I’ve just finished the latest of my books about James Burke. It’s been over a year since the last one but I produced the second Galbraith & Pole fantasy novel in between. (If you haven’t read Galbraith & Pole yet, do give them a try. They will make you see vampires in a whole new light – and they could have you looking carefully at some political figures as well.)

Anyway, Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras has been written and re-written and read over by lovely people who pick out what’s wrong with it and by now it’s almost ready for you. One of the last things to be done is the cover and now I can reveal it to you in all its glory.

The map shows the area north of Lisbon where the Lines of Torres Vedras were built. You can see a picture of the remains of one of the forts today down in the bottom right. I took it on a visit to the Lines the year before covid put a temporary end to such expeditions.

Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras is first and foremost a spy story. The Lines were built in great secrecy, quite a feat given the scale of the project. We know that the French had spies amongst the Portuguese and that some of them were identified and fled Lisbon. Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras gives the story of what might have happened.

Although most of the story takes place in Lisbon, we do not forget the Lines themselves. Fans of military history will find plenty for them as Burke visits some of the forts in the company of Colonel Fletcher — the man who realised Wellington’s grand plan and constructed one of the greatest defensive works until the Maginot Line of the 1930s. (And, unlike the Maginot Line, it worked.)

Burke and the Lines of Torres Vedras will be published early in April. Watch this space!

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