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The Banqueting Club


Norman Armstrong and Alf Burton are an unlikely pair of political friends. One is a left-wing journalist who grew up in poverty, a man with a national reputation and a sharp tongue; the other is the Tory Chief Whip, and the latest in a long family line of distinguished politicians. A violent argument between the two proves to be the beginning of a lasting bond. When Alf tells Norman that he has been lucky enough to secure access to a revelatory manuscript written by Charlotte Morris – an Edwardian popular novelist who made herself unpopular with the Establishment by campaigning against Kitchener’s concentration camps – both men immediately understand the potentially explosive significance of the event. But neither could have predicted the extraordinary way in which, against the background of 1980s Britain and the imminent miners’ strike, this political thriller would unfold.


Armstrong’s Army


The summer of 1984 is eventful, to say the least, in British politics. Riots, bombings and the murder of a police officer have all occurred. Besides, the miners’ strike is in progress, policed (or aggravated) by the special unit dubbed ‘Armstrong’s Army’. The strike affects the whole nation. The murder of a taxi driver and an undercover Special Branch agent; police informants infiltrating the miners’ pickets. Numerous claims are being made of police corruption and crime. Home Secretary Sir Norman Armstrong and his old friend; outspoken, left wing commentator Alf Burton, find themselves entrenched on opposite sides of this increasingly bitter and deadly fight. Can their decades-old friendship survive? Meanwhile, what of the papers lost years ago, with the sinking of the Lady Georgiana? Alf Burton uncovers increasingly disturbing links to the current day, and finds Sir Norman’s own family heavily implicated. What was the secret they concealed?


The Enemy Within


Veteran Geordie lobby correspondent, Alf Burton, has long had to balance his personal friendship with Conservative Home Secretary, Sir Norman Armstrong, with his political views and background. Anti-Thatcherite, working-class champion, crusading journalist and political commentator, his role as national radio presenter and interviewer for one of the leading Tory Party donors, heightens the tension further. Especially when the Home Office plans to enforce mass redundancies in shipbuilding hot on the heels of the bitter Miners' Strike of 1984-5. His already divided loyalties are stretched to the limit as his journalistic powers are enlisted to investigate the suspicious wartime death and disappearance of a Scotland Yard detective on the point of uncovering disturbing information concerning respected political dynasties at the heart of government. His search reveals a complex web of police corruption, organised crime and a secret society, from which extricating himself is not an option.


Acknowledgement: Synopses by Olympia Publishers © 2019-2020

Buy individually or as a series from Amazon. Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Paperback version available from Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Foyles and all major retailers.

The Banqueting Club is also in audio, narrated by Alistair McMillan.


The Banqueting Club, Armstrong's Army and The Enemy Within are published by Olympia, London.

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A brief presentation of some reviews for the first Armstrong and Burton Trilogy.

All used with permission.  We do not pay for favourable reviews or endorsements.

“George Fairbrother skilfully brings to life an incredible period of British political history, told through an array of fascinating characters. Fairbrother has clearly done his homework - the amount of research and attention to detail ground the novels in reality, whilst adding a heightened sense of finesse and intrigue. Fairbrother also shines with his characterisation and rich dialogue - these are very well-written characters and one can easily imagine a stellar cast of performers bringing them to life in a major production.”


Oliver Crocker

Author of Witness Statements: Making The Bill Series 1-3 and All Memories Great and Small

Producer and Host of The Bill Podcast

Publisher (Devonfire Books)


Featured Article


The Miners' Strike of 1984-85 is a central theme of the Armstrong & Burton series, featuring

prominently in the first three novels. Read more about the real history here;


More background here;

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