Upton raised novelist takes off

A PENSIONER is starting a new career as a writer after having his first novel published at the age of 78.

Described as a “boy’s own adventure” Ernest Barber’s book The Eagle Will Fly is already earning rave reviews from readers.

Ernest, who grew up in Moulton St Mary and went to school in Upton, was delighted when the book was accepted for publication earlier this year.

The plot focuses on an attempt by the son of a German fighter pilot to gain revenge on the RAF ace who downed his father’s plane during the Battle of Britain.

Described as a story of vengeance and madness, the action climaxes in a dogfight between veteran Spitfire pilot Tim Watts and his foe Erik Lux during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the battle.

Ernest said: “The idea came to me when I was watching TV and saw a vintage aircraft crash at Duxford Airfield. I sat on it for several years and wrote the book over 18 months.

“It is thriller in the style of a traditional schoolboys’ adventure and a good page turner that keeps the readers’ interest.

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“I don’t expect to win any literary awards, but it is great to see the book on the shelves and the reaction from readers has been very positive.

“I have loved books since I was a kid and must have read hundreds on the Battle of Britain. My favourite authors include Jack Higgins and Ken Follett.”

Publisher AuthorHouse snapped up rights to The Eagle Will Fly when Ernest approached them with a draft of the novel. During a varied working life he was a farm labourer and taxi driver, and ran a fish and chip shop near King’s Lynn.

An accomplished melodeon player, Ernest got his friend, broadcaster and journalist Keith Skipper, to write a foreward to the book.

Now living in Norwich, he met his late wife Muriel at the old Regent Cinema in Great Yarmouth where she was working as an usherette.

“I have always been a man of ideas and although I’ve had a few that have not come off I’m still ready to give it a go,” said Ernest.

“The book was a way of acknowledging the heroism of the pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain. As I have had positive feedback on this novel I will be writing a second book and already have a few ideas.”

The Eagle Will Fly is available from Novel Idea in Yarmouth, Hemsby and Acle post offices, Jarrolds department store in Norwich, branches of Highways Nurseries and on-line from Amazon.

Ernest will be appearing on the Maggie Secker Sunday show on BBC Radio Norfolk at 5pm.