Thursday, 19 December 2013

V is for VANILLA JEWS (Book 2, update 2)

The original title for the sequel to Afrika Reich was THE VANILLA JEWS. However, my editor didn’t think it sounded commercial enough, so I changed it. For the past couple of years this blog has been about the original book, now it’s time to start looking forward (spoiler free... ish) to the next one.

So what to tell you? When I first started on Book 2, I meant it as a direct follow-up; as the years have passed, however, it has subtly shifted. I now see it as a ‘parallel sequel’ – although it continues events of the first book, and develops the existing story and characters, certain aspects of the original have been dropped. It is significantly more ambitious with an interweaving, multi-stranded narrative and more emphasis on the characters than action (though there’s still a healthy dose of the latter).

The one thing it is not is a rehash of the first book. There’s a lot of pressure in publishing to create a series and/or repeat an initial success – but I have scant interest in this. What engages me is the possibility of doing something different, something unexpected. As I was recently advised by a wily American film producer: ‘never go for the sure thing’. It could be a maxim for Book 2.

A propaganda poster from the 1930s

At the centre of the story is the Nazis’ plan to deport the Jews of Europe to Madagascar, an island off the east coast of Africa. Prior to the Holocaust this was to be their fate. Some historians argue that Madagascar was nothing more than a fantasy or smokescreen to cover up the real killing. However, my research shows detailed preparations were made by the Nazis and that the subject was discussed and approved at the highest level. When Hitler was shown the plan in the summer of 1940 he responded that it was ‘very good’. 

Perhaps more disturbingly, as early as 1938 the British were also in discussions to exile the Jews to Africa. We can never know the truth path of a speculative history but the thought of a Jewish Madagascar is not improbable. As an aside, Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of vanilla – hence the original title; vanilla remains of leitmotif throughout the text.

The odious Globus
With this as the background, other elements in the new book include a deepening of Burton’s back story; the fallout of Hochburg’s invasion of Northern Rhodesia; visiting new realms of German Africa such as the ‘pleasure city’ of Roscherhafen (again based on real plans); glimpsing WBU, the Nazis’ military zone in Siberia; as well as a slew of projected Nazi hardware and several new characters. Among these is Odilo ‘Globus’ Globocnik, a real historical character and the villain of Fatherland – though my depiction of him is very different (and dare I say, more accurate) than Robert Harris’s. Did you know, for instance, that Globocnik was a master horseman, drunkard and singer of Austrian folksongs?

Without wanting to be a hostage to the future the new book will be published in time for Christmas 2014. And the title? When my editor said The Vanilla Jews didn’t work I had an instant alternative (no pun intended). It has already been registered and ISBNed. You heard it here first:

THE
MADAGASKAR PLAN


37 comments:

  1. I already knows what I want for next Xmas! Can't wait...

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    1. Only 361 shopping days to go!

      PS: As with the previous blog, too many anonymous comments are creeping in. If you're shy or don't want to leave a name/URL or log in, that's fine... but please can you at least identify yourself by an initial so I know who I'm talking to. I don't want to remove the anonymous post function. Thanks.

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  2. Me too! Roll on next year ;)

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    1. That's at least two copies sold then.

      PS: As with the previous blog, too many anonymous comments are creeping in. If you're shy or don't want to leave a name/URL or log in, that's fine... but please can you at least identify yourself by an initial so I know who I'm talking to. I don't want to remove the anonymous post function. Thanks.

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  3. After your facebook posting in summer: is the film producer Spielberg???

    Are we going to see a big screen version of Afrika Reich and it sequels? I hope so! It would make an awesome movie.

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    1. No, not Mr S. Though I can't help but agree it would be great to see TAR on the big screen. Someday, maybe...

      PS: As with the previous blog, too many anonymous comments are creeping in. If you're shy or don't want to leave a name/URL or log in, that's fine... but please can you at least identify yourself by an initial so I know who I'm talking to. I don't want to remove the anonymous post function. Thanks.

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  4. I think 'Vanilla Jews' is a good title: unusual, quixotic. It would certainly make me pick up the book. I remember reading once that Coke-a-Cola used to bulk buy the entire Madagascar harvest of vanilla. And didn't FDR also have plans to ship Jews to Madagascar or South America? Btw, did you see the recent news story about bubonic plague in Madagascar? I'm glad to hear that the new book is more complex. I enjoyed 'Reich' but thought there were too many chases and action-heavy sequences so I for one would appreciate a more interwoven, challenging, character-driven book. I'll certainly be downloading a copy to my Kindle. PS - I never knew Globus looked liked that. For some reason I always pictured him as bald and more stocky, like Hochburg, in fact.

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  5. What a great tease to your upcoming and much awaited book 2! Finally - we have a title! And a release date! And hopefully a film of book 1 in between? Dare I dream?

    Am now going to celebrate with a healthy dose of vanilla ice cream...Happy Christmas!

    Take care
    x

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    1. Kitty - I've missed Xmas, so will say Happy New Year to you instead! I suppose I should start referring to Book2 as TMP now. Was going to say shouldn't you be celebrating with Xmas Pudding... then got the joke! ;-)

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    2. Can't wait!

      B.B.

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  6. is that the same date for us in the states? i think madagascar is a good title, let's readers know what its about. unrelated question: do you have a kindle/ereader?

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  7. Glad you like the title.

    I should have been clearer about the publication date. This time round the book will be published simultaneously (give a week or two) in the UK and US.

    PS: As with the previous blog, too many anonymous comments are creeping in. If you're shy or don't want to leave a name/URL or log in, that's fine... but please can you at least identify yourself by an initial so I know who I'm talking to. I don't want to remove the anonymous post function. Thanks.

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    1. PPS: sorry, missed your Kindle question. No, I don't have any electronic reading devices. I have to say I'm partial to physical books and can't see that changing any time in the future!

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  8. I like The Madagaskar Plan because it matches The Afrika Reich. The Germanic spelling, place name, almost identical syllables - the books will seem like they go together properly.

    Vanilla Jews sounds like some horrid cookbook. Plus when you say it, it sounds like Vanilla Juice. Yuck.





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  9. Also, it may not be clear to other commenters that you have to choose the name/URL option to comment with an identity. It is not required that you have a URL to enter a name. Don't know why they are together.

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    1. Andrea - thanks for your comments (and email, replying to which is on my list of things to do!). Glad you like the title and how it matches the first book... though I have set myself up with the problem of coming up with a title to the third book which matches the first two! Unless I choose something radically different. Do you think that would work?

      Never thought of 'vanilla juice' before!

      Thanks for clarifying the name/url option... hopefully other anonymous posters will pay heed :-)

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  10. The Madagaskar Plan is definitely a better title IMO. Looking forward to reading it :-)

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  11. Graeme - good to have your seal of approval too :-)

    And really enjoyed looking at your website. I'd recommend anyone else reading this blog to take a peek, especially at the review section, there are some familiar titles there.... just click on Graeme's name

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  12. I think 'Plan' sounds a little lightweight. Could I suggest 'The Madagaskar Solution'? Echoes of the Final Solution - after all, shipping the Jews to Madagascar was a solution to a Nazi problem - 'plan' to me sounds like a trip to the seaside. "Anything planned for the weekend?" I loved Afrika Reich and I'm really looking forward to the sequel!

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    1. Anon - thanks for your comment and apologies for not replying sooner (I've been busy writing). Interesting post and I actually like your alternative title a lot! However, the reason I chose Plan is that it was the 'codename' the Nazis gave their proposal of shipping the Jews to Madagascar.

      Having said that, I might use 'Solution' in the title for Book 3. You read it here first...

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  13. Looking foward to book two- had a reminder in outlook to check back in 2014 to see the status, and will be checking back in a few months to find out when it will finally roll onto the shelves.

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    1. Joshua - thanks for your comment and apologies for not replying sooner (I've been busy writing). Thanks also for taking the time to check back. Full details, including the publication date, will be posted as soon as I have them. So keep watching this space.

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  14. in for a penny...20 March 2014 at 10:16

    Have you heard that Robert harris is writing a sequel to Fatherland. I bet Globus will be in it again. Best get writing faster to get yours out before him! Lol. Good title, I like the k again.

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    1. 'Penny' - thanks for your comment and apologies for not replying sooner (I've been busy writing). REALLY? I hadn't heard that. Is it just idle gossip or from a reputable source? Do you have a link to the rumour?

      Glad you like the K!

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  15. Just finished reading the first book and I am now super exited to find out about a second I am sure it will live up to the high standards you set for the first one

    s

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  16. S - thanks for your comment and apologies for not replying sooner (I've been busy writing). Glad you enjoyed the first book and I hope Book 2 doesn't disappoint. Keep checking my website and/or Facebook for all the latest details.

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  17. I just finished reading TAR and enjoyed it very much. I never new there were detailed plans for the Nazis to carve and "develop" Africa. Naturally I thought they would eventually get to that but the immediate target was direct domination/occupation of most of Europe, North Africa, parts of the USSR, and the Middle East. Very interesting to find out there were plans for Africa devised rather early in the Nazi era. And after Africa what? (comment by Caribbean Anonymous).

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    1. Caribbean Anonymous - thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the book. As it says in the note at the end of the book, the Nazis were thinking about Africa within a year of taking power in Germany.

      As for what they planned after... the epigraph of my book 'After we've solidly organised Europe we'll turn to Africa' actually continues with Hitler saying, 'and then we'll see'. His TABLE TALK and SECOND BOOK (the unpublished follow up to MEIN KAMPF) repeatedly refers to an inevitable show down with the United States, though Hitler didn't see this happening till the 60-70s. There were plans for South America as well... both subjects I deal with in MADAGASKAR PLAN. You'll have to read it to find out more...

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  18. First off I would like to say that TAR was fantastic. So difficult to find well written AH with an actual plot and developed characters rather than whichever "----w*nk" the author wants to push. Secondly, on a minor historical note the assault rifles used by the Nazis are referred to as "BK44s" (bannnakannones IIRC), BK was a German designation for Aircraft guns (Bordkanone), petty and trivial I know but it bugs me.

    As for the subject of this book, its fantastic to see it so close to being released. I love AH and the Nazi themed ones are pretty ubiquitous but its wonderful to read one so well researched. The little known (for lack of reading) plan to deport the Jews to Madagascar (which would have been a hellish, disease-ridden hole under Nazi rule) is what lead the Holocaust to be referred to as the FINAL solution. They already had a solution previously - the island. Thankfully the war prevented it but couldn't stop the Holocaust.

    If this book leads at least one person to read more factual history to see what's "real" than it's doubly good. I await it with baited breath!

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    1. Stenz - thanks for your comment and I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed the book. Do please tell your friends and if you get the chance write a review on Amazon... all these things help to keep the sales trickling in.

      I didn't know about BK being a designation for aircraft guns. My BK is meant as something of a joke... though nobody seems to have got it!

      Glad you enjoyed the AH and thought the plot and characters were developed (always pleasing to hear). As for research I've done even more for Book 2... indeed maybe too much; I have tonnes of material that won't make it into the final cut. The world of MADAGASKAR PLAN is more fully realised than TAR. I hope the depiction of the island itself will be suitably provocative. Keep checking back here and Facebook for updates.

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  19. I definitely enjoyed TAR. I'm even more enthused about TMP however, following your comments regarding how this will differ in style from the first novel which suggest this book may feature less action set-pieces (which I could have foregone, preferring the sound of the previous draft in truth) leaving more room for character development and alternate historical detail which is especially fascinating for being grounded in actual plans.

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    1. Andrew - thanks for your comment and sorry not to have replied sooner, I'm mostly staying off line at the moment.

      Yes, TMP is very different in style and story: less action, more characterisation and 'politics' (in the broadest sense of the word). I'm sure some people will like it, just as others will prefer the original more.

      Keep checking back for updates...

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  20. Just read book 1 in 5 half hrs my eyes hurt and i need a cider , what can i say !!! but thank you for a cracking read , i realy liked the twist and turns you lead me through , also there was just the right amount of techno to give us an idea of what kit every one was using with out wandering way off course , thanks again for a great read

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    1. Carl - thanks for your comment and so glad to hear you enjoyed the book.

      Also pleased to hear you thought I got the balance right... This is such a tricky thing: some people want more, others can say there's too much, so I'm glad my middle course worked for you.

      Hope you enjoyed that cider!

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  21. Esperando poder leer la secuela muy pronto, el libro me atrapó y es escalofriante lo cerca que estuvimos de que una historia como esa fuese totalmente real. Saludos desde Venezuela

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    1. Gilbert - Me hizo mucha ilusión tener noticias de un lector en Venezuela. Me alegro de que hayas gustado el libro. La continuación debería salir hacia finales de año o al principio de 2016.

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