Once, when I was very small, I remember Father Christmas flying past our house in Trecynon, Aberdare. Later on, my big brother attempted to convince me that the sleigh and reindeer had been mounted on the back of an open-backed truck, but I know what I saw, there was no truck, just Santa Claus waving at all the children as he flew by! No memory remains more powerfully lodged in my mind than this one which has helped to build the magic of Christmas ever since. Of course, in Wales in the late fifties, Christmas celebrations revolved around our chapel life, singing carols, the Christmas party in the vestry with jelly and sandwiches and lemonade pop, with games and prizes to follow. But it wasn’t all laughs! Christmas came at that time of year when us kids were forced against our will to wear hand-knitted itchy balaclavas, and worse, mittens attached along each arm and secured beneath our coats by elastic strips with enough durability to power a mediaeval siege engine.
Christmas was a time when the air itself was infused with exotic smells, chocolate and cinammon and the citrusy smell of tangerines. I remember assisting my Dad on Christmas Eve, charged with the important task of taking our turkey to the local bakehouse, then excitedly returning after dark to collect it once it was cooked and being allowed to pick and eat a steaming morsel of meat from its wing. Everything seemed to add to the excitement and magic of Christmas. Television consisted for us of just the one BBC channel, and I recall how they used to show each year a stop-frame animation about how Rudolph the Reindeer saved Christmas - a sort of animated bio-pic for mesmerised children.
There were of course our family traditions, like unpacking and re-hanging the brightly coloured paper decorations which concertinaed across our living room, which had undoubtedly been bought at Woolworths along with our small artificial tree. The tree was gaudily decked out with tinsel and coloured lights, which invariably proved to be a trial for my Dad; I think the bulbs themselves must have belonged to a powerful trade-union because if one blew they all went out and it was merry hell to find the culprit! A few years back I took that threadbare old tree to the tip when my mother, unable to look after herself any longer, went into sheltered accommodation and the task of dismantling our family home fell to me - it was a time of many emotional highs and lows, causing me to relive a host of sad and happy memories, the merry-go-round of this bitter/sweet experience we call life.
There were always amazing presents, I remember, and best of all one early Christmas was a doctor’s kit furnished with precision medical instuments made out of chunky plastic, probably bought from stalls in Aberdare market or the aforementioned Woolworths: there was a thing for peering into ears with, a lamp for the forehead to inspect a patient’s tonsils, a hammer to test reflexes, a stethoscope, some plasters and bandages, and a card that identified me, Martin Johnson, as a trained medical practitioner. Mam, driven to be imaginative and practical because of a shortage of money, had arranged the kit in a white metal lunch box with a red cross attached to the lid to delineate purpose made with sticking plaster and red ink! But I almost forgot, there was also a blue plastic clock for checking a patient’s pulse - after I’d outgrown my doctor’s kit this clock became a Christmas decoration and still hangs on our tree to this day.
But the very best thing of all that I remember about Christmas, and I don’t know if this is a Welsh Valleys thing, or something initiated by my Dad, I’ve certainly not come across it anywhere else - about half of the content of our Christmas stockings as children were booby prizes (Father Christmas had a very funny sense of humour we were told!) - people tend to look at me like I’m daft when I mention it! In our stockings eagerly left at the bottom of our beds and filled by Father Christmas as we slept were to be found all manner of things which we opened with glee. The bounty had been stuffed down into an old rugby sock, all carefully wrapped in newspaper with little cryptic messages attached, there were chocolate coins, toy soldiers, tangerines wrapped in silver paper, nuts, toy cars, plastic magnifying glasses, gob-stoppers and usually a practical joke like a blood stained bandage that you could slip over your finger that had a large nail protruding from either side. Dad’s booby prizes were generally introduced with a label like “You’ll definitely love this!” or “Very useful item” - these could be anything from a candlestick off our mantlepiece to a carrot or potato. Father Christmas undoubtedly adored all the children in the world but he definitely enjoyed teasing them too! When I reflect on all those past Christmasses it is this memory of our Christmas stockings that fills me with warmth and brings a little moisture to the eye. It was the attention to detail of my folks, and that unfakeable sense of being held and embraced within the family fold.
In a few days time, I shall relive many of these feelings again by observing the joy Christmas brings to my wonderful little granddaughters. Yet, despite it being a family occasion, we are reminded that Christmas is a time for wishing peace and goodwill to all mankind, so as we settle down to a feast amongst our families, please spare a thought for those who are less fortunate. We share a planet with thousands of other species and we so often tend to take it all for granted, but it isn’t money or power that makes Christmas special, it is simply love made manifest. Be kind to each other and have a lovely Christmas.
I was asked recently if I’d like to write six hundred words for one of our local newspapers about my new title Wilhelm & Laszlo and its precursor Niedermayer & Hart. These two form the first two instalments in what will eventually become a trilogy (no overall title yet!). The link to the The Times of Tunbridge Wells article, if anyone would like to read it, is at the bottom of this blog piece.
When I first published Niedermayer & Hart, although I had always visualised it as the first part in a trilogy with a fully complete and rounded story arc, I brought it out as a standalone piece. This was primarily because, as a newcomer to the writing game then, I didn’t want to commit to something I knew would take up many more months of work before first receiving some feedback from readers/reviewers etc. - I thought I’d dip a toe into the pond before committing myself to full body immersion. Once, however, Wilhelm & Laszlo was ready to publish, we (‘we’ being the production team at Odd Dog Press, wife and editor-in-chief Judith Johnson, son and cover designer, artist Tom Johnson) felt both the book covers needed to be more informative about content - the original front cover of N&H gave very little away, and unless you flipped over to read the blurb (not possible on Kindle) and saw the bloody fingerprint depicted on the name-card there, a prospective reader might have thought they were about to begin a work of historical fiction, or gothic romance perhaps?
So these were the main motivators behind the new-look for Niedermayer & Hart. Firstly, to guide and inform the reader more accurately about content, and secondly to create a ‘brand’ look and feel that might be applied just as effectively to the first two books, as well as to the planned final part of the trilogy. We had numerous discussions over many months of possible themes, at first thinking to portray an inanimate object like the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey (as depicted on the first edition of N & H) on each cover. Over time however, the concept changed and it was agreed we should try and hint at something contained within the books themselves, and that this was probably best achieved through its cast of characters.
The amount of art work involved in creating both covers was enormous. Tom is a very busy man and he generously gave what little spare time he had to the project, never once stinting on or suggesting corner-cutting if more work was required. I am a proud and grateful father. There were times when we found ourselves wandering down a few blind-alleyways before we could finally agree as a production team that everything was exactly how we wished it to be. The books (8.5”x 5.5”) required Tom to complete five intricately detailed much larger pieces of art work (see photograph) in oils on paper, which he scanned into a computer before sizing, ordering and arranging them with text etc.
The printed books are simply a delight to behold (okay, I’ll admit to a little bias here!). And although reviews are slow to appear as yet - an eternal problem for independent authors - feedback I’m hearing via email/twitter etc. from readers is very positive on the content front too. So, phew!
I loved the old N & H cover and I simply adore the new artwork for the trilogy. I hope you agree.
Niedermayer & Hart and Wilhelm & Laszlo are both available through Amazon as ebooks and in printed versions.
Click this link to see more of Tom Johnson’s artwork.
Click link to read the article described above from The Times of Tunbridge Wells.
I am delighted to announce the publication of Wilhelm & Laszlo. It is the follow-on book to Niedermayer & Hart, the cover of which has also profited from a re-design.
The books both look fabulous with their newly branded covers. These were designed by the hugely talented Tom Johnson, which not only enables me to crow about the wonderful artwork that introduces the first two titles in my supernatural/thriller trilogy, but also as his proud father. The whole endeavour has been an inside job, with my wife Judith providing her support since the completion of Wilhelm & Laszlo’s second draft (the point at which I allow her to view new work) as unpaid editor. I also called on the knowledge and expertise of a number of friends for help. I must choose my friends wisely, because everyone approached not only said yes immediately, but never once complained about the task (least not to me!). Some of these good people must have spent hours at work on the book’s behalf and for this I am indebted to them. I am not going to produce a list here, but they are all named in the book’s acknowledgements. I should also mention fans of Niedermayer & Hart (and Roadrage) who have always kept faith with the project despite some lengthy delays at times.
Wilhelm & Laszlo is a fairly chunky read at just under 162,000 words - only about six hundred words shorter than Niedermayer & Hart. Here’s its blurb:
In this second part of the trilogy which began with Niedermayer & Hart, the story once again unfolds within two time frames. The Guardians under Aref’s leadership reach Albi, where de Frontignac and his crew soon gather, intending to steal that which the Guardians have striven long and hard to protect.
While Jim Latimer and his friends mistakenly believe that the Niedermayer & Hart affair is concluded, three thousand miles away in Newark, New Jersey, a number of fresh corpses are discovered, all minus their heads and hearts.
A new foe emerges, highly organised, corrupt, powerful, able to spread its influence widely. The choice that remains for Latimer and co. is stark: take the fight to the enemy, or perish.
Having gained the confidence of readers with the first title, they will hopefully deem me capable of once again dovetailing two seemingly disparate sagas. Overall, I am happy with the new book; it continues the story where the first one leaves off, but may see its readers a mite baffled and intrigued for a while.
I hope it works as effectively as Niedermayer & Hart appears to have done for the majority of its readership, and for those who are yet to discover the series, that it will become a thrilling experience.
My thanks once again to everyone who assisted me, whether it was by proof-reading, editing, advising, or just casual readers who discovered the book by chance and took the trouble to post an honest review, or supporters on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Believe me, as an indie author with a marketing budget that’s pretty close to non-existent, every little bit helps.
(Because it's brand new, its details haven't completely linked on Amazon yet, so it's a bit more complicated)
Find Wilhelm & Laszlo on Kindle here:
or in its print version here:
Our first edition of Niedermayer & Hart (published in April 2012, copies still available) was airport-exclusive size and priced at £12.99. We'd always wanted to offer our readers print books produced to a high spec, but at a more affordable price, and we are therefore pleased to announce that the new edition, physically a bit smaller at 8.5 x 5.5 inches, retails at just £8.99 ($12.95).
As promised in my last blog, I’m taking this opportunity to unveil the new cover for Niedermayer & Hart. I'd always had plots in mind for three stories, however, I wanted to be certain that the first book was received well before committing myself to writing the other parts of the trilogy. Wilhelm & Laszlo is the resulting sequel.
I am fortunate to have a son, Tom Johnson, who is an accomplished artist, and has generously donated many hours of his valuable time to the task of creating two fantastic new covers. They are essentially portraits in oils, and I am assured by a graphic designer I know, that such cover designs would be considered too costly to produce these days by any mainstream publishing house. I'll be releasing the first pictures of the Wilhelm & Laszlo cover in a few days’ time, once it's actively published.
The covers for both new editions are unmistakably creepy, at least we hope so! The Kindle versions naturally share the same front covers with their printed brethren. Although I’m a fan of Kindle, it still lends an added thrill (I'm sure many book lovers will agree) to hold a new paperback, and turn it over to scan the blurb. So there you have it: re-branded, with two eye-catching covers! Believe me, it took some gnashing of teeth, a lot of head-scratching, patience and a fair amount of going back to the drawing-board before we achieved the look and feel we were after. I look forward to receiving your feedback in the weeks and months to come, but personally speaking, as far as the covers are concerned, we've ticked everything on our list.
Honestly, just take a look at the book cover above, and tell me you don't want to know what's lurking behind that door at number sixty-seven? Be warned though, whilst reading this book some readers have admitted they needed to put the light on when making trips to the loo at night, others have opted to only read during daylight hours. Fortunately, all survived and more importantly (from a partisan viewpoint) lived long enough to leave a favourable review!
I mentioned in my previous post that I would be doing promos leading up to the publication of Wilhelm & Laszlo. For the past week, my psychological thriller Roadrage has been available at a vastly reduced price on Kindle - if you're partial to nice people being plunged into disturbingly credible, deeply unsettling predicaments, then hurry, because the offer ends at midnight on Friday 27th! See links below.
From today, Niedermayer & Hart will also be available on Kindle at 99p in the UK, or $0.99 for US readers, and this offer will run until just before midnight on 31 October (Halloween, yay!). The book has achieved a lot of excellent reviews on the Amazon sites and continues to maintain a high rating on Goodreads etc.
Here are the links for a Kindle copy of Roadrage (available until midnight Friday 27 October):
And here are the links for a Kindle copy of Niedermayer & Hart (available for the next six days):
And here’s the new print version (which may not be fully linked yet to other versions):
I'm doing some promos leading up to the publication of my new title.
First off, for the next few days, anyone with a taste for psychological thrillers can download a Kindle copy of Roadrage at a significantly reduced price (link at the bottom of this blog). It’s managed to retain 4.04 on Goodreads after sixty-eight reviews/ratings, and there are more reviews available on the Amazon sites. You have until Saturday 27th October to purchase a Kindle copy for 99p in the UK, or $0.99 if you’re in the United States. The book is normally priced at £3.99 and $4.95 on Kindle, so it’s a genuinely good offer.
This promo will overlap with the arrival of a new print edition of Niedermayer & Hart (a new Kindle version will be available simultaneously, and for a short time, this too will be at a reduced price), which I’m bringing out to precede the publication of its follow-on title. I’m really pleased that we’ve also been able to achieve a better price for readers at £8.99 and $12.95.
We’ve been working really hard at Odd Dog Press, and the covers for both books beautifully complement each other. The aim has been to create an instantly identifiable ‘brand’ for these two books, which are the first and second parts of a trilogy. The art-work is exquisite. I’m looking at the proof copy of Niedermayer & Hart as I write this blog, which only arrived in the post yesterday, and I am over the moon with the results. I’ll be posting the first pictures of the covers shortly. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the original cover of Niedermayer & Hart (which also remains available while stocks last), in fact, numerous people have written to me expressing their appreciation for its artwork. However, we felt it didn’t really give potential readers quite enough information, and may even have misled some people into thinking it was historical romance of some kind, Gott in Himmel! These exciting covers were created for me by my talented son, Tom Johnson. The new ebook and paperback of Niedermayer & Hart will also include a sneak preview of the prologue to its sequel.
Finally, in just under two weeks’ time, hopefully coinciding with Halloween, my new title Wilhelm & Laszlo will be published. If you read Niedermayer & Hart recently, or have an astounding memory, then you'll have an inkling of the direction things are going in the sequel. If it’s a while since you read it and can’t remember, then there’s still time to brush up! And any newcomers to this unsettling little world, can soon download a Kindle copy at the offer price for little more than the price of a postage stamp.
Here are the links for Roadrage:
If you're a fan of horror thrillers, or if you enjoy a ripping yarn, why not invest 99p ($0.99) in a kindle copy of Niedermayer & Hart, (normal price being $3.99). The title is on offer for the next few days. Niedermayer & Hart is the first part of a trilogy and its second book will be arriving in the next few weeks.
The quote in the title of this blog post comes from a recent review I liked which was posted on Amazon. Here's the review in full:
12 March 2018
Page Turning And A Surprise Around Every Page, What's Not To Love?
A real rip snorter of a page turner. I don't normally read anything other than Stephen King (I'm a bit of a King snob and generally find other Sci fi / horror authors don't quite meet the grade) but Johnson has written what I love to read. Looking forward to reading more of his books.
Below is a film of the book's prologue
I read news articles daily to keep myself informed, and generally end the day with some recreational/vocational reading. I seem to be on a dark path lately when I enter that normally peaceful haven of bedtime reading. In mid-May I re-visited Nineteen Eighty-Four ( here’s my review/blog ), only previously read when I was a teenager. I followed this with William Golding’s cautionary tale about the savagery lurking just beneath humanity’s civilised veneer in his classic, Lord of the Flies, where a group of polite English schoolboys are stranded on a desert island and cease to behave nicely. Lord of the Flies was a GCSE book when I was at school, but only during alternate years; our group read My Family and Other Animals. Lord of the Flies had always been on my mental to-read booklist - it is now, along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, on my list of books worth reading again (as is My Family and Other Animals, for that matter).
Earlier this year, I read Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny, about her interviews with the former Kommandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, Franz Stangl, whilst he was held captive in Dusseldorf prison in 1971 ( my review/blog ). It is the only book I’ve come across, throughout a lifetime, that forced me to abandon bedtime reading because its content was just too upsetting to facilitate a sound night’s sleep; I had to find daytime moments to complete this book, which I am very glad to say I did. I firmly believe that it behoves all of us to understand something of the history that has shaped the world we live in. Not every book I’ve read this year has been serious; there have been a few entertaining reads, but I am currently reading The Third Reich at War: How the Nazis led Germany from Conquest to Disaster by Richard J Evans. This is the final part of Evans’ brilliant, highly accessible history of the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis. Despite being easy to read for the layman like myself, the books are still pretty hefty, due to their subject matter, so I’ve tackled a volume a year for the past three years.
I’ve always read a wide, eclectic, mix of books, I do think however, that my choice of reading has been greatly affected by the Brexit referendum (2016) and the rise of populism across the world. For about three months after the Brexit result, my wife and I woke up every morning feeling slightly shell-shocked - like we couldn’t really be awake and it was all just a terrible dream. The Trump victory later that year only made matters worse, especially when the triumphant Trump was photographed outside a golden lift with the so-called, self-styled Bad Boys of Brexit. Until that moment, I for one, wasn’t even remotely aware of the sinister connection between the various populist movements around the world. It was only in the weeks and months that followed the US elections that I learned about Breitbart, Robert Mercer, Cambridge Analytica, AIQ and of the unquestioned Russian tampering in our democratic processes, both at home and in the US. Here in Britain, our politicians, of all persuasions, still seem reluctant to fully address the extent and effect of such meddling: it’s as if they’d prefer not to look, and hope the bogeyman will simply go away. The mainstream press remains fairly inert too, but perhaps with them it’s something akin to shame, like admitting they’ve been caught asleep when they were supposed to be on the watch. Consequently, lone voices like Carole Cadwalladr, writing for the Observer and Guardian, have been dismissed as loony conspiracy-theorists. Yet there are undoubtedly questions that demand answers: the role of George Cottrell for a start: at twenty-two he was senior adviser to Nigel Farage, UKIP fundraiser, once kicked out of his posh school for gambling, and (more recently and seriously) convicted of money laundering in the US. During the US elections, Cottrell met with senior figures in the Republican party and with Russian officials. Then there’s Arron Banks, the largest private donor to any political party in British history. Some accounts concerning his wealth suggest he’s nowhere near as rich as he’d like us to believe he is, and if not, then where did his large donations originate from? Banks, Farage and fellow UKIPer Andy Wigmore have all consistently tried to conceal their dealings with Russian officials. Incidentally, three of the four named Brexiteers above also appear to possess dual nationality (Farage may have tried to apply for German nationality post-referendum, and hasn’t denied this, apparently) - not really what you’d expect from a band of lion-hearted patriots, fighting to rescue us from EU domination, is it?
Money has come to play far too great a role in influencing democracy - I am beginning to think that tax-payer-funded election campaigns might be the only answer. Equally, money wields too much power and influence over the press. And never before have I found myself questioning the impartiality of organisations like the BBC, who, it’s only fair to say, have consistently downplayed or attempted to dismiss just about everything mentioned in this piece. We live in strange times; Brexit has given the xenophobes and racists free rein, yet I’m certain that most of those who voted to Leave the EU are neither racists nor xenophobes.Some voted with their hearts, some voted because they genuinely fear the effects of immigration, a large number may have believed the false claims that we’d be financially better off outside, or wanted to restore Parliamentary sovereignty (that turned out to be a pretty bad joke this week). But however people voted, surely it would benefit all of us to know the full extent of another country’s interference in our democratic affairs? Would people feel quite as confident about the referendum result if they knew for certain that they had been targeted and manipulated by Russia, and American billionaires with far-right leanings? Our nation was swiftly aroused recently, when a foreign state appeared to have poisoned three people with an alleged nerve-agent on British soil; yet, when it comes to the possibility of the same country stealing a life-changing referendum from us, it is met with passivity.
What twentieth-century history shows us very clearly is that you simply cannot appease the Far Right. They may wear white shirts and chinos, or dress in smart suits with discreet ties these days, but they still espouse the same drivel of hate and lies, and they must be called out.
Someone recently asked me how I’d come by the idea for ROADRAGE. I explained to her that the seed of a plot came about quite by chance at about 2.30 am on the M4 motorway around Briton Ferry near Swansea in South Wales. I was driving, and my passengers, my son and wife, were both fast asleep. We were on our way to visit my mother who had not been widowed very long at the time. Almost at the end of a four hour car journey and late at night, you can imagine my eagerness to complete the last few miles. As I came onto a long, dark, deserted stretch of road, I saw, in the distance, a solitary car moving slowly up ahead. I was covering the gap between us fast, so as I approached I indicated to let the other driver know I intended overtaking. As I passed this car, it took me a few moments to realise that I wasn’t making the progress I might have anticipated. I still didn’t quite get it, and simply accelerated, thinking it would immediately be the solution. Yet the car alongside me maintained its position, despite my having increased my speed. Suddenly, I realised what was going on and felt, I’m almost ashamed to say, a sudden burst of anger at the other driver’s rank stupidity. For a minute or so I reacted (as I was undoubtedly meant to) by continuing to accelerate, but nothing I did could shake the other car off. Then, sanity came to me by way of a simple, clear thought: “The people I care about most in this whole world are asleep in this car, am I going to risk their lives, and my life too, for the sake of some daft vendetta?”
I slowed down to forty miles an hour and immediately dropped behind the other car. As soon as I’d reduced my speed, and had drawn in to the left hand lane, and was once again following, the car in front immediately dropped its speed down to forty miles an hour again. We remained travelling in convoy like this for the next few miles; fortunately, my exit from the motorway was fairly close. Incidentally, I made sure they’d passed the exit before giving them any indication that I planned on taking this route myself. It occurred to me that I didn’t want someone like this following me to my destination!
And there you have it. Naturally I make this incident considerably more dramatic in the book, fleshing out a back-story for my seemingly hapless hero, and take the antagonist’s malice well beyond the bounds of sanity. The underlying theme of ROADRAGE is the corrosive nature of hate. I used an appropriate classical quotation to set the mood for the book:
Hate is a bottomless cup; I will pour and pour.
ROADRAGE, which has never been offered free on Kindle before (and may never be again!) is available to anyone with an e-reading device from midnight PST on Thursday 17 May - midnight PST on Monday 21 May.
It’s scary. Enjoy.
Here's the link: ROADRAGE free on Kindle
I was prompted to read 1984 again, after recently watching the movie (1984) starring John Hurt, Suzannah Hamilton and Richard Burton, who all give superb performances. It is a very watchable film, presenting us with a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world, with which we are sadly all too familiar as modern cinema-goers. The last time I read this book was as a teenager, forty-odd years ago, and although it undoubtedly influenced and shaped my view of the world, I always felt Orwell was out, at the very least, by a few hundred years.
After re-visiting the book, one instantly becomes aware of how inferior and far short of the book, despite remaining fairly faithful to the story, the movie is. This is because Orwell’s 1984 is not simply about the dysfunctional love story that happens within a totalitarian state; but far more than this, it is also a polemic on the abuse of state power wielded against the individual. Orwell depicts for us a fully-realised world where rebellion is not possible, in which a global elite constantly perpetuates itself, where history is unceasingly reviewed and updated, and the thinking of the individual is repeatedly crushed by the application of Newspeak and Doublethink.
I think the movie version was, as I’ve already said, engaging, yet it largely misses the opportunity to take full advantage of the talents of a truly great actor in Burton, sadly in his last film role before his death, and who was simply made for the part of O’Brien, Winston Smith’s interrogator and nemesis. There are so many brilliant speeches of O’Brien’s in the book that Burton would have delivered with aplomb and the most impeccable world-weariness and cynicism. Film however, despite having been once known as The Talkies, tends to shy away from long speeches - perhaps movie moguls fear losing their audiences through too much talk; it’s always a far better bet to concentrate on the torture and horror! Unfortunately, Orwell mostly conveys the message behind this terrible futuristic vision, through his mouthpiece, O’Brien. The movie of 1984 is a decent film, but if only it had had the courage to increase its running-time by twenty minutes, it might have been a masterpiece!
We live in strange times, where government spokespeople are heard to refer to 'Alternative facts', and we are warned by many in authority and in the mainstream media that much of the news we see is 'fake'. In such a time, it behoves all of us to exercise our hard won democratic rights to free speech, to ensure that we are served by a free, fair and unbiased press, one that is not simply the mouthpiece of a handful of powerful oligarchs. Like I said at the top, when I read this book when I was fifteen, I don't think I thought it could really happen; now, many years on, I'm not so confident ...
I highly recommend this brilliantly written book, justifiably a classic.
M J Johnson
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