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Flying With Kites - Alan Reynolds
ISBN 978-1-906377-43-4
Available in paperback and for digital readers

 

When you have lost everything, how far would you go?
What would you do to protect your child?

 

The war in Kosovo has already been relegated to the history books but in his debut novel Alan Reynolds reminds us of the brutality and futility of this tragic conflict.
 

In a powerful and moving account, we follow the plight of Katya Gjikolli an English teacher who is forced to flee her native village with her baby son after her husband had been captured by Serb forces and believed killed.
 

Echoing actual events, we are transported through the unforgiving landscape of a Balkan winter, sharing the horror of her brief capture and subsequent escape.
 

The flight to a squalid refugee camp in Macedonia and subsequent evacuation to the UK are vividly portrayed and we share her anxiety as she is resettled with another refugee and her daughter in a tower block in Newcastle. The story follows the two womenís differing experiences and how they cope with acclimatising to the new culture.
 

We learn too about the local population and how they are also trying to survive and make the most of their lives which become inexorably intertwined with the refugees.

When you have lost everything... you have nothing to lose.

Follow Alan's blog, click on the image below:

 


 

   Alan Reynolds  


 

Following a successful career in Banking, Alan established his own training company in 2002 and has successfully managed projects across a wide range of businesses. This experience has led to an interest in psychology and human behaviour through watching interactions, studying responses and research. Leadership has also featured strongly in his training portfolios and the knowledge gained has helped build the strong characters in his books.
 

His interest in writing started as a hobby but after completing his first novel in just three weeks, the favourable reviews he received has encouraged him to take up a new career. The inspiration for his stories comes from real life with which people can easily identify.

 

 

Book signing at Stephen Smith's - Yorkshire...

I recommend this book...

I read this book whilst on holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book

- B W Harrison

 

A great story, great read, just grab you towel, bikini, sun cream and your kindle, hit the beach with this great summer read!

- T Wise

 

You are the first writer I know to accurately describe the harrowing testimony of the victims of rape and war crime in Kosovo.

For my dissertation I was engaged in Human trafficking in Kosovo and I know that women there are very reluctant to report any violation against them because of the attached stigma. The research carried out for this book is evident, you must visit your character, Katya, place!

With the very best wishes.

- Fatmire Halili-Bunjaku

 

This is a story told without any unnecessary exaggeration and you want to know how it ends but are not prepared for the final twist, it is a really good tale and cleverly written.

- Tony Horton

 

"Your brill book went down a treat with family over New Year. We've now all read and enjoyed it. X"

- Sian Lloyd (our favourite weather girl)

 

The differences between life in the UK and in the US are brought to light by incorporating details that most authors overlook...

Alan Reynolds takes the reader on a sweeping adventure that follows teacher Katya Gjikolli and her baby as they escape the ravages of war and rape through the forests of Kosovo to find new hope in England. The horrific scenes of destruction in the former Yugoslavia as well and the contrasting refugee existence in Britain came to life through this writer's many literary gifts. Reynolds character development is superb and his plotting flawless. Expect the unexpected in this brilliant study of human character.

- Randall Peterson

 

It surpassed my expectations...

Having read Alan's most recent novel 'Breaking The Bank' I took 'Flying With Kites' on holiday in the hope of another excellent read. It surpassed my expectations and had me gripped from the beginning. So many reviews here already outlining the plot, so I won't go into the same detail. I loved how Alan transferred his very detailed knowledge of life in Kosovo, into such a moving account of a young woman's struggle to keep herself and her baby son alive.

- Jaynie

 

Hoping there's a sequel on the way...

I Finished Flying With Kites by Alan Reynolds Brilliant read! I never stay up to this time reading, but was desperate to see how it ended. Loved it.
- Heather

 

And 5 Stars from my Mum...

Flying with Kites is a funny, shockingly, sexy, sad story which also has its more serious sinister moments relating to the brutal war in Kosovo which then moves on to a housing estate in Newcastle. (Probably just as tough a place) Maybe not!

The characterisation is superb with nicely fleshed out believable characters that you will both love and hate. I loved Alan's unforgiving writing style. I can't wait for the continuation of the book and it would make a great mini-series or Brit Flick.

OK on to my problems with the book. I had it delivered to my parents address and my Mother promptly stole it and wouldn't give it back until she had read it. It's a good job my Mum is broad minded because as I said it's a funny, shockingly, sexy, sad story... did I mention drug dealing?

The book is highly recommended by someone not easily pleased and loved by his Mother whose Husband (Grumpy Dad) is unpleased with the light being left on until 1.30am in the morning while she just read a few more pages.

Well done Alan You entertained us both as well as making an enemy of my Dad ha ha!
- Clinton Yorke

 

The story left me with a racing pulse, jangling nerves and a real 'want' for a follow up book...

Flying with Kites is an enjoyable read which touched every emotion in a roller coaster type way. A sad story which is also, shocking, funny, sexy and romantic has a serious side to it regarding the Kosovan war. The historical side to the book is based on factual evidence from news reports which if you are old enough to remember ... you can! This makes the story very realistic and more interesting. The author, who through the experiences of the heroine Katya, brought me to understand what happened to women and their families and how brutal and terrifying war can be for all communities. Katya the Kosovan woman, wife, daughter and mother is at the centre of the story and through her eyes she took me on a journey from Kosovo to the Albanian/Macedonian border and finally to England geographically... but emotionally... to hell and back. The story left me with a racing pulse, jangling nerves and a real "want" for a follow up book

- Jacque Gerrard

 

his book has everything...

I have just finished reading Alan Reynold's Flying With Kites and loved it. It gripped me from the very beginning and was compelled to keep reading! The characters really come to life and I cannot wait for the next book!

-Sara Seastron

 

Loved this book right from the start...

This was my first book reading about the war in Kosovo. The story of Katya who is forced to leave her war torn village with her infant son is both brutal and honest showing the authors knowledge and understanding of the Balkan war. The story follows her arrival to a tower block in Newcastle and her settling in the UK. I canít wait to read the next instalment in the life of Katya.

- Liz McKay

 

 

"Just finished reading Flying with Kites. Brilliant read, thoroughly enjoyed it. Just waiting for your next publication"

- Sarah Knight

 

"What a great novel. Drawn in from the very beginning and was reading during daylight hours which means it must be a real page turner for me. I was sucked into the life of Katya and Milosz and the struggle and sacrifices to escape war torn Kosovo from page one. Her life and that of her friend Edi in Newcastle is so different to the one left behind. They encounter colourful criminal characters from Bigsy to Trev and all in between - some who care and some who take advantage - even the criminal fraternity have such differing standards. Would make a great film with Shane Meadows the perfect director for such a story - right up his street. Alan Reynolds you are definitely one to watch and I can't wait for the next one."

- Sharon Wells

 

"I loved the book. I donít read much at all I tend to start a book and if I donít get drawn in by the first chapter I give up. This one got me in the first few pages. I really liked how it starts out in her homeland and ends up in a flat in Newcastle, canít get much more of a culture shock. I felt as if I knew Katya personally and could not wait to get to bed at night to find out what she was doing next. Really looking forward to the next book, what will Katya do?"

- Claire Setchell

 

"...a captivating read. The book is almost two novels in one book with Katya's harrowing escape from a bleak war torn Kosovo being the first part and her coming to terms with a new life in a Newcastle housing estate the second...

...I could not put the book down. Believable characters such as, salt of the earth "Bigsy" together with his mates and the deplorable "knob head Trev" and his disgusting wife.

While reading I could see this being turned into a mini TV series with perhaps a younger Robson Green & Mark Benton playing the roles of the Geordie's and Suranne Jones playing Bigsy's wife Carol, it would work I am sure.

Watch out for the bitter sweet ending, i did not see that coming!"

- Graham Knight

 

"...gripping... stitching together the dire troubles of Kosovo in the nineties with some similarly disturbing events in the UK as a couple of refugees find their feet away from troubles. Or do they?

A dark start to the novel during the disturbing events of the former Yugoslav republic and the ethnic tensions develop into a tale of hope and new starts for two refugees. But all is not what it seems and events take a number of twists and turns as the author keeps us wondering where the novel is going next, and whether life really is better for the escapees away from the strife of their former homeland.

There is humour, drama and tension throughout to keep you engrossed in this novel. I particularly loved the level of detail as the refugees settle into their new surroundings.

I look forward to further instalments from this promising and entertaining author."

- Jonathon Oxley

 

 

 

 

Alan with his wife and daughter...

 

 

 

 

 

...with Sue Armstrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

...with Nigel Oddy, Olivia and Emaleigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

...with Rachel Walmsley

 

 

 

 

 

"I have just finished reading Flying with Kites by Alan Reynolds, it was a fantastic book, that I really enjoyed reading. It starts in Kosovo and finishes in Newcastle, the whole story follows a young woman and her child, with twists, sadness, happiness, but most of all humour. I would recommend anybody to give this book a go, you wonít regret it."

- Claire Greenwood

 

 

 

...with Clare Davidson

 

 

 

 

 

"...really powerful.  The ending was tragic and left me wanting to read the next book straight away so I feel a bit bereft at the moment! I have already spoken of the book to family and friends and my mum is now reading the paper copy... let me know when book 2 is published please?!"

- Vicki Spencer

 

"Alan Reynolds has a great ability to empathise with and get into the head of all his characters. I was totally involved with the plot and the characters from the first line from the horrors of the atrocities in Kosovo through to the very different world of the council estate in Newcastle. I love the cliff hanger at the end and cannot wait till the sequel."

- Lorraine Doron

 

"...brilliant! It grips you from the start as it sets the scene in Kosovo. You follow Katya through her incredible escape and how she ends up on a council estate in Newcastle upon Tyne. Through her journey you meet interesting characters, it's the sort of book you can see as a great British film. How two different world's are thrown together. I am looking forward to reading the sequel!"

- Northern Jo

 

"From the first page I was captured by the story, a young woman named Katya with a baby son fleeing her home country of Kosovo, the war was dangerous for its civilians, and she had to put up with hardship and brutal treatment from the Serb army. Rescued by a NATO patrol she's taken to a refugee camp where she feels safer but the anxiety is always in the back of her mind, not knowing what would happen to her and her child. As the story develops she ends up in Newcastle England on a council estate in a tower block where she finds some comfort and makes new friends and strikes up a relationship with one of the local lads. It is a moving story with some smiles along the way. It's a super book to read and I'm looking forward to the next book in the trilogy, a good book to take on holiday".

- John Knight

 

 

"This is a book packed full of highs and lows. Whilst the start grabs your attention immediately the middle keeps you turning the pages as it races towards what would appear to be its inevitable conclusion. The ending is guaranteed to have you turning the last page to search for the release date of Book 2!"
- Lorraine Jennings

 

"...excellent storytelling and lots of human interest in this hard to put down book. The characters are well written and completely absorbing..."
- Lyn Ross

 

"...one of those books you cannot put downÖ A poignant story about courageous women who fight for survival and adaptation to a new culture.  The new culture, being 100% Geordie adds humour to an emotionally gripping tale."

- Anna-Marie Dreyfus

 

"...currently reading Flying with Kites by Alan Reynolds - can't wait to get home to read more!"

- Keeley Edge

 

"...an intriguing novel of communities in Kosovo and the North East of England with realistic characters that you can sympathise with and want to follow. I loved it from beginning to end and when I had to put it down I couldn't wait to get to back to it to see what was happening next. Bigsy was the hero for me and I look forward to meeting him again soon. I'm now eagerly awaiting Alan's next book..."
- Snow Leopard

 

"I have just finished Flying with Kites by Alan Reynolds... it was a gripping tale both uplifting and tragic in equal parts. I am looking forward to reading the follow up!"

- Jan Brause

 

"...Brilliant! Can't wait to read the next one..."

- Sue Cadwallader

 

 

"...I downloaded the sample of 'Flying with Kites', read it and just had to download the rest. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would put it in the category of 'couldnít put it down'. You really have a talent, and I look forward to further offerings."

- Mike Walker

 

"...David is raving about Flying with Kites. He's half way thru & already sees it as potential for film like 'East is East'..."

- William and Victoria Restaurant - Harrogate / book club

 

"..I've just started reading Flying With Kites... I need to go to work but can't put it down! Highly recommend it..."
-
Lorraine Jennings

 

"...A real roller coaster of a ride. The plot twists and turns, following Katya's journey from war-torn Kosovo and her terrible ordeal there, to the underbelly of life in Newcastle. To anybody who has lived in the North of England this is a visceral, sometimes graphically written tale of a woman trying to pick up the pieces of her broken life in a new country."

- April Farrar

 

"Flying with Kites is an extremely riveting read - both for its depiction of the war in Kosovo and the personal anguish of the main character, but also for the warmth and the humour displayed when the story moves to the North East. Alan's style of writing is believable, your love for the characters is real and I can't wait to read the next instalment!"

- D Middleton

 

Book signing at British Gas - Manchester...

"I have to congratulate you for writing such an amazing book. I was gripped all the way through. The characters you invented were brilliant! All the nicknames were so real and you can imagine each and every one of them living on that kind of estate - salt of the earth folk ( well some of them ). Honestly, I got totally absorbed in the book and you can easily imagine yourself on Heathcote Estate."

- Lisa Morris

 

"...riveting from the first page to the last. Content has obviously been painstakingly researched where this reality then generates emotion and concern. Clever use of language translation and dialect is entertaining with humour completing the picture. Looking forward to the sequel." - CJG

 

 

 

 

Alan with Lynette...

(a big thanks to Lynette for organising the book signing and to all her colleagues at British Gas in Manchester who could not have made us more welcome)

"What a great book. It grips you from the very first couple of pages - which is all important. The way the book develops from the war in Kosovo, then on to a council estate in Newcastle upon Tyne is excellent... I couldn't put it down...Can't wait for the sequel"

- Lyn Wood

 

"...This book is an absolute fantastic read, where the characters make you want to be part of their community. It will make you gasp, sigh and laugh out loud as Alan Reynolds has the ability to make this happen all on one page, absolutely superb. I would highly recommend it with a definite five stars from me!

It's a story about Katya a refugee from Kosovo - who has to adapt to life in Newcastle, the locals make her welcome with her fellow refugee Edi, What they went through to get to there is soul destroying and actually makes you feel glad they live in a high rise in Newcastle in the end...AMAZING
"

- Lynette Machin

 

 

 

 

...with Karen

"Flying With Kites' is an excellent and refreshing novel from Alan Reynolds. He has really done his homework on the war in the former Yugoslavia and the horrors of that conflict, as well as life on a run-down council estate in the north of England.

The opening chapters graphically set the scene for Katya Gjikolli, bent on her own and her son's survival in a world gone mad. Her husband may have been caught by the Serbs, maybe imprisoned, tortured, or even dead. Either way she has to get out to save herself and her son.

Through more trials she eventually escapes on a refugee flight bound for the UK. She finds herself being housed with another Kosovan refugee in a high-rise flat in a depressed area of Newcastle in the north of England. There she begins her new life, finding new friends, and a new love.

This is not only a novel about one woman's struggle to survive and build a new life for herself, this is also about the new friends she acquires who live on the edge of the law. There's Bigsy who minds the video store and does odd jobs on the side - strictly cash only and not a word to the Social. Chirpy and Wazza make up the colourful trio who aid Bigsy in delivering drugs to the clubs in Newcastle for Everton Sheedie, a dealer with roots in Brixton. Carol, who's Bigsy's wife and who metes out her `favours' to him on how well he behaves (and how much money he gives her to spend at the `Metro').

Polly in his own way provides the title of the novel. He's an art student with a talent for building and flying kites, as well as an eye for a good photograph ... and Katya. He soon takes Katya flying in more ways than one.

There is also Edi and her daughter, the other Kosovan refugees who Katya tries to integrate into their new environment. Katya, however, is unaware of just how Edi is integrating herself into the neighbourhood.

Other characters are peppered throughout the novel giving colour and depth and making this a very enjoyable read. It's tragedy and it's comedy. It's got sex. It's got violence. It's also got tenderness so well written that it can bring a tear to the eye. Whatever ... enjoy!"

- Geoff Newman

 

 

 

 

 

...with Jayne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...with Kaz

"The story begins with a shocking personal drama in war torn eastern Europe and concludes with equal pace on the estates of North East England. Reynold's characters are believable and well developed and he does not pull his punches as he explores the brutal realities of their lives. The pace throughout is well maintained and there are several well constructed plot twists. The style and trans-culture genre are similar to 'Last Resort', 'Yasmin' and 'Dirty Pretty Things'. A great novel..."

- Richard

 

 

 

 

...with Indra

   "Wow, stunning writing. You had me on the edge of my seat..."

 

  "Beautifully written in straightforward compelling prose, it really brings to life the horror of a ghastly, brutal conflict...'

 

   "Very polished writing and your characterisation is superb..."

 

 

 

 

...with Sophia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...with Heather

 

 

 

...with Alison

 

   "Powerful stuff, brilliantly written. I loved the style and the pace and the wonderful pathos of your writing..."

 

 

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