“As well as being a rattling good adventure, “Forest Brothers” is a story with a soul. It is clear that the author himself has a deep interest in land of Estonia and its history.” – from a review by S P Moss
Author Geraint Roberts felt a connection with Estonia from the first time he set foot in the country. When he read a plaque on the medieval wall in Tallinn thanking the Royal Navy for their assistance in the Estonian war of Independence it struck him that therein lay a history, like the history of his native Wales, virtually unknown to most people in the UK. he decided it was time to tell that story to the British people. He imagined a Welsh character who could have been involved in this episode, one who might have been in Estonia during the second world war. Huw Williams was born – an original and unforgettable character who becomes a Forest Brother and an honorary Estonian as a result of the friendships he forges there.
As a native Welshman, Geraint comments on the shared experience of growing up in a small country with noisier neighbours. Huw constantly being mistaken for an Englishman by people who barely know that Wales exists. Geraint didn’t need to imagine an Estonian atmosphere for his writing. His wife and daughter are Estonian, so he is immersed in the culture and language on a daily basis.
A World War II drama set in a land the UK forgot
December 1918: The royal navy sends a squadron of ships to the fledgling Estonian nation to aid their fight for independence. When the squadron is due to depart, a young navy officer jumps ship, sacrificing his career for the love of a woman – but the navy reclaims its own. Huw Williams is dragged back to his homeland in disgrace.
Years later, the world is at war again. Huw is scratching a living on the docks when the past comes to call. He is flung into covert operations in a land caught between two armies, and a people living under threat of instant death or deportation to oblivion in Siberia. Huw soon finds out that killers are on his track.
He joins the Forest Brothers, the partisans living secretly amongst the silver birches of Estonia. There, ghosts of his past life emerge. This is not the return to romantic dreams he had imagined. Nevertheless, an old flame rekindles, and the once embittered Huw rediscovers his desire to help save the country and the people he loves – but how can he do either, forced to live as a fugitive in the forest?
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Update: and then Geraint Roberts went back in time…