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Reviews of “Ghosts of the Empire”

Ghosts of the EmpireFIVE STARS AT AMAZON UK!

“I simply can’t recommend this book enough. Compelling and moving, based on real people and real events. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.” From Dave Jones, Review at Amazon UK.


Fabulously written. Makes you feel you are with the principal character sharing his experiences. I will have to read the prequel.” By author Robert L J Borg (at Goodreads)


“Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy – Review by Colleen Dudley, Sydney, Australia

After being unable to put down ‘Nor the Years Condemn’‘Ghosts of the Empire’ was a must-read. A brilliantly constructed tale of our forebears, brave young men who went on an adventure to the other side of the world. The narrative flows effortlessly between the various players, with clever intersecting of characters from ‘Nor the Years Condemn’.

‘Ghosts of the Empire’ grabbed me from the prologue, and I found myself totally immersed, book-in-hand at every opportunity. Well researched and well written – a ride that takes you through so many emotions. Justin’s characterisations let you in to the lives of these people and you feel their love, pain, joys and losses. Laugh and cry and feel the injustices that war brought to the likes of Mick O’Regan.

So looking forward to the next chapter in this engrossing ‘trilogy’. Top shelf!”

My most heart-felt thanks to Colleen! — Justin Sheedy. I could not have asked for a lovelier way to begin a Writing 2014.


Review by Denise Boneham, United Kingdom

This book, ‘Ghosts of the Empire’, was eagerly awaited as Justin’s first book, ‘Nor the Years Condemn’, was an epic tale of war and love. I was not disappointed by his sequel. Justin is not just writing for a male audience; this one is good for the ladies too. Don’t just buy it for Fathers’ Day, buy it for Mothers’ Day too.

Justin set us up for a rollercoaster ride with his main character but his genius is bringing it to life with the many small (and not so small) cameo performances. I liked the reappearance of characters from ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ too. Again there was a polyglot of nations which was exactly how it was. I especially loved the inclusion of a Polish character which was just how many of them, from my serious reading, were! I am not going to spoil Justin’s great plot by giving you any clues but I will say that this is a darker tale especially in the greatly surprising ending.

I have just read the NZer Artie Ashworth’s biograghy and Justin could have picked bits from it except I know he hasn’t!! Thank you, Justin, for answering my plea and doing a Bomber Command based book even if it still features Fighter Command too. Coastal Command or Pacific next I wonder. I am agog with anticipation.

All in all this book (and its predecessor) rates wider worldwide recognition than it already gets. Nice one, Justin. Book 3 is on my wish list already…

Eminent thanks to reviewer Denise Boneham — Justin Sheedy


Author Justin Sheedy at book launch for "Ghosts of the Empire" - Pic by Emmy Etié

Author Justin Sheedy at book launch for “Ghosts of the Empire” – Pic by Emmy Etié


Review by Martin Zitek, Sydney, Australia.

THIS was a fantastic read!  A real page turner, very tight in construction and narrative and totally engrossing.  A saga of Australian World War II pilots, I loved the “as if you were there” details of the times that only thorough research could have brought out.  The flight scenes were even more vivid, as if recounted by an ace pilot in the way they were described and choreographed.

The whole 1940s atmosphere of the times was relayed superbly.  I felt the story was written just a few years after the horror of WWII, it was that detailed.  The absolute waste and stupidity of mass conflict was conveyed as well.

More stories like this should be told.  There is no way the world should ever forget that mankind was brought to the brink of annihilation because of madmen and ineffective politicians.  This story portrays a mere few caught up in the unimaginable catastrophe that swept across the whole planet in WWII.  Magnify that to the level of every nation: At that time everyone suffered a loss, either of their own life or that of a loved one. 

Ghosts of the Empire should haunt us to the depths of our souls to ensure that conflict can never again escalate to the terrific levels it did then and to safeguard against the unnecessary loss and total waste of human potential by sending young men and women to die before their time.  If more people knew of the hell war creates, more would avoid it and less would glorify it.  A superb telling by author Justin Sheedy, once again. 

Martin Zitek, Sydney, Australia.

Author Marc Stevens

Author Marc Stevens


First Amazon 5-Star Review by Author Marc Stevens, Ontario, Canada

‘Ghosts of the Empire’ is the latest WW2 novel from Australian author Justin Sheedy, the follow-on to ‘Nor the Years Condemn’. The second book of a proposed trilogy is neither prequel nor sequel; rather the story takes place concurrently with the first, and actually briefly shares one or two of the characters.

Once again, Sheedy succeeds mightily in getting the reader quickly invested in the story, whose proponent is a young Australian pilot, Mick O’Regan. Growing up in working class Sydney, our hero enlists in the Royal Australian Air Force, desperately hoping (like all young men of the day) to become a Spitfire pilot. He gets his wish, joining the elite group of flyers whose simple job is to kill or be killed. A sad fate that becomes too many of his friends and allies.

The background research necessary to write this story well (and Sheedy has indeed written it very well) is evident at the turn of every page. But where the author triumphs, once again, is in drawing the reader so deeply into the emotional lives of his characters that one cannot wait to turn the page. As a reader, you CARE about these brave aircrew and their families. And there is no shortage of pulling at heartstrings on the family front. Letters between combat ace Mick and his 6-year-old sister back in Australia do a credible job of ripping at your guts.

Escape, Evasion and Revenge by Marc StevensIn addition to his marvellous characters, Sheedy is also showing himself to be a master of plot. Unexpected twists and turns keep the reader awake and begging for more. Yes, you will cheer for the good guys and sneer at the villains, but you will also come to learn that the innocent victims of war are never on just one side or the other.

Justin Sheedy is rapidly becoming that to which every author aspires: a novelist with serious talent.

Eminent cheers to Marc Stevens, Author of ESCAPE, EVASION & REVENGE


“Ghosts of the Empire” – A New Novel by Justin Sheedy – Review by Mark Bentley, United Kingdom

Author Justin Sheedy

Author Justin Sheedy

This latest fact-based but fictional novel by Justin Sheedy is without doubt every bit as good as the prequel, “Nor the Years Condemn”. Both are written to tell the story of the brave young men from the British Commonwealth, in this case from Australia, who volunteered to become aircrew during World War II as part of the Royal Australian Airforce.

The opening pages of the book tell you all you need to know about the story’s main character: who he is, what he does before joining up, the background of his family life. Sheedy excels here; in just a few short pages you feel you have met the character and know him personally – Other authors have used half a book to attempt this, and bore you rigid doing so – definitely not so here.

The way in which “Ghosts of the Empire” has been researched for accuracy is quite simply astounding, even down to a countryside walk away from the main character’s UK airfield, an airfield that is still in use today, and one which I visit to photograph the modern Royal Air Force: The description of the land by Sheedy made me feel I was walking on those very country lanes and roads, only next time I do I’ll ask, “Is that a gentle breeze I feel, or is it someone else taking a stroll from an earlier time?!”

Ghosts of the EmpireAnother aspect of Sheedy’s writing style is that during the book he jumps mid-page at times to events happening elsewhere in the story, events happening at the same time, and then back again. When Sheedy does this it actually works, and works very well; he keeps you enthralled the whole time, unlike some other authors where you find it annoying and end up skip-reading or even missing pages to get back to the main narrative thread.

Very Well Done, Justin Sheedy. An excellent read from cover to cover!

Mark Bentley
Hertfordshire, UK.

PS: This is my own first attempt at a book review, but I just had to do one for THIS book.”

My most heartfelt thanks to Mark Bentley – Justin Sheedy


The author with Australian Theatre Veteran, Tim Bean

The author with Australian Arts Veteran, Tim Bean

Review by Tim Bean, Australian Arts Veteran…

Justin Sheedy’s “Nor the Years Condemn” was a good read. Its companion novel, GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE, is even better. This is because the theme of “Nor the Years” – that all fighting men are mere pawns in the life-and-death chess game that is war – is delivered with even greater impact in “Ghosts”.

Mick O’Regan, a young carpenter from Lewisham in Sydney, finds himself called up, selected, trained and eventually flying in the RAF against Hitler’s Luftwaffe, this despite the fact that Mick has devoted all his self-preservational energies towards securing a stay-in-Australia posting. Luckily for Mick, he is assigned as wingman to Feliks Brozek, experienced Polish Spitfire pilot with a personal score to settle against the Nazis and who demonstrates with ruthless mid-combat lessons that war cannot be fought and won with by-the-book chivalry. Meanwhile, on almost a daily basis, Mick is appalled to see young men’s lives wasted at a horrendous rate on ill-conceived missions using badly advised tactics and unsuitable aircraft.

Brozek’s insights help Mick to become an Ace in a series of harrowing air clashes, a baptism of fire which ultimately leads Mick to Jacqueline Orval, a young Frenchwoman, as well as to German Gestapo officer, Werner Gruber. Crystalized by his experiences with these characters, Mick sets about giving the Gestapo hell from the air, whilst planning his return to Jacqueline.

Another key theme of “Ghosts of the Empire” is ‘war by media’, one brought to a head in that Mick’s exploits have the side effect of attracting ‘good press’, something the bad-press-prone Allied Top Brass desperately crave. In the book’s final chapter, Mick is given the opportunity to tell these Bomber-Command-Chess-Players, at their own insistence, exactly where they have made the wrong moves.

Mick does so in the riveting Whitehall scene – six pages of logic, conflict and humanitarian mathematics so devastating in their truth that the reader’s inclination to physically applaud is acute. (This scene is a complete mini story in its own right, powerful enough to make a splendid short film, should the right hungry young producer/director combination take it on. One can only hope.)

The accuracy of Mick’s assessment, however, inevitably leads to the moving conclusion of “Ghosts”.

Justin Sheedy is a writer by choice, a historian by passion and a promoter by necessity. He is very good at all three and, in GHOSTS OF THE EMPIRE, he delivers a novel worthy of passion and promotion. A splendid read.

Profound thanks to Tim Bean, who truly has been a writing & publishing ‘mentor’ to me since “Nor the Years Condemn”, Book 1 in this series. See Tim’s review of “Nor the Years” HERE.

Sandy Neilen

Sandy Neilen


Review by Sandy Neilen, Brisbane, Australia

I do not do war. Not movies, not books, not artefacts – absolutely nothing. So when my favourite writer, Justin Sheedy, published a book on Fighter Pilots in WW2 I was in a quandary. Mindlessly I found myself asking bookshop owners if they carried ‘Nor the Years Condemn’ and as no one seemed to have it, I was, all of a sudden, on a mission. Eventually I found a copy and out of nothing more than blind trust, I bought and started to read Nor the Years Condemn’.

There was just enough of everything to keep me turning the pages. It became my date book – got to get back to that book, sorry, just have to finish the next chapter. In no time it was over and I was sorry it was over. You knew there were horrible things that happened and they are mentioned but not laboured. There is romance, adventure, and good people facing situations never contemplated with varied outcomes. I fell in love with some characters, admired others and despised some as well.

Nor the Years Condemn by Justin SheedyThere are some details about planes and missions and even those were easy to read about because by that time you knew Daniel Quinn so well that you care about what he cared about. After reading, I have a better appreciation of some aspects of the Second World War but this was a story about people in a certain time and it is written with heart and it shows on every page. Just a great read – it deserves all the praise it gets.

(Personal note from Reviewer Sandy Neilen to Author Justin Sheedy…) “You really have mastered Page Turning Quality… I have only just finished ‘Nor the Years’. It has been on my holiday reading list. Fantastic read. I was not able to get ‘Ghosts of the Empire’ up here. It will be an online purchase. Keep up the brilliant work.” – Sandy Neilen


Ghosts of the EmpireTHIS BOOK FLIES.

Review by Manuscript Assessor of Ghosts of the Empire, Andrew Landström, Sweden

I have just taxied to a full stop outside the hangar, having turned off the engines on this first flight of an aircraft so beautifully built and so wonderful to fly it just fills you with the wish that it would never end. I hear the props slow down and come to a halt as I turn off the slightly unfamiliar switches and I can safely say I have landed… THOSE were the feelings I had after having finished reading Justin Sheedy’s “Ghosts Of The Empire”.

Getting the opportunity to read this book as a first draft was a huge honour and a fearful task in a way, just as I imagine flying an aircraft prototype for the first time would be.  I read it carefully with my full attention on what was written, how it was written, ever looking for something that would fault the story. Feeling, imagining, pondering, going back to re-read, trying out all aspects of the story, not wanting to find a flaw that would make the story come screaming down from the sky like an aircraft riddled with bullets and on fire… To my great relief the story took off, and it flew and flew. It turned, it banked, it yawed, it looped and kept going until finally long, long after I ‘closed the cover’ of “Ghosts”… it landed.

As with the his previous book, Justin Sheedy has made the characters come alive as complex personalities, such as we all are: normal people doing extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances, for better and worse, making them heroes or villains or anything in between. Catching them in the act of being human, feeling love and hate, being disillusioned or realist, celebrating life or putting an end to it, there is cold calculation and mere chance. There are touches of refinement in Sheedy’s weaving of the story into his previous book “Nor The Years Condemn” without making them stick too tightly together.

In one sentence: I enjoyed it thoroughly.

And that despite the fact that I read it on my computer which I have never done before, being a diehard physical book person. I will read it again.

Nor the Years CondemnTruest thanks to my Soul Brother from Sweden, Andrew Landström — Justin Sheedy. SEE his review of Book 1, Nor the Years Condemn, HERE.

13 Comments leave one →


  1. ONE FOR THE LADIES! “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy – Review by Denise Boneham | Goodbye, Crackernight
  2. A BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED TALE. “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy – Review by Colleen Dudley | Goodbye, Crackernight
  3. 1st 5-Star Amazon Review of “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy | Goodbye, Crackernight
  4. 1st Rave Review of Rising Australian Author Justin Sheedy’s LATEST! “Ghosts of the Empire” | Goodbye, Crackernight
  5. A SPLENDID READ. “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy – Review by Australian Arts Veteran, Tim Bean | Goodbye, Crackernight
  6. MORE STORIES LIKE THIS SHOULD BE TOLD. “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy – Review by Martin Zitek | Goodbye, Crackernight
  7. Independent Australian Author Justin Sheedy Breaks Into UK & Euro Bookstore Markets! | Goodbye, Crackernight
  8. Latest Readers of “Ghosts of the Empire” by Justin Sheedy share their ‘FAVOURITE BITS’ | Goodbye, Crackernight
  9. Rising Sydney Author Justin Sheedy’s Latest Now Stocked by Abbeys Bookshop – THE Independent Bookstore of Sydney CBD | Goodbye, Crackernight
  10. Australian author Justin Sheedy on success, restlessness and being a productive writer – Interview by Author Walter Mason at Walterblog | Goodbye, Crackernight
  11. Berkelouw Books – Friend of the First-Time Author | Goodbye, Crackernight
  12. D-Day Anniversary Book Signing Event for Justin Sheedy – Sat 6 June 2015 Dymocks Sydney | Goodbye, Crackernight
  13. SIXTH Book-Signing in ONE Year for Author Justin Sheedy at Australia’s Premier Bookstore | Goodbye, Crackernight

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