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My father was a Polish immigrant who came to the UK during the Second World War. Born in South Wales, I was educated at Pontypridd Boys' Grammar and from an early age had a burning desire to be a Royal Naval officer.
I trained at Dartmouth Royal Naval College and later qualified as a bomb and mine disposal expert, specialising in diving and handling explosives. I led a crack team of underwater bomb disposal specialists and also became the Commanding Officer of various minesweeping and minehunting ships.
In 1976 whilst on patrol in Ireland I survived a machine gun attack by IRA gun runners. Using plastic explosives I was responsible for blowing-up a number of Second World War mines found off the coast of Britain.
During my time in the Royal Navy I had the good fortune to work with Prince Charles for a year. On leaving the Navy, I lived in Nigeria for fifteen months where I was in charge of a saturation diving system. I then moved to the American Midwest for a year.
I have travelled extensively, researching material for my work. I now live with my family in West Stirlingshire in Scotland.
I have 2 genres: 1)the Tears series. Adventure sagas spanning the first half of the 20th century. A lot of historical facts but very much a story about the struggles and achievements of one family. There are 4 books in this series and I am working on the fifth. 2)Action thrillers. The Nick Hunter Series is a about The International Force Against Terrorism and involves highly topical political situations. Fast paced action in all these books. I also have a number of stand alone action thrillers.
I bought this book without knowing anything about it. I bought it to take on a long international flight, needing something that would last several hours. I could not put the book down; when I finished I passed it on to my friend who also could not put the book down. The book captures the intimate relationships of a family throughout their journey from birth to immigration, poverty to wealth, life and death situations. It is impossible to put this book down and plan on losing sleep! I immediately ordered the second in the series!!!
Had to write and say how much I enjoyed this book. Family sagas are a favorite of mine and this one did not disappoint. My only criticism would be that it had a pretty slow start and I almost stopped reading. Decided to give it a few more pages and am really glad I did. Hope to read more by this author.
This book was recommended by a friend who is an avid reader. She said she can't remember when she last read such a good book. It wasn't my usual type of read but I thought I'd give it a try. Wow! The characters jumped off the page and became so real that I started to miss them when the book was finished so I immediately got hold of the next 3 books in the series. Learned a huge amount about the period. The first book starts with an impoverished welsh family from the mining area of Wales and their joys and tribulations as they build a new life in the States at the beginning of last century. Such good stories - I feel they must make a film of the book.
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After reading "A Million Tears", I doubt I will read the others in the series. It's not badly written (although the author does seem to have a bit of trouble with the comma and semi-colon---often just left out entirely). However, what has the potential to be a really good family saga needs some polishing. Parts of the story were very interesting, in spite of the rather pedantic story-telling style, but then the next few parts would drag, drag, drag. Once I forced myself through the draggy parts, I enjoyed the rest. It did not grab me enough to make me want to continue reading the future volumes, however.
I'm sorry I couldn't give it more stars. A project this ambitious is a lot of work to write. But the language needs to be sharper and the characters more three-dimensional. It needs a rewrite.
The first half of this book deserves 5 stars. The author did a lot of research to write this book, and there are many short stories within one. When I read past the second half, I couldn't go on, as it seemed to me like it was going no where. I think this author is an excellent writer -- but just needs to wrap it up a little tighter, and sooner. There are many interesting details in this book, and most of it was very interesting. I really wanted to give it 5 stars, but when you get tired of reading the book, I don't think it should have five, I am sorry to say.
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This is, as the blurb states, an epic saga. It begins with a wealthy businessman, Sir David, telling a reporter that he wants to tell the truth about his family's story. And tell he does. The author uses loooong blocks of dialogue to fill in details. Not that the book is lacking in details. In several places, there is so much detail I was tempted to just give up.
The novel is presented chronologically, with each section being told from a different character's point of view, beginning with David as an 11 year old boy in the small Welsh mining town in 1890. After they arrive in America, we get the father's pov, then the uncle's, then the younger son (now about 18 years old), then back to David (now in his mid-20s, at the turn of the century). There is the Welsh family around whom the story is based, Americans from various countries, and narrators that range in age from 11 years old to elderly. Other than a couple of almost stereotyped incidental characters, though, there is absolutely no difference in voice. Child, adult, man, woman, they all sound the same.
The family's rise from poverty to success is too handily explained, but the lifestyle, politics, and historical aspects kept me reading. However, the last chapters, which involve the adventures of each brother, are long, detailed, and pretty much irrelevant to the rest of the novel.
It is quite an endeavor to write a book like this (and the sequels still to come). I wish about half of it had been left on the cutting room floor. The author would do better to stick with the saga part and leave the action/adventure to another writer.
I have read hundreds of books in my lifetime. I seldom remember an author's name I'm ashamed to say but Paul Henke is one name that I will remember. I just finished reading "A Million Tears" and can't wait to start "The Tears of War and Peace". I do believe I have just discovered my favorite author. This is my first review I've ever submitted and I just had to spread the news. No matter what genre you generally favor, the story of life is usually a good read for anyone. Read it!
I'm in the process of reading A Million Tears. Find it hard to put this book down. Feel like I know every character and can visualize what I'm reading. Especially interesting because I'm 4th generation Welsh. Ancesters came from Llanelly. Will definitely purchase the other books in the series by Paul Henke. Such a wonderful writer! Thank you Paul! Can't wait to get to the end!