swimming, water polo and diving (from a board). Never mind Quidditch; the tactics employed by Rudi the quasi Dutchman to win at water polo would make a grown man weep let alone turn off a fainter minded female.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and Worthwhile Story 5 Jun. 2013
By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had my doubts about Against The Tide to begin with. It starts with a water polo match, a sport about which I know little. There is a rather physical confrontation between Jack Renouf and his opposite number, a Dutchman and from there the story takes a little while to get into its stride. However, it is worth persevering with as it is an interesting tale and the way it deals with the interpersonal relationships portrayed here is certainly a strength.

The story is set in Jersey, just before the beginning of the Second World War. It is a strange time with many believing that Chamberlin's appeasement will work and that a war is just not going to happen , whilst others are equally certain that conflict is inevitable. The Channel Islands are very much a crossroads, with players on both sides of the divide very active there. Jack is close to his uncle, nicknamed `Red Fred' due to his Communist affiliations, and with his encouragement gets involved in intrigues which is, perhaps unwise, for a lad in his latter teenage years who quickly comes under physical threat.

Apart from being a tale of espionage and conspiracy, this is also a coming of age tale, with Jack torn between the affections of two young ladies. Caroline is daughter of an international diamond dealer and she and Jack have been an item for some time. Rachel has clearly held a flame for him for quite a while but Jack has regarded her as purely a friend so her interest comes as something of a revelation. Whilst all the action is going on, and towards the end this does all become quite frenetic, there is a major question mark over which of his two loves Jack will end up with and I found the conclusion here a little unexpected.

This is an unusual and worthwhile story which I did enjoy once I had got into it and I would recommend it to others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A war story with a twist
In July 1939, hot-headed 18 year-old Jack Renouf is forbidden from associating with his uncle because of his Communist views. Read more
Published 11 months ago by LadyJaguar
5.0 out of 5 stars Jersey Invitation
A great book set prior to and during the beginning of WWII in Jersey. Fast paced, believable characters make for a great read that I devoured as fast as I could. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jon Watkins
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story
I was taken aback by this story. The writing, whilst being set in the past, is quite modern in style and I felt that this gave the book an edge, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. R. L. Dove
4.0 out of 5 stars REDIRECTING ENERGIES
First of a trilogy. Jersey, 1939. War is imminent, but eighteen year old narrator Jack Renouf is far more interested in qualifying to swim at the 1940 Helsinki Olympics. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. D. L. Rees
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear
Oh dear , I really wanted to like this one as the water polo sequence at the start was real and reminded me of my playing days and the underwater dirty tricks we all employed. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Alexander Bryce
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale
I enjoyed this book, though it was strangely written. For the time it was set in, it seemed to be written quite modernly, which struck me as a little weird - especially all the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Laura Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue, adventure and action
I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Against the Tide, a fitting name to this well written Historical Fiction. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Lynelle
3.0 out of 5 stars Action Adventure Tale in pre war Jersey.
Set in Jersey in 1939, we meet Jack Renouf who is a young buck of the island, with an eye for the ladies and a penchant for sport and mostly water sports at that, and not the rude... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tommy Dooley
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic ripping yarn
An excellent novel. The prose is crisp, the characters well-defined and the historical setting of pre-Occupation Jersey sketched with remarkable attention to detail. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Fute
4.0 out of 5 stars Action packed!
Is this really how it feels to be a young man? Goodness, I'm glad I never had to go through it. The narrative opens with a foul in a game of water polo that will literally bring... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Book Critic
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