Pop the champagne and spoon out the caviar. I just signed the contract for my next book. It’s about gangsters in Paris during WW2. Look out for it around June 2020 from publishers Biteback. The working title is ‘The French Gestapo’, although that might change.
In wartime Paris a gang of crooks, corrupt cops, and fallen celebrities led by the orchid-loving thief Henri Lafont worked for the Nazis and lived like kings – until the Allies arrived and a price had to be paid.
Expect treason, debauchery, crime, and tragedy. It’s like Goodfellas meets Inglourious Basterds, or The Godfather meets Schindler’s List. And it’s all true. Find out more about my new book below.
Hope everyone had a good Easter, whether you were worshipping, ignoring, or munching eggs. I spent my time in one of the few cafes still open, reading about old school French gangsters while scribbling notes in a cheap exercise book and lingering over a hot chocolate so thick you could stand on it to change a light bulb.
Yes, there’s another book on the way. It’s about strange alliances in wartime Paris between the underworld and the occupiers. More details when things firm up with publishers. Stay tuned and feel free to get in touch if you know something on the subject that I probably don’t.
Until then, it’s time again for another round-up of interesting links on the kind of subjects that appal most normal folk. Click, read, recoil.
The Gilet Jaunes protests continue in France. Victor Lenta and his gang of military veterans from Ukraine are rumoured to be involved. Behind them a shadowy warlord from a breakaway republic is threatening to send more veterans to the streets of Paris.
Unité Continentale is a controversial far-right political group whose members turned paramilitary and joined the separatists in East Ukraine, otherwise known as Novorossiya. The group is Paris-based but includes many expat Brazilians and Serbs. Since returning home they have become involved in the fight against Emmanuel Macron’s government. Our man in Serbia gave us the scoop but also dropped some hints about a warlord he believes is also involved.
I asked for more details. Here it is. His views, as always, are his own.
A few people have asked me to comment on the recent massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand. There isn’t much to say. Elements of Counter-Jihad merged with the more irreverent parts of the alt-right, gestated in online incubators like 8 Chan, and marched out into the real world. A live-streamed, sound-tracked meme war with real guns and real victims.
Optimists might hope this is the moment all sides draw back, but optimists are rarely right. We’re on the far side of the mountain and the best we can hope for is the occasional plateau. This will be an age of global microwars and hardhearted cheerleaders tougher than anything you’ve ever seen before.
Here’s what I wrote about our possible futures in my book about the counter-jihad movement, Soldiers of a Different God, published in autumn of last year. Maybe it’s relevant.
Everyone’s favourite far-right Franco-Serbian-Brazilian paramilitaries have transitioned from the battlefields of East Ukraine to the streets of Paris. Informed sources say Victor Lenta and friends are now street brawling alongside the Gilet Jaunes in France’s long running civil disturbances.
The Unité Continentale boys claim to be at the heart of the fight against Emmanuel Macron’s government. This has led to some alleging the Gilet Jaunes movement is far-right, but it seems unlikely. The movement has a broad reach and includes people from all points on the political spectrum, with a sizeable extreme left contingent and even more from the mainstream middle ground.
Lenta and the others are unlikely to turn the riots into a forum for fascism, or achieve the nationalist revolution they seem to want. But they’re getting a fair amount of publicity. Here’s our regular Serbian commentator with more details.
Happy January, ya filthy animals. Hope this year is treating you well. For me at least, 2018 was a weird one. I had a book published, got an agent, spent six months near the Parc du cinquantenaire, saw Paris, spent some time with the head of the Polish armaments industry, and got a whole new angle on the existential angst of lonely professional diplomats.
Looks like 2019 is going to be completely different, with a considerably deeper emphasis on staring moodily out the window of a city centre apartment while holding a glass of whisky and thinking deep thoughts.
So while that’s brewing here’s some links to interesting stuff around the internet. It’s a weird and wonderful world out there. Don’t kill yourself thirty seconds before the miracle.
It’s finally out. My book about the Katanga secession of the early 1960s is available in paperback for the first time on 6 December 2018. The hardback is sold out so this is the only option for those who don’t do ebooks.
For completists, the paperback is pretty much the same as the original text, with a few minor changes thrown in. Katanga 1960-63 tells, for the first time, the full story of the Congolese province that declared independence in 1960 and found itself at war with the world.
The Congo had no intention of allowing the renegade region to secede, and neither did the CIA, the KGB, or the United Nations.