A rollicking tale of adventure, colourful characters, exotic locations - and laughs. Love, Oil and the Fortunes of War has it all.
The fast-paced new book by Paul Ashford Harris provides a new understanding on the course of World War I.
With war imminent, the British Navy is, for the first time in a century, under serious threat.
What led them to switch from coal to oil, from ancient battleships to Dreadnoughts, giving them an unassailable advantage?
The story revolves around three real and very different characters: brilliant, eccentric archaeologist Gertrude Bell, who is more at home in Persia than England; the new First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher, who battles to convince the navy to modernise its fleet; and pugnacious William D'Arcy, a Queensland businessman with a shady history who "owns" the biggest oil strike in history.
When their lives collide, the course of history is changed.
"Writing the book came from my fascination with a seemingly unknown story which arguable had a strong influence on the outcome of WWI," Harris said.
In an author's note, he says the book is not supposed to be a factual account - "sometimes the dates have been shuffled".
"The conversations are of course not true.
"Nevertheless, it does shine a light on a dramatic period..."
Love, Oil and the Fortunes of War by Paul Ashford Harris (Ventura Press) RRP $32.99.
Paul Ashford Harris was born and educated in New Zealand before completing an MA at Cambridge University.
He has lived in Sydney with his family since 1969 and is the author of three books, two plays and five children's books based on Australian native animals.
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