I grew up in the swinging sixties watching Johnny O’Keefe’s “Sing, Sing, Sing”, the Mickey Mouse Club and, later, the horror of the Vietnam War.

In those and subsequent chapters of my life I was completely oblivious to the story standing, waiting for me on the doorstep. I can’t describe the awakening to you for the experience was and continues to be a painful one. It wasn’t simply a matter of some bell going off in my head. It was more like a giant Cyclops ramming my cerebral cortex with a ruddy big club. My life was nearly gone and I hadn’t started my life’s work.

So much to do.

So little time to do it.

To tell my father’s story was never going to be an easy task. I had to ‘trace the river back to its countless sources, in order to capture the secret of all the contradictions, all the eddies that make up a single being’¹ and I had to be prepared for the ‘unexpected’.

In the beginning I thought: ‘Once I complete the Epilogue, The Uncrowned King will be finished.’ I have come to the realisation, through the process of writing this intensely human story, that my journey has only just started. There is a lot more to be written into history.

¹Francois Mauriac, Vie de Jean Racine (The life of Jean Racine)

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