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August 22 , 2007

The Scavengers of Graveny Marsh


April 1944, Southeast England
The stables stood since Elizabethan times on the grounds of Whitstable Castle in Kent. There was a time when the trumpets of war sounded that the stables’ grooms fitted the castle mounts for battle. That was before the Great War. Before machine guns, mustard gas, and aeroplanes. It was a glorious time, at least in the myths woven to disguise the blood and screams of men and horses dying in battle.

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This new war - with its machines and radios - had little use for the stone stables. Officers no longer rode their mounts into battle, swords held high. The Remount Service no longer scavenged the countryside for horses, leaving the peasants to plow the fields with only the sweat of their backs. For the first time in centuries there was a war, and quiet in the stables of Whitstable Castle.
Until the Americans arrived.
As the great facing armies massed for the inevitable invasion, the Intelligence forces of the enemies played a deadly game of cat and mouse, desperate to convince the Nazi high command the Allies would invade at Calais.

A disgraced SS Colonel is determined to prove otherwise - that Germany is the victim of an elaborate ruse, and the Allies would land at Normandy. All he needs is one last piece of evidence - a secret in the hands of a vicious psychopath known only as Petrus who controls a fifth column of malcontents, petty thieves, and killers known to the locals of Whitstable as the Scavengers.

Private Sid Woodard of the OSS has to unravel the secret before time runs out, before the great armies clash, and before the secret turns the tide of war.

The basest of human frailties are his enemies and his allies. Can he unravel the web of collusion, distrust, and manipulation that threatens to undermine the great Allied coalition? Can he discover the identity of the one enemy agent MI5 has failed to turn? Can he learn the secret in time to stop an assassination the SS hopes will topple the Allied alliance? Can he deny reason and logic and trust a beautiful but suspicious woman?

History hides such small stories as these - that the fate of freedom itself once rested in the hands of an innocent young widow living out her grief in a cottage on the shores of Graveny Marsh. But then, as Napoleon once said, “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

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