A Relative Invasion ("This well-executed emotional drama" (Historical Novel Society) is a coming-of-age trilogy set in Britain's troubled years of 1937 - 1951. It explores the fateful relationship between Billy and his talented but devious cousin, Kenneth. The rivalry between the boys, and responses of their parents, mirrors the tensions and emotions that brought Hitler's rise to power - envy of strength, desire for new territory.
Those readers who like a long read now have the three books: Intrusion, Infiltration and Impact in the one volume.
At the start, the boys struggle to gain psychological space and this simmers throughout wartime. Billy is manipulated at every turn by Kenneth, while his uncle derides and bullies him. Beguiled by Kenneth's sweet manners and porcelain looks, Billy's parents are blind to his mean acts. Billy turns for support to his icon, a secretly seen Cossack sabre. This has its own history in the first world war, and it continues to play a significant part in Billy's war.
There are injustices and miseries to overcome when the boys are evacuated to the country. There they develop their individual talents and Billy finds emotional support in his billet while Kenneth enjoys the benefit of family beside him.
At war's end, the adolescents return to the severe austerity of dirty and damaged London. There they must share a home, Kenneth seeking every opportunity to shine and find favour. Their rivalry eventually explodes in a terrible incident which affects the lives of all around them. The traumatic fall-out tests both boys' resilience as they near adulthood. They must adapt their individual talents to their changed situation, but there's threat of a retribution that threatens to be lasting.
An early draft of A Relative Invasion was runner-up in the Yeovil Prize (novel) and gained a full critique from Harper Collins writers' site: "—a powerful and compelling narrative with strong and relatable characters…"