Set at the outbreak of the Great War, the story depicts a young woman from a Gloucestershire village, tired with the constraints of her life in Edwardian Britain.
In 1916, her brother, a weak and introverted man is called up for military service. She sees an opportunity to finally compete with men in their own world and formulates a plan to go to war in his place.
In this unique and compelling tale of sibling love and extraordinary bravery, they learn to swap lives completely and she quickly adapts to her life as a man, seeking to fight alongside her male peers in war- torn France.
With many twists and turns, it demonstrates the very best and worst of soldiers of the time and brings a new perspective to the many aspects of war. With unbelievable conditions, great loyalty and unrivalled friendships, her world is then shattered as the military machine closes in. With her life now in danger, she battles to survive, bringing a conclusion the reader won’t see coming.
John Kimbrey served in the Royal Marines for twenty-five years and has travelled the world extensively. He visited Antarctica three times on exploratory and scientific expeditions and was awarded the Polar medal. He lived in New Zealand for seven years, and now lives in Lincolnshire.
In Her Sights, his first novel, depicts the heroism of soldiers in the great war, demonstrates the very best and worst of soldiers of the time. It is the first book of a trilogy that focuses on this period, and, unexpectedly, its main protagonist is a woman. She thrives on many challenges the war offers her, and ultimately becomes a cool and calculated killer.
The sequel to In Her Sights is finished and John has several months of editing and fine tuning ahead of him before it is published.
John has enjoyed reading since childhood, and always felt he had a book in him, but now feels there are many more to come. His writing style is open and reactionary, and whether it’s a gift or luck, his creative mind always develops a variety of plotlines. He gets so absorbed sometimes that ideas flow quicker than he can write them down.
John loves the great outdoors and enjoys exercise. He cycles every week and makes regular visits to his local gym. He was widowed in 2014 and has two married children and three grandchildren.
Today I have an extract from this nov for you.
No words were spoken, and as they had done many times, they followed their wits. Staying low they headed south, taking advantage of any cover available to them, to run in a crouch. They made good speed, but after only fifteen minutes they reached a line of wire right across their line of withdrawal. They dropped to the ground as Frank sought a way forward, Ed turning to cover their rear. Just a minute later, he tapped Ed on the shoulder then headed to his right and scrambled over a small rise, before disappearing into a shell hole beyond. Ed waited until the noise of his movement had ceased before she made her move. In seconds, she was at the top of the rise and was just dropping down when a sudden burst of machine gun fire opened up behind them. Frank heard the bullets fly overhead and ducked instinctively. Then he heard Ed groan. He swung round but could see nothing, so quickly reversed back to where she was, knowing she was in trouble.
Ed lay quite still, face down in the dirt, breathing rapidly. She turned her head to spit gravel from her lips and brought her hand up to feel inside her ghillie suit. It was wet, and she felt quite sick. She began to sweat and then the pain hit her!
Her breathing became shallow and quite harsh as her body went into shock. She heard a noise in front of her but stayed still in the darkness. Her best friend, she knew, would come for her. Then Frank’s hand reached for her, pulling her by the collar as he dragged her along the ground, staying low until they slid down into a shell hole. He sat up and ripped his hood from his head, speaking softly to her, but with urgency, his heart racing as he sought answers.
‘Where have you been hit?’ he whispered. She didn’t answer and so he repeated her name over and over, but she still made no sound. God, he thought, is she dead? Then he heard a murmur and sighed with relief, asking her again where she was hit. Unable to see her too well, he put his ear to her mouth.
‘On my back, at the top of my back,’ she said hoarsely. ‘But I think it’s gone right through as my chest is agony.’
Frank rolled her gently on her back, knowing the exit point would be the worst injury. He opened the buttons of her ghillie suit and pulled it down, reaching inside her tunic until he felt a large hole in her chest. It was pouring blood! He quickly reached inside his own tunic for a field dressing before opening her tunic fully. He unravelled the dressing, placing it firmly over the exit wound and pressed down to stop the bleeding, making her whimper softly. He struggled to wrap the bandages attached to the dressing around her body, but finally tied them off at the side. She arched her back in acute pain, but never uttered a sound. She bit her lip until the pain was under control. He then spoke to her softly.
‘I am going to have to turn you.’
‘Just get on with it,’ she said, groaning.
He turned her over, freeing her arm so he could access her shoulder. He yanked the back of her tunic down, reaching inside her shirt and following the sticky blood trail until he located a tiny indent, a hole. Keeping one finger over it, he reached for her own field dressing with his other hand and ripped it open with his teeth, quickly covering the small indentation that was still bleeding, and tying the dressing off as before. He pulled her tunic back up and pushed her arm into the sleeve, buttoning up her ghillie suit, and laid her flat. He knew he had to move rapidly now, or see his friend die in front of him!
He looked ahead into the darkness, hoping they were not too far from their own trenches, and quickly slung both rifles over his shoulder. He then grabbed a handful of Ed’s ghillie suit behind her head and began to drag her up out of the shell hole and along the ground. It was clear to him within a few seconds that even though she was relatively light, this could easily kill her. He decided there was no point in taking her back carefully if she died on the way! He knew what he had to do was risky, but he clearly had no choice.
‘Ed, I am going to have to carry you, it’s going to hurt,’ he whispered. He bent down, gathering her up across his body so her head lay on his shoulder, clasped his hands and taking a deep breath started to lift her up. He hoped that as he couldn’t see anything, the Germans certainly wouldn’t be able to either. He looked down at the friend he treasured most in his life, and as he set off in the darkness, he heard a volley of shells suddenly whistle overhead, landing seconds later deep into the British lines. The morning barrage had begun!
He wasted no time and set off at a fast walking pace over the undulating ground before him. Progress was swift, and he made a hundred yards before stumbling into more wire, where he dropped to a crouch, pausing for a few seconds to rest. As he rose up, a barb snagged Ed’s ghillie suit and even though he pulled on it several times, he was forced to lay her down to free her, wasting valuable time. Sweat from his exertion ran into his eyes as his fingers fumbled, but quickly he bundled her up once again and set off through the gap, all the while the shells exploding ahead. He was the most frightened he had ever been, and as his arms started to ache once more, he found himself shouting to himself to finish the job! He yelled to Ed over the increasing noise of the shells, her head just inches away from his, but she remained silent, her eyes closed. He kept telling himself they would make it and shouted to her over and over; ‘It will be OK Ed, it will be OK,’ as he maintained his pace forward towards safety, flinching each time a shell landed. He was convinced that they could not be far away now and worked his way through the wire, the bombs shattering the ground all around him. He was sweating heavily, his eyes stinging as it washed into them, his breathing rapid, and then suddenly, the ground disappeared beneath him! It was a second later and he landed in a heap in the mud, Ed now lying across him, groaning.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.