Heroes of The Blue Pencil: Roger Martin

Added about 8 years ago by Sacristy Press

In the second of a series of insights into David Lowther’s thrilling wartime novel The Blue Pencil, we are introduced to the hero, Roger Martin.

Born 1915. Educated Grammar School in South-London and Trinity College Cambridge, Roger is an accomplished sportsman (Rugby Football and Athletics). He began by studying Modern Languages at Cambridge but quickly switched to Economics where he came under the benign influence of Marxist Lecturer Maurice Dobb. Roger was a member of the University Socialist Society where he resented the efforts of fellow members Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt to push the Society into the path of Communism.

We first meet Roger having lunch in Cambridge with Dobb and Blunt, both of whom are alarmed by Hitler’s recent repudiation of the Treaty of the Versailles by re-militarising the Rhineland. Roger – who has, to this time, let foreign policy pass him by – finds himself interested in the two heavyweights’ discussion.

Approaching his final examinations, Roger is uncertain of his future. Recalling that conversation with Dobbs and Blunt and worried by reports from the Spanish Civil War in cinema newsreels, he begins to recognise the threat of fascism to European peace and stability. Having successfully graduated, he decides to become a journalist and in September 1936 begins work as a Junior Reporter with the London Evening Globe, an evening paper whose political views seem to match his own.

His big breakthrough comes in early 1937 when he meets an old friend of his father Richard Walker who has recently left Nazi Germany with his German Jewish wife and their two children. These two paint a picture of life in Hitler’s Germany and slowly it dawns on Roger that the government and the media are covering up the real facts about the treatment of the Jews under the Führer’s regime.

The publication of his article on the Jewish plight and further material about the brutality of the Nazi Condor Legion towards the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War attracts the attention of the shadowy men who back up Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of courting the friendship of Hitler and Mussolini. At first just threats are made to Roger. Then as the young journalist uncovers government sponsored conspiracies aimed to keep the truth about the Nazis from the British people, threats turn to violence and, eventually his whole life is at stake as Chamberlain’s cohorts close in on him...

The Blue Pencil is available from Sacristy Press in paperback, hardback and e-book formats.

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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