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THE RED LINE – The Gripping Story of the RAF’s Bloodiest Raid on Nazi Germany

The extraordinary feats of the Allied fighter squadrons of World War II have been rightly celebrated. And yet Bomber Command suffered more losses in a single night than Fighter Command did during the four-month-long Battle of Britain.

The men of Royal Air Force Bomber Command were amongst the greatest heroes of the conflict. Of the 125,000 airmen who served in Bomber Command, 55,573 lost their lives.

Few of us truly understand the astonishing depth and scale of their sacrifice. On 30 March 1944, 795 aircraft assembled for a raid on Nuremberg, the iconic heart of Nazi Germany. Nearly 700 men did not return. It was the RAF’s bloodiest night of the war, and became a tragic symbol of the most enduringly controversial elements of Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris’s strategy.

John Nichol’s dramatic and compelling narrative has provided the few surviving veterans with the chance to tell the story of that terrible night - the night they flew to Nuremberg.

‘A truly epic tale of courage and sacrifice –and an intensely moving epitaph to the men of Bomber Command.’ Andy McNab

 

ARNHEM - The Battle For Survival

In September 1944, a mighty shock force of battle-hardened Allied troops dropped from the skies into enemy-occupied Holland in what was hoped would be the decisive final battle of World War II. Landing miles behind the German lines, their daring mission was to secure bridges across the Rhine so that ground forces could make a rapid dash into Nazi Germany. If all went well, the war could be over by Christmas.

But what many trusted would be a simple operation turned into a brutal battle. Of some 12,000 airborne soldiers, around 1500 died and 6,000 were taken prisoner. The vital bridge at Arnhem they had come to capture stayed resolutely in German hands.

But beneath this bitter military defeat was a more important story – of heroism and self-sacrifice, gallantry and survival, guts and determination unbroken in the face of impossible odds.

In the two-thirds of a century that have passed since then, historians have endlessly analysed what went wrong and squabbled over who was to blame.

Lost in the process was that other Arnhem story: the triumph of the human spirit, as seen through the dramatic first-hand accounts of those who were there, military and Dutch civilians side by side, in the cauldron, fighting for their lives, fighting for their comrades, fighting for their honour - a battle they won hands down.

"Full of tales of individual courage and the serendipity of war....vividly described...this is history from the ordinary soldier's point of view and all the better for it." - Daily Express

 

MEDIC - Saving Lives From Dunkirk To Afghanistan

It is the desperate call for help that has echoed across battle-fields through the ages. ‘Medic! We need a medic over here! Now!’

Doctors, nurses, medics and stretcher bearers must venture where the bullets are thickest, through bomb alleys and mine fields, ducking mortars and rockets, wherever someone is injured and the cry for assistance goes up. Their job is to put themselves in the heart of danger – to run into battle to rescue the wounded and to risk their own lives to try and save the dying.

War at its rawest is their domain, an ugly place of shattered bodies, severed limbs and death. Theirs is the most selfless of acts. They fulfil society’s vital pledge to its warriors that they will not be abandoned on the battlefield. Yet, more often than not, what they do goes unnoticed – except by those who survive because of their extraordinary courage and skill.

This is the story of those brave men – and, increasingly in this day and age, women – who go to war armed with bandages not bombs, scalpels not swords, and put saving life above taking life. Many have died in the process, the ultimate sacrifice for others, to ensure that when the cry of ‘Medic!’ is heard, it will be answered. Regardless of the cost.

From the beaches of Dunkirk to the desert towns of Afghanistan, there can be no nobler cause.


“A MAGNIFICENT book. Horrifyingly vivid and jaw-droppingly moving. So much heroism and decency on every page. It's a perspective on war that takes you right in there where it matters. Great original interviews. Brilliant story-telling. A huge achievement.” – Daily Mail.

 

HOME RUN - Escape From Nazi Europe

They were on the run in enemy territory with just one goal - to get back to Britain and to safety.  During WW2, thousands of Allied servicemen found themselves cut off behind enemy lines - soldiers stranded after the evacuation of Dunkirk and airmen blasted out of the skies during raids against German targets - they were alone and on the run.  Life for the evaders hung in the balance as the made solitary treks through hundreds of miles of enemy territory, dodging enemy patrols and search parties.  Many placed their lives in the hands of brave civilians who risked the wrath of a brutal regime if the offered assistance.  For all involved it was a matter of life and death.  This is the dramatic story of the heroes who made it home...and those who did not.

'A riveting & revealing account of WW2 bravery...I loved it' - Andy McNab, Author of Bravo Two Zero

'Enthralling, vivid and deeply moving - one of the great untold stories of the war' - Daily Mail

'Gripping, moving & thoughtful.  The excellent team of Nichol & Rennell have done it again' - Patrick Bishop

 

 

TAIL-END CHARLIES - The Last Battles of The Bomber War 1944-45

Night after night they flew through the flak and packs of enemy fighters to drop the bombs that helped demolish the Third Reich - and they died in their tens of thousands. The airmen of RAF's Bomber Command were heroes who defied Hitler in the early days of the war and continued to sacrifice themselves to shatter the enemy right to the end of the conflict. But with war over they were forgotten, some of their actions seen as crimes.

John Nichol and Tony Rennell tell the astonishing and deeply moving stories of the controversial last battles in the skies above Germany, through the eyewitness accounts of the many forgotten heroes who fought them.

'Compelling, powerful, gripping, revealing' - Daily Mail

'Nichol and Rennell's objective is to reclaim the proper place of the bomber crews in history ... they succeed. They have made an important contribution towards righting a historical wrong' - Patrick Bishop, Daily Telegraph

 


THE LAST ESCAPE - The Untold Story Of Allied POWs 1944-45

 

The Last Escape, co-authored with Tony Rennell, tells the story of the hundreds of thousands of Allied POWs held in prison camps across Nazi Germany as World War II was reaching its endgame.  The Red Army was advancing on the Eastern Front and British and American troops were storming the beaches of northern France.  Many POWs feared they would be killed by the retreating German armies rather than be allowed to fall into the hands of the Russians.  Instead, in the depths of winter, their guards forced them to march out of the camps and further into Germany, away from their would-be liberators.  The marches were long and desperately arduous.  Some POWs walked for more than 500 miles, hundreds died of exhaustion, disease and starvation.  Those who survived were awed by their experience.  How they escaped with their lives and eventually reached home is a gripping story of endurance and courage, told here for the first time.

 

"Gripping, astonishing & Fascinating" - Daily Mail

"Fascinating, fair-minded, thorough & readable" - Daily Telegraph

"Packed with first-hand testimony and impressive scholarship but with all the pace of a novel, this is a superb memorial of those Allied heroes who thought - wrongly - that for them the war was over" - Andrew Roberts, Historian

"The impressive research and tremendous way the survivors' stories are captured, make this a most remarkable and readable account.  I couldn't put it down"  - Charles Clarke, President, RAF Ex-POW Association

 

TORNADO DOWN (Autobiography)

RAF flight lieutenants John Peters and John Nichol were shot down over enemy territory on their first airborne mission of the Gulf War.  Their capture in the desert, half a mile from their blazing Tornado bomber, began a nightmare seven-week ordeal of torture and interrogation which brought both men close to death.  In Tornado Down, John Nichol and John Peters tell the incredible story of their part in the War against Saddam Hussein's regime. It is a brave and shocking and totally honest story: a story about war and its effects on the hearts and minds of men.

 

FICTION

Point Of Impact

 

RAF Tempests are crashing on apparently routine missions, and no one knows why.  The Accident Investigation Bureau is blaming pilot error.  Suspicious of a cover-up, Flight Lieutenant Drew Millar, whose own friends have been among the fatalities, determines to find out more.  It soon becomes clear that the key to the mystery is in the cockpit of the Tempest - but how can he unlock it without ending up dead himself?

"John Nichol straps you in and doesn't let you out until the very last page.  Point Of Impact is the most explosive thriller I've read all year." - Andy McNab

"The glimpses of aerial combat are brilliant - you can smell the hot oil, the sweat and the fear" - Daily Telegraph

"Nichol's writing skills are first rate" - Daily Express

 

Vanishing Point

January 1991.  Tornado pilot Mark Hunter is shot down and captured in Iraq.  Tortured and badly wounded, he comes home a hero.  But for him, the war is far from over...

Six years later, his fellow captives have started to die.  Following a trail which takes him from supersonic combat in the Nevada skies to an ultra secret research facility in the British countryside, Hunter and top UN scientist Natalie Kennedy must find out why.  Because in ten days time they must both return to the place where the nightmare began.

"Startlingly pertinent...A thriller with a serious message" - The Times

"Fresh and compelling...as good as anything written by Jeffrey Archer or Dick Francis" - Daily Mail

Exclusion Zone

The Falklands, 1999 - a vital strategic stronghold in the South Atlantic, and a prize gem in the oil-rich Antarctic.  for RAF pilot Sean Riever it is a place of ghosts.  For Jane Clark, the only female in the squadron, a place of tough decisions.  An air of menace hangs over the desolate, battle-scarred landscape; present dangers and past mysteries lurk in the shadows on the skyline.  And Sean's compulsion to live up to a legendary hero leads him towards a woman whose loneliness matches his own.  Then a Navy submarine disappears, and Argentine jet fighters penetrate the Exclusion Zone.  As Sean and his companions stave off wave after wave of enemy attacks, their fight to protect the islands becomes an epic battle for survival - in which victory can only be achieved at a terrible price.

"A cracking combat thriller, with a delicate love story" - Mail On Sunday

"A fast paced...quality thriller" - The Mirror

Stinger

Sickened by the bloody toll of war, RAF pilot Sean Riever transfers to helicopters and heads for the mountains of Afghanistan.  His work there with the mine-clearance teams takes him as close to the shadow of war as he wants to get.  But when a British passenger plane is shot down by a Stinger missile over the east coast of America, Sean is forced once more into the cauldron of war.

"John Nichol is king of the aerial thriller" - Later

"Nichol has a natural feel for his subject...prepare for a breathtaking ride" - Peterborough Telegraph

 

Decisive Measures

When helicopter pilot Jack Griffiths leaves the RAF to join a private military company, Decisive Measures, he hopes to put behind him forever the brutal ethnic conflicts he witnessed in Bosnia and Kosovo.  And to bury the memory of a disastrous mission which ended in the loss of many innocent lives.  His new job takes him to Sierra Leone to carry out routine security operations in the diamond fields.  Jack meets Layla, a doctor working with a local charity but their growing friendship is torn apart when civil war erupts.  And Jack is sent back into combat where he has to confront once more the consequences of his past mistake.  Then Decisive Measures abandon the mine workers to their fate and Jack and Layla are forced to decide where their true loyalties lie.

"John Nichol delivers another hard-hitting adventure" - The Mirror

" A terrific yarn" - Peterborough Evening Telegraph

" A topical military thriller exploding with action and yet possessed of a rare depth of conscience" - Northern Echo

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