Today, I’m part of the blog tour for this fascinating book, about that eternal problem of noble families – the second son – and even more so, when the ‘spare’ becomes the ‘heir’, and all sorts of problems come to light… Here, author Andy Blackman tells us about the setting for the English side of the story.
I decided to have the main location for “The Second Son” in Hampshire, this is a county I know so well. When I was in the Army myself and my family were stationed in Aldershot and sometimes on a weekend we used to explore all the surrounding countryside, one place we fell in love with and spent many a happy day, was at the Wellington Country Park, once the home of the Duke of Wellington.
Wellington Country Park is a country park in Hampshire, around Riseley, near Reading. Although the park is entirely in Hampshire the park advertises itself as “The Biggest Outdoor Play in Berkshire”. The Park consists of 350 acres of coniferous and deciduous woodlands with several nature trails and a lake.
The Duke of Wellington Commemorative Column stands at the entrance to Stratfield Saye on the eastern Heckfield side. The column, which can be viewed from the A33, is topped by a bronze statue by Baron Carlo Marochetti. The column was erected in 1863.
I could imagine the Duke of Hampshire ancestral home like Stratfield Saye House and, writing about it was easy as it held many a fond memory. I was inspired to base The Second Son mainly in Hampshire. To me the place was sometimes magical, and I could imagine Grenville growing up in such a wonderful place, and it having a hold on him that even after his travels and his return, his main concern is to restore the family honour and estate, the place shaped the man he was to become, and is quite a fitting residence for a Duke of the realm.
ABOUT THE SECOND SON
As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.
One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the first time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.
But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016. The Second Son by Andy Blackman (published by Clink Street Publishing October 5th 2017, RRP £9.99 paperback, £4.99 ebook) will be available to buy online from retailers including Amazon.com and to order from all good bookstores.