A note on the chronology of the novels

The way that my novels have arrived on the market may appear bizarre to some, confusing to others and certainly not in sequence! There are reasons for this, which I will explain. Firstly, let’s explore the three novel series

  1. The mining series, featuring Owain Thomas, lead miner
  2. The railway series, featuring Dafydd Thomas, railwayman
  3. The Estonian series

The Mining Series

This begins with the novel The Turn of the Wheel and tells the story of Owain Thomas from his first day underground at Frongoch lead mine in 1873, near Pontrhydygroes. His life, his work and his romance with Ceridwen Hughes and Dafydd’s birth are explored.

There are two more planned novels in the series, currently with the working titles of ‘A lifetime of goodbyes’ and ‘A Light in the Darkness’. (These names may change if they don’t provide unique names to the respective novels.)

‘Lifetime’ takes the story through the leaner period of the 1880s and towards the end of the century. It includes Dafydd’s abrupt departure from the house, but from Owain’s perspective.

‘Light’ begins in 1899 and sees the turbulent end to the mine and life thereafter. Both books run parallel to the timeline of the first railway novel.

The Railway series

By the Banks of the Rheidol tells the story of Dafydd, from his flight from the family home in the 1890s, to rebuilding his life in the railway industry and the construction of two local narrow gauge lines. It also highlights his on-off romance with Gwen.

The Long Way Home continues Dafydd’s tale, but is picked up in 1915. He is sent to war, with the railway division; so the tale is told a lot in Flanders, with communications back home to the family and Gwen. It ends in 1921.

A third novel will appear to tell the full story, but it is early days with this project.

The Estonian series

Finnish Boys begins in 1940, on the night of the Estonian Red Terror. It follows Märt, Juhan and Maarja amid themes of escape, intrigue and deception.

Forest Brothers begins in 1944, as Nazi occupied Estonia is about to fall to the Soviet Red Army. Huw is a British agent sent to observe this. He returns to a land that he visited with the Baltic Fleet, during Estonia’s war of independence in 1919, where he found and lost Maarja.

A third novel will complete this story, called Foula and Beyond. Huw and his family have settled in Shetland at the end of the war, but the traitor Godfrey has escaped. With the help of the Norwegian navy, they need to find him before it is too late.

These novels are not related to the Mining and Railway stories.


Publishing opportunities have rather upset this linear progression of tales, so that the books could be said to have been released out of order.

Forest Brothers was the first novel to be picked up and at that point was the a standalone story. The success of it led me to start thinking of other tales, thus creating a prequel and a sequel. I elected to release Finnish Boys next. as the story focusses on Estonians in an Estonian setting, as Forest Brothers did. The final tale is of Estonian people, but set in the north of Scotland.

A chance to publish the railway story ‘By the Banks..’ made it leap frog above the mining stories to be released and ‘Long way Home’ was the logical follow-on.

So, what of the future? There are other standalone projects in mind, but none are related to the above tales. My current workload is of writing a book about the history of the railway between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen – completely off-piste!

Hope that helps 🙂

By Geraint Roberts

Stuck in a limbo and desperate to do something meaningful, what to do? That is where writing began for me. A creative way of expressing myself and a chance to harness my wondering imagination. I close my eyes and I'm there. Wish I'd picked 'there' as a warm sunny day on a sandy beach, with the waves gently lapping on the shore...but I have to let the story load in my mind, then watch it unfold, wherever it may be. Currently I'm on a windy bridge, or a Devon beach, or a Cornish ti mine, or a submarine, or looking towards a Hebridean port...

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