Walters, Guy 1971–
Walters, Guy 1971–
PERSONAL: Born August 8, 1971, in London, England; married Annabel Venning (an author); children: two.
ADDRESSES: Home—Warminster, Wiltshire, England. Agent—Tif Loehnis, 29 Adam and Eve Mews, London W8 6UG, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Times, London, England, journalist, 1992–2000; freelance writer, 2000–.
The Leader (novel), Headline (London, England), 2003.
The Occupation (novel), Headline (London, England), 2004.
(Editor, with James Owen) The Voice of War (anthology), 2004.
The Traitor (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A fourth novel, The Colditz Legacy; Berlin Games, a history of the 1936 Berlin Olympics; editing a second anthology, with James Owen.
SIDELIGHTS: Guy Walters is a former London Times journalist who uses his experience as a newsman to explore alternate histories of the twentieth century. His first novel, The Leader, asks the question, "What would have happened to England if Edward VIII had refused to abdicate in 1937, had insisted on marrying the American divorcée Wallis Simpson, and had allied the country with the fascist leaders Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler?" In Walters' re-imagining of the political situation leading up to World War II, Britain has become a fascist state. Oswald Moseley, leader of the fascist Blackshirts, has seized power with the help of the king. For his part, Edward VIII, who historically flirted with fascism and made friends with prominent fascists, now leads a nation that has incarcerated its Jewish population in concentration camps and sent its opposition political leaders into prison on the Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea. "The ability of fascism to insinuate itself into British society and pit work mates, families and friends against each other in an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust," remarked Paul French in the Asian Review of Books, "is well detailed."
One of these political leaders is James Armstrong, former conservative chief whip and a World War I veteran with a strong war record. Moseley rails against Armstrong's supporters, accusing them of Jewish ancestry or Communist sympathies (although most are neither Jewish nor Communists). His accusations lead to Armstrong's arrest and imprisonment. After escaping confinement, however, Armstrong begins to organize the scattered resistance movements across the country, ranging from the working classes of London's East End to the wealthy of the westernmost suburbs. "When we meet Armstrong's eventual East End collaborators they are not Communists either," stated critic L.J. Hurst in Vector. "However, Walters throws an international spanner into the works—what do the real Communists—that is, the Stalinists and Stalin himself—want for Britain?" The complications have Armstrong pitted against the fascists on the one hand and the Communists on the other, while trying to restore British traditions of democracy.
In The Traitor Walter again approaches an historical subject with a unique twist. His focus this time is on the leader of a Fascist-led British force that is mobilized to fight on the Eastern Front against the Russians. The traitor in question is Captain John Lockhart, who was captured by British during a partisan raid in the Balkans. Lockhart turns to the Nazis when they convince him that, should he serve in their force, they will release his wife from a concentration camp in Belgium. In his own mind, however, Lockhart remains a British patriot, determined to use his position to undermine the Nazi war machine from within. "Walters," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic, "delivers a fast-paced, exciting story filled with action, intricate plot twists, deception and betrayal."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of The Traitor, p. 507.
Publishers Weekly, June 20, 2005, review of The Traitor, p. 57.
Vector, May-June, 2004, L.J. Hurst, review of The Leader.
Asian Review of Books Online, http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/ (October 23, 2005), Paul French, review of The Leader.
Guy Walters Home Page, http://www.guywalters.com (October 23, 2005).