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Valdemar (Val) R Wake

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Retired Diplomat Describes New Novel as Brilliant
Friday, December 03, 2010  5:48:00 PM

by Valdemar (Val) R Wake

James Cumes, a retired Australian diplomat who lives in Vienna has described Val Wake''s new novel "When the Lions are Drinking" as brilliant.

In a review posted on the Amazon book site, using his pseudonym Cresscourt "Rosewood," Cumes writes:

'This brilliant book seduces the reader from the start with its intriguing title "When the Lions are Drinking." Most of us like an insider's view especially of a major Civil Service and here we have a flavouring of a Foreign Office - the British Foreign Office, what's more- and film making as an extra sweetener.'

"When the Lions are Drinking' is a title taken from old Thames waterman's story. The lions are the embankment lions are the embankment lions along the banks of the Thames River in central London. According to the watermen's story when the lions were drinking, central London and the seat of government, Whitehall, were in danger of flooding. Wake has used this story as a metaphor. During the length of his novel he suggests that Whitehall is in danger not so much from flooding as the schemes and duplicity of ambitious people.

Cumes says:

'Author Val Wake has a marked capacity for characteristation, partly no doubt because of his career as a journalist but especially through his innate talent for thoughtful analysis of what we are, what we do and why we do it.'

When the Lions are Drinking is told through the eyes of Felix Manners, the head of a government film unit that works for the British Foreign Office providing propaganda to win the hearts and minds of people on a number of fronts ranging from the Falklands to Afghanistan.

'This is the first time I have told a story with a first person narrator. I had to assume attitudes and beliefs of a first generation Englishman born of a German mother and an Irish docker father. I tried to avoid the cliches. But I think with such a background it was important that Felix Manners belonged to something that was larger than himself. In Felix's case it was the Great Game,' said Wake speaking from his retirement home in Port Macquarie on the Australian eastern seaboard.

Cumes believes that Wake has handled his large casts well. He writes:

'He (Wake) copes effortlessly with the huge caste he creates. Sometimes he is harsh, especially on women. Shirley Keene has a "reputation as the office tart" but he can also be tender as he is with Morag Macleod in the final chapter. In his sex scenes, he is matter of fact. "One Night Stand' and a few other sexual episodes are modesty erotic.'

Cumes concludes by saying:

'It is a page turner whose pages the reader will long remember with a great deal of pleasure.'

Copies of When the Lions are Drinking are available on

 More News about Valdemar (Val) R Wake
Book Launch in Port Macquarie - 12/9/2010 2:36:00 PM

December Launch of My Voyage - 11/16/2010 7:18:00 PM

Master Spy Panned on National TV - 11/8/2010 3:24:00 PM

Author's Website On Line - 9/3/2010 4:13:00 PM

September Launch for My Voyage - 8/2/2010 5:43:00 PM

Wake's Papers Made Available for Official Spy History - 6/5/2010 9:15:00 PM

Reviewers Greet My Voyage as an Entertaining Read - 6/5/2010 8:50:00 PM

Australian Publisher accepts new book - 11/11/2009 3:16:00 PM

Novel hailed as a rich and exciting read - 10/7/2009 2:41:00 PM

Author Attacks Academic Research Standards - 7/7/2009 4:18:00 PM

The Canadian Book Challenge Three - 7/6/2009 6:35:00 PM

Sprawling Saga about the Authentic North - 4/29/2009 2:41:00 PM

Author Featured on CBC Radio site - 4/21/2009 9:04:00 PM

No Ribbons or Medals on E Bay - 3/24/2009 7:51:00 PM

First Canada Outlet - 3/17/2009 7:44:00 PM

CBC North Anniversary - 1/30/2009 7:24:00 PM

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