Screaming Angels is a historical account of one the strangest deals the British ever did with Soviet Russia, with a romantic twist. If you love romance, this will be right up your street. And if you love aviation tales, especially about Cold War jets, you will also love it.
On a personal note, this book has caused my quite a lot of strife! I already knew about the Rolls Royce Nene engine fiasco, and then I had a strange dream. This became the inspiration for a new book, but the first draft didn’t electrify me, or my beta readers. It seemed to lack emotion, and the plot needed a twist. I sought inspiration in classic romances like Wuthering Heights and Lady Chatterley’s Lover and, six rewrites later, it has a lot of feeling and a great twist! I think I finally got it right. Read on if you want to sample some excerpts!
Watch the video trailer at the bottom of this page!
Screaming Angels – How the Soviets stole the secrets of Rolls Royce’s best jet engine and built the greatest fighter in the world.
Based on real events 1946: A soviet delegation is collecting ten examples of the Rolls Royce Nene engine, at that time the most powerful jet engine in the world. Their plan: to steal the secrets of the engine’s classified rotor material and copy it.
Rolls Royce manager Edward struggles to foil the Russians while trying to understand his feelings for beautiful soviet delegate Yulia, knowing the tragic consequences if he fails.
Hot love in the Cold War, set against one of the strangest deals the British ever made with Soviet Russia, and one that would infuriate the USA.
2 Excerpts from Screaming Angels
Copyright © 2015 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved.
Beside the Bolshiye road Yulia threw down the bicycle and led Yuri into their field.
“Race me to the haystack!” Yuri yelled, his strong legs beginning to pound his feet through the long grass.
But Yuri kept running until he grew tired. Following his wake, Yulia reached their patch of long grass and threw herself down, splaying her arms wide and staring up at the endless dome of blue, whose skirt of trees concealed the dome’s limit and embraced the two Russian children. A crow wheeled and alighted raggedly on a treetop.
Russia seemed as peaceful as ever, so even with war raging all over Europe, life seemed good on the hottest day of the year, and the good seemed to stretch forever.
Yulia unbuttoned her rough, blue tunic, and ran her finger over the ridges of the embroidered flowers on her white shirt, a Christmas present from her uncle and aunt. She bathed in the sun’s heat and throwing her arm over her face to shield her eyes, watched a white butterfly land on a delicate, blue forget-me-not.
Closing her eyes, she watched the red shadows of passing clouds through her lids.
“Come on! I think the field mice have had babies!” Yuri declared, sitting down heavily beside her. “Come on Yulia!”
“Did you see the white butterfly?” she asked, standing up.
They both swung to face a sudden blast of sound above the northern hem of trees. Their eyes settled on a sudden, white puff, but then something silver streaked away from the smoke.
“Firework! And a big one!” Yuri shouted above the noise.
“I don’t think so,” Yulia murmured.
She shielded her eyes from the sun, but still she had trouble following the sleek shape as it shot across their view, higher and higher into the blue dome. But then the jet of flame at its rear went out and it began to tumble.
“Oh!” Yuri said. “I thought it would fly forever! Shall we go and get it?” He made to run after it, but Yulia yelled:
After a while, two men emerged from the northern hem of trees and strode across the field. Yuri waved to them, but the men either ignored, or didn’t see, him. They vanished behind some trees to the south and still hadn’t returned after what Yulia guessed to be about half an hour.
“We should go home,” she told Yuri.
“Wait. There they are! Let’s follow them.”
Against her own feeling of caution Yulia followed her younger and more impetuous friend after the men. They emerged from the northern skirt of trees into a smaller field where a grey van waited.
A sturdy man, with a broad face and high forehead below a short crop of dark hair, stood by the van, waiting for the men to bring him the rocket. When it arrived, he checked it over and the two men put the missile in the van. All three men climbed into the cab and the van roared into life. As it skidded past the two children, kicking up the summer dust, the large-broad-faced man waved at them. The van bore the letter RNII on its side.
“Wow! A real rocket!” Yuri declared. He could talk of nothing else on the way home. Yulia could not stop thinking about it either and she would never forget that date; 10 June, 1938, two weeks before her twelfth birthday.
During the lavish roast beef dinner, Edward felt most acutely aware of one thing; his impatience to get closer to the radiant blonde.
She sat next to the dour agent, slightly further down the opposite side of the table from Edward. The Russian had a broad face, deep-set eyes and a mouth that curved downwards at its ends. During the soup, his hand touched Yulia’s frequently, but she didn’t flinch.
Edward did. Nevertheless, he forced himself to try and get her attention, but she never noticed him until a waiter served coffee. Her glance seemed to speak to him of warmth and curiosity. He felt he had been given the keys to the castle, been given permission to drink down all of her beauty and his heart fluttered in wild abandon.
Whereas her hair had been tied back previously, framing her features, but giving her a slightly serious look, now her mane of wavy, blonde hair rested on her delicate shoulders above a white, ladder-back evening dress, reminding Edward of the variegated gold of ripe corn under an August sun.
‘Appropriate perhaps for somebody from the pastoral plains of Russia,’ he mused.
Her face would have been considered too thin, were it not for her very large, brown eyes, crinkled at the corner by natural laughter lines. A delicate, concave nose sat above a full mouth, with ruby red lips, whose creases, running diagonally to the fragile side-orbs of her nose, suggested laughter as ready as that of a little girl. Her ears, now concealed by that golden sheaf, had reminded him earlier of fine sea shells, and her neck curved as finely as that of a swan. Edward had to wait for the right moment, and suck in his breath, to dare glance lower.
Below delicate shoulders, narrow but not so much as to make her head look big, swooped a cleavage that out-stripped any man’s fantasy Helen of Troy. She laughed at one of Mikoyan’s jokes and looked down, before meeting anyone’s gaze.
In that moment, Edward had drunk in his most secret fantasy. A night with this woman would answer every question that he had ever asked. He knew he would not dare to look at her again during the meal, so he stared at the starched, white table cloth, twirling his wine glass stem between his fingers for a while, in case any of the party had noticed his forbidden glance. But his exile came not without pleasure. His crotch had stiffened without him noticing, so ardently surged his passion, but its waning proved to be a gradual, down-hill run, full of the recollection of dreams and desires that could last a man a lifetime. At its end, he felt only an indescribable ache, which pressed its wings around his very soul.
Conversation around the table waned, so Edward glanced up, more out of fear than curiosity. Mikoyan raised his hand and everyone fell silent. The large Armenian swept back his flamboyant bang of greased, black hair, turned to Edward and said:
“We are not introduced.”
“You very young. Are you engineer?”
“Yes. I think you could say that.”
“And you work on Nene engine?”
Edward nodded, so the Armenian continued:
“Which part you work on?”
This was the moment Edward had nervously anticipated. Noting Hooker’s warning expression, he took time to consider before answering:
“The expansion chambers. We have a new technique, part of the reason for the engine’s great power output.”
Mikoyan studied him coldly and replied:
“Yes! Yes! But we have no problem with expansion chambers! Stator and rotor blades, we have problems with. With such high temperatures as Nene engine, they disintegrate. I understand you have new material … ?”
“All materials in our engines are top secret, I’m afraid.”
Mikoyan played with his glass, looking disappointed. The dour NKVD agent rested his sour face on both his hands and peered into Edward’s eyes while the woman leaned back on the chair, so that she could see the side of the agent’s head. The NKVD man’s look froze the young Englishman’s heart and he realised the woman would not glance at him again, perhaps ever.
Mikoyan turned back to Klimov and conversation stuttered into life around the table. But nobody even glanced at Edward.
‘What’s so fascinating about that fat Russian!’ he wondered.
Edward gulped down his dessert of fruit salad and passed on coffee and biscuits, making the excuse that he felt tired. But he didn’t go to his Suite. He steeled himself for the task of catching out the Russians. For this he would need the woman’s room number and he prayed that she would be staying alone. He stopped at the bar and sipped a double whiskey on the rocks while he waited.