This is a story like a novel, of two generations of a fugitive family who land at Harwich in 1939. There are backward glances through Germany and Poland to the mid-nineteenth century, and it ends in the present day. The actions take place in the villages of old Poland, Nazi Berlin, wartime London and seaside towns, in school and the sports-field, in the Paris of 1945, on Alpine glaciers, amongst rising stars of British politics...It has two main threads - the mind of Etienne, and the characters of the mother, the sister and later of the Cabinet Minister who was a leading persuader in the formation of the party that was to re-shape British politics and was its Leader in the Lords. The sister was 'the nearest thing the Left had to a political hostess'. Theme might be said to be corruption of character associated with idealistic politics; even more portentously, the pre-Socratic mind of Etienne through whom the action is seen - overwhelmed by his present experiences and historical daydreams, retarded in rationality, unable to speak, his mind a disorder of mists and his values dark - un-English, unmodern.
North Sea Passage and the Women of Spirit is a memoir but written in the style of literary novel and will appeal to readers of that genre, as well as of biography and modern history.