I write this short memoir in the knowledge that when it is read by others for the first time I shall no longer be alive.
I can be certain of this because I intend to seal it in an envelope and give it to my solicitor, Martin Humphries, with instructions that it is to remain in his strong room and is not to be released to the press until the 26th September 2015.
The date is significant.
By then exactly one hundred years will have elapsed since the Battle of Loos and virtually all of those affected by the events which I am about to relate will have died. The possible exception is my dear wife Celia, but in 2015 she will be ninety-five, and at that age, I presume, past caring.
Hopefully too, by then, time will have diminished much of the hurt I have caused and people will have become more tolerant and disposed to judge me with greater charity.
Three weeks ago I was told that I had cancer of the liver and that I could expect to live, at the most, for just two or three more months.
Having received what, in effect, amounts to a death sentence, I spend much of my time thinking about the past and all the mistakes I have made.
I am told that this is quite normal.
We all, I imagine, have things in our lives which we regret.
Regret, however, is an inadequate word for describing how I feel about the events which caused the injury to my foot at the Battle of Loos and the tragic consequences which followed.
As a result of my actions (or perhaps I should say inaction) one man was murdered and another man destroyed; and although I did no intentional harm to either, and it could be argued that they brought their misfortunes upon themselves, I know that I cannot evade responsibility for the part I played in the disasters which befell them.
Shame, sorrow, anguish and remorse more accurately describe the feelings I have about what happened all those years ago.
That’s why I had to write this account: it is a confession and also, I hope, an expiation. An injustice has been done and needs to be atoned for.
As I said yesterday, the first book I published was Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray.
The excerpt above is from the opening of Part Three of Magnificent Britain.
You can download the beginning of Part One as a free sample from the Amazon Kindle Store.
Follow this link for Amazon Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007A4F71G
Magnificent Britain is a long novel so the free sample is substantial.
If you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read all of Magnificent Britain "free".
These are some of the comments Amazon readers have kindly included in their reviews of Magnificent Britain:
"The story builds with a dazzling complexity but is so well-written and so gripping that Magnificent Britain is never less than compulsively readable."
"Right until the very end, everything is not as it seems."
"... fictional characters who are so true to life, they actually exist."
"The reader witnesses changing times, changing attitudes and entire lives that are shattered with secrets and deceit."
"Warning! This book is seriously addictive!"
Magnificent Britain is a complex novel in three parts which in its way is a story of detection although there are no police detectives trying to unravel the plot.
Nigel Lush is a biographer of celebrities who is commissioned to write an official biography of First World War hero, Sir Maurice Brearley.
Another WW1 veteran, Leonard Stidges, tells Nigel that Sir Maurice is a fraud and a liar.
Nigel investigates, determined to find out the truth.
His discoveries about Sir Maurice change Nigel's life forever.
[Guidance: Readers should be aware that the novel contains a few scenes of a sexual nature.]
Magnificent Britain by Michael Murray http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007A4F71G