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A MINE CALLED WAGNER, A MAID CALLED MINERVA By MIKE BENT
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Autumn 1917: the Great War drags on inconclusively, inflation is rampant. Raymond Jessop, manager of the Dyffryn Cellwen steelworks, is seeking business partners with whom he can one day relocate to... More > a country where the costs of raw materials and production are lower: neutral Spain. Specifically the Bierzo, where the Basque economist Julio de Lazúrtegui has devoted decades to fomenting international interest in Coto Wagner, Europe's richest seam of iron ore. Pablo Gutiérrez, second officer of Dyffryn Cellwen's ore carrier 'Afon Dulais', torpedoed off the Gower coast, is Raymond's choice to track down the elusive Lazúrtegui and negotiate business terms. Pablo´s travels enmesh him in the underworld of unscrupulous German and British commercial and political interests, and introduce him to the delectable and mischievous Minerva, an Asturian farmer´s daughter, who helps him to find life and love beyond an arranged marriage which has ended up on the rocks.< Less
THE LONG COAST By MIKE BENT
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A family saga, a shipping company history, and the story of the career of a rather unique Norwegian coastal steamer, rolled into one, provide the background for 'The Long Coast'. The action, focusing... More > on the lives and loves of young Gilbert Hansen and his neighbours Rigmor and Ragnhild Isaachsen, whose parents run shipping agencies in Gijón in northern Spain, takes us from Asturias during the tumultuous years of the Republic and the first fifteen months of the Civil War, via post-Depression England and the Icelandic convoys crossing the submarine-infested North Atlantic, to the occupied Norway of the early 1940s.< Less
CANTABRIAN SUMMER, BALTIC WINTER By MIKE BENT
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Holidaying in Cantabria, Tamara von Rosenberg befriends freelance website creator Martin Haynes. Their time together is cut short when Tamara learns that her widower father is dying following an... More > inexplicable car accident on a remote Polish country lane. While trying to solve the mystery of his death, Tamara perseveres with her late parents' ambition to turn a decaying mansion on the Baltic coast into a nursing home. She finds that some individuals will stop at nothing to wrest the property from her hands. Poland plunges into a bleak, bitter winter of political chaos amid growing opposition to the Government's pro-EU stance. Nationalistic feelings run high. Historic feuds are reawakened. With French, German, Polish and Armenian blood, and a surname betraying her Ostpreußen ancestry, Tamuna discovers that staying alive in remote Rybkowo is a formidable challenge. Especially when those who would see her suffer in order to further their own ends arrange for her house-guest Martin to be 'deported' . . .< Less
THE BERGEN TO KIRKENES HURTIGRUTE By MIKE BENT
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Each evening of the year a ship leaves Bergen on an 11-day voyage which will take her up the Norwegian coast far beyond the Arctic Circle and to within a stone's throw of the Russian border at the... More > iron ore mining town of Kirkenes. En route she will visit 35 different ports and cover a distance of close on 2,500 nautical miles. In summer she sails in almost continuous daylight; in midwinter much of the journey is realised in darkness or varying shades of twilight. The Hurtigrute (Coastal Express) still performs similar functions to those the Post Office's first mail steamers did 180 years ago, and offers the traveller from abroad a unique insight into everyday life on the Long Coast - an insight denied to coach tour participants and those who visit Norway on cruise liners.< Less