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Over by Christmas

(2 customer reviews)

by William Daysh

It is 1914. As war engulfs the British Empire, Royal Navy gunner, George Royal awaits his next ship in his home port where his best friend has fallen in love with beautiful Carrie, a woman with secrets.

100 in stock

9781908135032 , , , , , ,

Meet The Author

"In William’s working life there were two distinct phases – Royal Navy and post-Royal Navy – both roughly equal in time terms at around twenty-two years each. He joined the Fleet Air Arm (a branch of the Royal Navy) as an Artificer Apprentice and left as a Lieutenant A/E (Aircraft Engineer Officer). As well as working hard while in the RN he took advantage of all sports opportunities. His hobbies included golf; squash; competitive grass hockey; am-dram and SCUBA diving. He also flew on every available opportunity, sometimes over long distances in small military jets, and travelled the world occasionally in large aircraft carriers. Later, he qualified as a Ship’s Diving Officer – a fact that is inextricably connected to Over By Christmas. Throughout his time in the Fleet Air Arm he developed an urge to be an actor and/or a writer. But as he later held a Queen’s commission in the navy – a binding contract from which he could not simply walk away – his aspiration to act professionally had to be more of a desire than an option. But writing he could do anywhere – and he did: enjoying it whenever possible. Having completed several creative writing correspondence courses (an excellent pastime while off duty at sea) he was ready to submit his first film script when he left the navy in 1971. However, he had a very practical bank manager at the time who persistently pointed out the “hit-and-miss” nature of writing and, in doing so, managed to torpedo William’s hopes to become a writer for the second part of his life. So instead of writing he joined IBM OP Sales in London, but was head-hunted a year later by Commercial Metals Ltd. (futures metal traders on the London Metal Exchange). He joined them as the UK Sales Manager but left after 6 months (still feeling unsettled in ‘Civvy-Street’ after all the excitement of the navy). He then joined a major life assurance company in London as a salesman and progressed to Branch Manager. He spent eleven years managing branches of several life companies then finally became an Independent Financial Adviser before semi-retiring in 2000. Still playing hockey after leaving the navy, he played for the Wimbledon Hockey Club , he also played squash and continued to enjoy skiing holidays. He also carried on sub-aqua diving for several years and dived on the Mary Rose site when it was first discovered. He also took part in other diving expeditions in the Scilly Isles and Channel Isles. The last dive he had was with his children in Turkey, in 1999. Along the way and at some personal expense, he spent 2 years inventing and bringing to the market a new kitchen tool that a large interested company predicted would be a winner that would make him very rich. But it wasn’t; and he’s not. Instead, William now spends his time computer-fiddling (mostly graphics & video) and, of course, writing. He took a Guildford University Creative Writing course and wrote some articles for technical magazines and had a small collection of short stories published on line at Authors Online. Over by Christmas by William Daysh"

It is 1914. As war engulfs the British Empire, Royal Navy gunner, George Royal awaits his next ship in his home port where his best friend has fallen in love with beautiful Carrie, a woman with secrets. When she is attracted to George, she brings the two men into conflict. Britain’s leadership is being severely tested – so the parallel story of a besotted Prime Minister reflects the realities of George’s war. Full of Historical Naval detail with a strong WW1 story line of changing social moralities.


2 reviews for Over by Christmas

  1. P. Welch

    A thoroughly absorbing read

    This is a wonderful historical novel from first time author William Daysh. He takes as his background the first 18 months or so of the First World War. His characters are drawn from different strata of society, some real, some fictional, but all are well drawn and believable, and their dialogue convincing. They are caught up in the sweep of international events and personal emotions, and we follow their fate in these dramatic and terrible months. In the upper echelons of society we follow the British prime Minister, Asquith, trying to come to terms with the demands of the war at the same time as his feelings are directed towards a much younger woman. Churchill is there too, `Jacky’ Fisher and Lloyd George. The impact their direction of the war has on ordinary men and women is seen as we follow the fates of a father and son, Jack and George Royal, in the Royal Navy. Through their eyes we experience dramatic action on the high seas as the dreadnoughts of the British and German Navies encounter each other, and in some of the fighting in the Dardanelles. The author is very good at describing the action, and the pace is fast and exciting. And tangled emotions are not the prerogative of the upper class. We see how the relationship between George Royal and his best friend Bill are affected by the arrival of the rather mysterious Carrie, a triangle that is only resolved near the end of the story, along with the revelation about Carrie’s past. This is a very well written book, pacy, easy to read, and it carries the reader along. The research for this book shows through, and also is the more convincing because of the author’s own naval service. As the characters are so believable the ending is a very convincing and satisfying one. Highly recommended.

  2. Don Struke

    Brilliant story of love, political intrigue, and world war

    At last, a magnificent work of romance and war by a British author who knows what he’s writing about. Ex-Royal Navy officer William Daysh has captured the sweep and vastness of World War One sea battles, when the English Navy was supreme and Germany was determined to destroy it. His wonderfully-described scenes of thunderous naval duels are counterpoint to a story of unrequited (or is it?) love between the British Prime Minister and the young Venetia Stanley, an emotionally-ripping affair that caught him just as Britain was going to war in 1914. From the book: “The direction of Britain’s war effort was…in the hands of decision makers wracked by divisive argument, led by a lovelorn Prime Minister plagued by emotional distractions.”

    It is the story also of a young Royal Navy gunner coming of age through intense tragedy and his own journey through life, love, and heart-breaking loss. Daysh’s combat scenes on land and at sea are some of the very best I have ever read, the tender moments among the principals are lovely, and his gift for details and dialogue make “Over By Christmas” a splendid adventure. A grand tale such as this is the result of masterly talent and, without question, extensive research and dedication to crafting a terrific book. I won’t give away the surprising ending but I cannot wait for “OBC II”! It’s fun to imagine what actors will play which parts when “Over By Christmas” comes to the big screen, as it truly deserves.

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