AN AUTHOR from Down Ampney has just released his second book.

The Breaking Storm is the second part of Derek H. Skinner's gripping Nethergate trilogy. 

The series is set during the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), a conflict resulting from tensions between the North and the South, principally over the issues of slavery and its expansion.

The book follows on from Derek's first novel, Gathering Clouds, where a cruel the cruel and ruthless overseer to a tobacco plantation in Kentucky held the community in an iron grip, determined to dominate every man, woman and child condemned to live out their lives as Nethergate slaves.

The story strides rapidly between north and south, between battlefield and parlour, and then on to the island of Nassau and the Yankee naval blockade there.

Married with four children and six grandchildren, Derek is a former soldier, who saw service in the UK, Berlin, Germany, Aden, Cyprus, Belize and Hong Kong.

After 30 years in the army, he retired to spend 16 years as a school master at Cheltenham College Junior School.

On final retirement he became heavily involved in village life as a parish councillor, church warden and school governor, whilst continuing with work for an army charity.

He took up writing, a long-held passion and published his first book, Gathering Clouds in 2018 and his second in the series this month.

He is now editing the final draft of his third book to complete the Nethergate trilogy.

“My interest in slavery stemmed from a spell on Socotra, an island in the Indian Ocean, where I was guarding a political prisoner held there during the emergency," said Derek.

The Breaking Storm is available via Octavia's and Waterstones in Cirencester.