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Blog Tour and Book Excerpt for "A Turbulent Peace"

Book Title: A Turbulent Peace

Author: Paul Walker

Publication Date: July 2022

Publisher: Sharpe Books

Page Length: 305 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


January 1919.


Following the armistice, Mary Kiten, a volunteer nurse in northern France, is ready to return

home to England when she receives a surprise telegram requesting that she report to Paris.

The call comes from her Uncle Arthur, a security chief at the Peace Conference.

Within minutes of arriving at the Majestic Hotel in Paris, Mary hears a commotion in the

street outside. A man has been shot and killed. She is horrified to earn that the victim is her

uncle. The police report the attack as a chance robbery by a known thief, who is tracked

down and killed resisting arrest.

Mary is not convinced. Circumstances and the gunshot wound do not indicate theft as a

motive. A scribbled address on Arthur’s notepad leads to her discovery of another body, a

Russian Bolshevik. She suspects her uncle, and the Russian, were murdered by the same


To investigate further, Mary takes a position working for the British Treasury, headed by J M


But Mary soon finds herself in the backstreets of Paris and the criminal underworld.

What she discovers will threaten the foundations of the congress.

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Author Bio:

Paul lives in a village 30 miles north of London where he is a full-time writer of fiction and

part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a posh garden shed is regularly

disrupted by children, a growing number of grandchildren and several dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based

around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the

series – “State of Treason” and “A Necessary Killing”, were published in 2019. The third

book, titled “The Queen’s Devil”, was published in the summer of 2020.

Travel forward a few hundred years from Tudor England to January 1919 in Paris and the

setting for Paul’s latest book, “A Turbulent Peace”. The focus of the World is on the Peace

Conference after WW1 armistice. Add a dash of Spanish Flu, the fallout from the Russian

Revolution, and you have a background primed for intrigue as nations strive for territory,

power and money.

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Book Excerpt:

I slowed in the foyer, gasping to catch my breath. Two men stopped their conversation and

stared. Other eyes were on me as I crossed the foyer, up a few marble steps, and down a

corridor to room number 28. I knocked and waited a couple of seconds before trying the door

handle. It was open. I edged into the room, calling his name. His bedroom door opened, and

John came out hoisting up braces over his shirt.

‘Mary, what is it?’

‘Please John… please come with me. It’s urgent. I’ll explain on the way.’ I picked up the

khaki jacket hanging over the back of a chair and handed it to him. ‘You’ll need your

overcoat as well.’

‘Where… just a minute. Wait.’

Too slow. I grabbed his arm and pulled him. Desperation must have shown on my face

because he submitted to my urging, slammed his door shut and wrestled with his coat as he

followed. He caught up and matched my steps as we arrived at the exit.

‘Where are we going?’

‘It’s only a few minutes away.’


‘Down here, then across the road.’ We were walking too quickly for a proper conversation.

‘It’s Keynes.’

‘What about him?’

‘In trouble – I think. Come on.’ I tugged at his arm, and we broke into a run.

We stopped by a haberdashery before the junction with Rue Lauriston.

‘Now, tell me what’s going on,’ he said.

‘I think a plan has been laid to harm Mr Keynes in some way.’

‘Harm him – how?’

‘I’m not sure.’ I grabbed his coat and guided him towards the shop window. ‘I’ve seen a

group of men… they seemed to be conspiring… to lure him….’

‘You’re not making a lot of sense, Mary.’

The shop was still open, and we were too conspicuous in the light. ‘We need to move into the

shadows. Shall we - can we pretend we are a couple?’

‘My pleasure.’ He smiled and crooked his elbow, allowing me to slip in a gloved hand. ‘Sir

Basil told me about your meeting this morning.’ I started to respond but stopped myself, and

all that escaped my mouth was a puff of air. Now was not the time. I inclined my head as an

encouragement to move on, and we strolled down the street until the doorway in Rue

Lauriston came into view. I stood with my back to the wall, grabbed the lapels of John’s

overcoat and pulled him closer.

‘Not too close; I need to be able to see the other side of the street.’

‘We need to make this convincing,’ he whispered in my ear. I gave him a playful punch on

the chest. ‘Seriously, Mary, are we talking mortal danger here or some form of practical


‘It’s not a practical joke. Wait…’ I noticed two figures walking this way on the other side of

the street. One had a long, loping gait that I was sure belonged to Keynes. ‘He’s coming.’

I peered around the other side of John. I couldn’t see either of the hard men.

‘Don’t look behind you. Another ten seconds, and we’ll cross the road and follow him.’

It was the blond young man with Keynes. They were sharing a joke. Animated. Close. Then,

I think I understood.

‘Come on, let’s go.’ I took John’s hand and crossed the road. We were only fifteen paces

behind Keynes as they headed for the door in Rue Lauriston. Blond man slowed, searched in

his pocket and produced a key; smiled, put the key in the door.

‘Stop!’ My voice; harsh, discordant, unexpected, in the night air.

Keynes turned and stared, open-mouthed. Blond man froze, looked at me, glanced left, then

right. I let go of John’s hand, walked to Keynes, started to speak - and felt rather than heard

the noise – a crack like a whiplash; thin; fierce; brutal. A gunshot. Was I hit? I sensed

something on the back of my neck, my shoulders. I turned slowly, all motion sluggish and

deliberate. John had fallen, crumpled on the cold paving, mouth wide, shouting; surprised.

The noise was faint, distant. I knelt and stretched out my hand, not quite reaching him.

Then, a sudden rush of movement, feeling and hearing. Too quick. Too loud. Blood. I had

blood on my hand from John’s wound. Voices shouted. John said something. ‘Gun.’ His gun

was in its leather holster. I unfastened it, took the gun, flicked the catch. Then, still kneeling,

I swivelled to my right. He was there, one of the hard men, a dark shape, aimed - at me. I

pulled the trigger and fired; once, twice, three times. He fell.

I stood. Keynes was motionless. His blond companion ran. Another man stepped out of the

shadows and followed him. A dozen yards back in the other direction, a man was on the

ground, arms outstretched, and one leg bent under the other. Had I shot and killed him? Me?

I heard footsteps behind. People edged closer, peered at the body. I closed my eyes and

clenched my fists to clear my mind so that I could tend John’s wound. He was holding his

right shoulder. I knelt and moved his hand. He drew a hard breath and grimaced. The injury

was high in his shoulder, and it looked as though the bullet may have broken a bone.

Thankfully, there was an exit wound and a fair chance the injury would be clean and free

from infection. I lifted my head and shouted, ‘Docteur. Hopital. Rapidement,’ to anyone who

would listen. I would have to staunch the bleeding, but what was I to use?

‘John, help is coming. First, I will have to put something on your wound.’ He nodded his

head and gritted his teeth. ‘If I can stop the bleeding, you will mend.’

I stood, unbuttoned my coat, then lifted my skirt and tugged at my petticoat. No, that

wouldn’t do. I scrabbled in my bag and retrieved a knife. I cut and tore until the bottom half

of my petticoat was free. More cutting until I had lengths of cloth I could use to wrap his

shoulder. I pulled at the sleeve of his overcoat. No good, I couldn’t do it alone.

‘Help me, Mr Keynes… please.’

Keynes’ body seemed to shudder with surprise at my words. He took off his coat, threw it on

the ground and lowered himself on to one knee, so he was able to tug at John’s overcoat and

jacket sleeves while I supported his shoulder. After much painful pulling and yelling, I was

able to get at the injured shoulder and could see the exit wound.

‘Good news, John. It’s a clean injury.’ He attempted a smile that didn’t quite make it. I

looked at Keynes. ‘Brandy or whisky?’ He nodded, produced a small silver hip flask. I

dribbled contents on the entry and exit wounds, then handed it to John. He gulped three or

four mouthfuls before I prised it from his fingers and returned to Keynes. Then, it was a

question of wrapping as tightly as I could around John’s shoulder while trying to minimise

his pain.

I finished by tying a rough sling to hold his injured arm. I checked my handiwork, kissed him

on the forehead and announced, ‘Bravely done, John. That should do the trick.’

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Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn
Sep 20, 2022

Thank you for hosting Paul Walker with A Turbulent Peace today. xx


Sounds like a fascinting book--something I need to read!


Paul Walker
Paul Walker
Sep 20, 2022

Thank you for hosting this excerpt - much appreciated. Paul W

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