Sunderland's role in new spy thriller set during Second World War

A new thriller – with Sunderland and the North East at its core – is about to reach the bookshelves.

Mark Batey’s new book called Warbird examines a Nazi mission to gather intelligence during the Battle of Britain.

But Mark has looked at it in a different way – by setting the book in an espionage thriller with a Nazi double agent, an MI5 officer, and a German plot to scour the North East for facts before a German invasion.

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Warbird is out on November 10 and it dispels the idea that the Battle of Britain was just about Hurricanes and Spitfires swooping over the south coast in the successful rebuff of the Luftwaffe.

Mark Batey, the author of Warbird.

Heroic pilots flew from RAF airfields at Acklington in Northumberland and Usworth, near Sunderland, against Luftwaffe bombers and fighters which had flown from German bases in Norway to attack the North-East.

In his second historical novel, Mark uses a character - German double agent Klara Falke who is on her mission to gather local intelligence on masts seen along North-East coasts – to examine the story.

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Klara was sent to Britain in the Summer of 1939 to join a group of Nazi sympathisers, who meet at night in a picture palace in Newcastle. The members include an undercover MI5 officer, Warren Sixsmith. Acting as a motorcycle courier, Klara visits local RAF airfields and discovers that at one of them, RAF Acklington, scientific research is being undertaken in secret.

Klara is joined by her boss, Schultz, who is unaware that Klara – the daughter of a Lutheran pastor abused for his beliefs by Nazi Brownshirts – has defected to Britain and now works with Sixsmith at MI5.

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The cover of the new book.

The intriguing story culminates on rocks in Northumberland.

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Mark Batey grew up in the North East and worked as Chief Executive of the Film Distributors’ Association before retiring to write and renovate.

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His debut novel, Grace, is a dramatised account of the life of Grace Darling and was published in January.

Warbird has been published by Clink Street Publishing and is available at £12.99 in paperback or £3.99 as an ebook.

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It is available to buy online from retailers including Amazon.co.uk and can be ordered from all good book stores.