The 63 Steppes

The 63 Steppes

A chance encounter with an old university friend leads a newly qualified priest, James Brittain, to accept an invitation to participate in the CND Aldermaston march at Easter 1963, where he unwittingly learns of a plot to assassinate President Kennedy during his forthcoming visit to the UK in June.

As a result he is drawn into the sinister worlds of extreme church politics, secret service intrigue and ex-Nazi collaborators resulting in him being hunted for a murder he did not commit, along with recurring doubts about his faith. All this is carried out against the backdrop of the cold war, at its height, and the imminent Profumo scandal.

Can James avoid elimination and unravel the plot before the President arrives?

£7.99 + P & P Paperback now available as well as e-book

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Ordering from outside UK:

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£15.99 + P & P E-mail me to buy your signed hardcopy

Sequel – From Czechoslovakia with Love – Coming soon

Readers’ Reviews & Comments

10 Sept. 2015

Well this crams a lot in – Bertrand Russell, RSG’s, The Butler Act, religion vs. science, CND, Khrushchev and an Opus Dei plot to assassinate JFK, starting a nuclear war to ultimately allow right wing Catholics to take over what’s left.

Phew! But it makes good reading and following James and his exploits is a joy. The depth of political and historical research is superb, both nationally and locally.

I found the whole story was enhanced by the locations, all of which were familiar in their past states: London, Leeds and the Uni environs, Bradford, Peak District, a bit of North Wales and good old Blackpool (did Morecambe and Wise really perform at the North Pier?).

This is an imaginative and (despite the violence) warmly told tale. James is an honest gent, but with just the right amount of Yorkshire thrift and nous. Some of his puns are almost forgivable – but not ‘Acne Carriage’ or ‘Bottom end of the market’.

I think there is just the right amount of science and chemistry in the story – and some scenes most will not know, e.g. the dyehouse, add interest. (This could have been a scene for ‘Casualty’).

The naming of specific vehicles also adds authenticity and atmosphere (the AA BSA (M21?), AJS 14, Humber Snipe, Vauxhall Velox (dreadful rust buckets) and the much loved minivan. (Okay until you have to try set the points on one).

It’s hard to remember Blackman Lane before the inner Ring Road and not many will realise it’s a real place I suspect. Also Sweaty Betty’s (heartburn all afternoon if you got extra scraps).

An enjoyable, exciting, sometimes funny and often nostalgic tale, this is an up and down and sometimes surprising read of a book in more ways than one. It is to be hoped that James continues in his dual role in further adventures – but stays based in the Leeds – Bradford area.

If I had to find a small criticism, it would be that occasionally I found too many exclamation marks for my liking. Not right bad then.

Thank you.
Dr Phil Greaves

23 May 2013
Format: ibooks
Excellent read by an up and coming author. Can’t wait for the sequel.

23 Oct 2013 - A Great Read
Format: Kindle Edition
Evoking the early 1960s. A fast moving thriller. Plenty of intrigue and action, twisting and turning to an exiting ending.
Penelope P

20 Oct 2013 - Tension, Intrigue and Laughter
Format: Kindle Edition
The puns made me laugh but did not detract from the tension and excitement as the story twisted and turned to its conclusion. The plot is clever and the detailed writing took me back to 1963 and the Cold War. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone.
Andrew Pullen

I read your book last week and I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your sense of humour comes through – but that didn’t spoil it.
Lynne Lewis

Just finished reading your novel. I read it in about 4 days. It is great, fast paced, fun and I couldn't put it down! Interesting being set around Bradford….
Peter Ingham

Just finished your book, a really good read!
Jennie Rowan

£15.99 Plus P & P - E-mail me to buy your copy

The 63 Steppes is now available in paperback and all major e-book readers including Amazon Kindle and ePUB formats.

Published by Rowanvale Books

Rowanvale Books’ Book Store

ISBNs: Paperback 978-1-910832-67-7
ePub 978-1-910832-64-6
Mobi 978-1-910832-65-3
PDF 978-1-910832-66-0
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-9555126-5-0

A limited number of hardback copies are still available, £15.99 Plus P & P

The book is also available online from Croft Publications

From Czechoslovakia with Love (Coming soon)

From Czechoslovakia with Love

In 1968 James Brittain is now an undercover MI6 agent after being trained up to be a wool textile service consultant attached to a research institute based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. His first overseas mission is to simply meet up with a Czech scientist in Prague and report back on what he has to say. What could be more simple? Once again James finds himself in the right place at the wrong time.