Season of Darkness
“Jennings has always had a keen eye for the marginalized members of society. . . . As the only police inspector in his insular Shropshire village, Tom Tyler . . . finds himself torn between loyalty to his neighbors and his sense of duty - a conflict that could easily take a Tom Tyler series through the end of the war.”
—New York Time Book Review
“Master storyteller and screenwriter Jennings . . . launches a trilogy with this superb entry. Readers will be swept away by the sagalike tone and the characters’ singular problems and traits. Think the British television series Foyle’s War for comparison.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“A fine mystery. . . . [Tyler] has a vulnerable side that makes him a character whom readers will want to know better as this series continues.”
“Jennings’s portrait of a society under threat . . . is engrossing.”
—Globe and Mail
“Tyler . . . is just as complex and appealing as Murdoch. . . . [Season of Darkness] stacks up well against other fine and compelling literature set during the Second World War.”
—Joan Barfoot, London Free Press
“it was the season of light… it was the season of darkness,”
Charles Dickens, A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
On September 3, 1939, Britain declares war on Germany and World War 11 began. For months, the English people are lulled into a false sense of security, referring to the war as “the phoney war,”. Then on May 10, 1940, Hitler’s army invades Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The British Expeditionary Force has to retreat to the beaches of Dunkirk. On May 26 a massive evacuation of troops from the beaches begins. Finally, with the German panzers rapidly moving in, the evacuation ends on June 3 having accomplished the impossible by rescuing more than 250,000 Allied troops.
For the next three months, England teeters on the edge of the abyss. She stands alone facing the ever present threat of a Nazi invasion.
The government decides to intern all German Nationals and any other people who might be considered a risk to national security. These “enemy aliens” are sent to internment camps throughout the country, although they eventually end up on the Isle of Man. One such camp is at Prees Heath, in rural Shropshire where for the summer of 1940, about 1200 men live in tents pitched on the ancient free land. The majority are Jewish intellectuals from the professional classes who have fled Nazi Germany where their lives were at risk. Unfortunately, many had not had time to get their British naturalization papers and in the wash of fear throughout the country, they are looked upon as German first, Jewish second. The camps are top heavy with highly educated men, philosophers, musicians; scientists; psychologists. To escape the boredom of camp life, the internees quickly set up a “university,” and it is possible to take classes all day long from men who in civilian life are masters in their field.
The nation has to rally and it does, even with all the imperfections and limitations human beings are capable of. A call for help on the land brings response from hundreds of young women, many of them inexperienced city dwellers. The Land Army Girls, in many ways, the unsung heroines of the home front, help keep England fed.
The British Intelligence service, now known as M15, struggles desperately to get vital information concerning the enemy, often only one short step ahead of Germany.
People go about their lives throughout this long hot summer; some fall in love, some succumb to despair. The land must be cultivated, pleasure must be found wherever it can be; the police, must of necessity go about its business of enforcing the law of the land.
To be published by Mcclelland and Stewart (August 2011)