Burning Geekery

More information: how the novel began 

Places in the novel (timeline):

Blakeney – UK
Sheringham – UK 
Weybourne – UK
Rotterdam – Holland (not to mention the Euromast)
Oldenzaal – Netherlands
Alexandria – Egypt
Suez Canal
Anjuna, Goa – India
Poona – India 
Varanasi – India
Darjeeling – India

Transport and notable appearances in the novel (timeline)

Wolfhound – converted ex British Navy gun boat
Seavixen – luxury yacht
English Electric Lightning
Blackburn Buccaneer

Norton motorbike (make unspecified)
Powerboat (make unspecified) – the gang’s get away boat
Humber Imperial
HMS Arc Royal 
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 
Citroen 2CV mk1
Lamborghini Miura
 (make unspecified)
Motorbike (make unspecified)
Troop Transport (make unspecified)
Consolidated Catalina
Royal Enfield India Bullet 350cc 

Charlie was named after my old Citroen 2CV

I used to ride Royal Enfields when I was in India

A further interest that helped was the gun boat in Norwich

Even more at my Facebook writing page book writing page includes pictures of things in the novel

Burning Wolfhound pinboard (pinterest)

Further links to the places in the book: 

The watch-house in Blakeney

The lifeboat house Blakeney

Blakeney quay


A lot of research went into the novel.

For the world cruise, I had to work out how long it would take the Wolfhound to get anywhere. I used the app by Garmin “Basecamp”. This is a GPS package. Basically I measured the distances between locations. I made the assumption that the Wolfhound could achieve 40 knots. This means it would have been flat out to make it in the timeline of the novel. However, most films run at 100 miles an hour, so it didn’t seem like stretching the point too far. Again, for land based activity I used the same idea. Like the time it would take an Enfield to get from Goa to Darjeeling. However, with 1968 roads I expect it would actually have taken a lot longer.

Setting the novel in 1968 was an issue. I was born in 1970, so a lot of facts were new to me. One major gaffe was that in the first draft of the novel they run along the Suez canal with no issues. It was only later I discovered that the Suez was closed in 1968. I thought the re-write made for a more interesting story.

I was often googling for old pictures and information on the locations in the novel, and how they would have been different in 1968. Like Heathrow Airport for example. I knew the roof garden was in existence then, as I visited them in 1973.

More facts:

The Lamborghini Miura was only just in production in 1968.

Concorde and the Jumbo Jet were in testing in 1968.

The largest of the Ark Royals was the current one at the time.

Hendrix was in the charts.

The freaks in Anjuna.

And many more facts!

I also had to learn a lot about seafaring.

The scene where Bernhart jumps down the side of the ship and the scene where he goes into the burning bunker were both drawn from experience. I completed the health and safety at sea course. This was when I was trying to get to work on the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior of Sea Shepard. I spent £1000 on this course in the name of trying to be a volunteer at sea. The Greenpeace website said I needed this before I could apply. We did fire fighting, like Bernhart, going into a burning room with fire apparatus. And I also jumped from a great height wearing a lifejacket in order to clamber into a life raft. Unfortunely I never got my volunteering positions at sea but the experience was useful.

I’m hoping to own my own boat one day, so this experience was useful in many ways.

I am a huge fan on Where Eagles Dare by Alistar MacLean. There are many quotes in the novel referencing the film. Also, Major Smith is called Major Bernard Smith when being “double agent”, though he is John Smith as the English version of himself.