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Gavin Lyall Books In Order

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Publication Order of Honour Books

Spy's Honour (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Flight from Honour (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
All Honourable Men (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Honourable Intentions (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Harry Maxim Books

The Secret Servant (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Conduct of Major Maxim (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Crocus List (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Uncle Target (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Wrong Side of the Sky (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Most Dangerous Game (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Midnight Plus One (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shooting Script (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Venus With Pistol (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blame The Dead (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Judas Country (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Freedom's Battle (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Operation Warboard (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Freedom's Battle Volume Two (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Gavin Lyall was a reputed English writer of spy fiction, suspense, mystery, and espionage thriller stories. He is best known for his work in his two thriller series, the Harry Maxim series and the Honor series. Additionally, he had written many standalone books in his career, many of which are found in bookstores and online even today. Author Lyall was born as Gavin Tudor Lyall on May 9, 1932, in Birmingham, West Midlands, England; and died on January 18, 2003, in London. His father was a local accountant. Lyall completed his schooling from King Edward’s School in Birmingham. He enrolled himself for National Service between 1951 and 1953, where he served in the RAF as a Pilot Officer and flew Gloster Meteors. Following the end of his national service of 2 years, Lyall joined the Pembroke College in Cambridge and graduated with honors in 1956 in English.

During his time at Cambridge, he was regularly involved in writing columns for an undergraduate newspaper named Varsity. Lyall had also developed a strip cartoon, whose main character was named Olly. This character reflected the life of students and had achieved cult status. In 1956, Lyall had become Varsity’s editor. Following his graduation, Lyall was briefly employed as a reporter for Picture Post, Sunday Graphic, and Birmingham Gazette newspapers. He also worked as BBC’s film director for a program called Tonight. In 1958, Lyall met and married the love of his life, Katharine Whitehorn, who is also an author by profession. Lyall had two sons with his wife. During his stay at London’s Provost Rd, he enjoyed taking his motor cruiser for a sail on the Thames. Between 1959 and 1962, Lyall was employed at Sunday Times as one of its aviation correspondents and newspaper reporters.

Lyall entered the world of writing and publishing with his 1961 book called The Wrong Side of the Sky. He had written this novel by drawing from his own experiences in Greece and the deserts in Libya. This book became an immediate success and received praise from the likes of P.G. Wodehouse. Riding on the success of his first novel, Lyall quit journalism in 1963 and decided to become a full-time writer. The first 7 novels of author Lyall in the 60s and early 70s were mainly action thrillers set in different locations of the world. Lyall had sold the film rights of his 1965 book, Midnight Plus One, to actor Steve McQueen as he had planned to make a movie based on it. The central character of Lyall’s 1966 book, Shooting Script, was inspired by the American actor John Wayne, whom he had met during a reporting job in Libya. A few typical settings of his novels at that time included Finnish Lapland, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Cyprus.

Author Lyall is credited to have co-written the screenplay of a 1969 science fiction movie called Moon Zero Two with Martin Davison and Frank Hardman. He was the winner of the British CWA’s Silver Dagger award in 1964 and 1965. For the 1966-67 period, he had held the post of the Chairman of the British CWA. Lyall was not considered to be a prolific author as he used to write at a slow pace because of his obsession with making his stories look technically accurate. He was known to have the habit of carrying out weird experiments in his kitchen and publish the results of the research in pamphlets for the CWA during the 70s.

Up to his 1975 book called Judas County’s publishing, Lyall’s works were mainly divided into aviation thrillers and Euro-thrillers. He had written all his earlier books in the first person. In spite of gaining commercial success, he started to feel that he was getting used to a predictable pattern. Subsequently, he decided to abandon both the earlier genres as well as the first-person narrative for writing the Harry Maxim books. This series was proposed for a BBC TV series and contained three direct sequels and the same cast of central characters. The death of Lyall occurred due to cancer. He is now survived by his wife and two sons.

The Harry Maxim series written by author Gavin Lyall is comprised of four books in total, released between 1980 and 1988. Every book of this series features the lead protagonist in the role of Harry Maxim, a major in Special Services. He is given the charge at 10, Downing Street, London. Several essential characters mentioned in the novels include John Tyler, George Harbinger, etc. Lyall has set the stories in London, Berlin, Moscow, Yorkshire, East Germany, Luxembourg, and several other places. The debut book of this series is entitled ‘The Secret Servant’. It was released by the Pan publication in 1982, after its first release in 1980.

The book opens by depicting a series of grisly events involving violence and deaths in London that point to only one person, Professor John Tyler. John is described as a nuclear strategist, who is tasked with stating the case of Britain during a meeting of the European nations in Luxembourg. Harry Maxim gets appointed on a special assignment to watch the back of John Tyler. Many people know that John Tyler is a flawed man, including Harry Maxim. The KGB appoints special hitmen to assassinate John and it is Harry Maxim’s job to not let that happen, despite knowing how flawed John Tyler is.

Another excellent book of this series is known as ‘The Crocus List’ It was published by Penguin Books in 1987. This novel opens by depicting that an assassination attempt takes place on the President of America in London. It appears that the attack was carried out on the orders of the KGB. But, with the planned unilateral talks between Russia and Britain over Berlin about to take place, it is not expected of Russia to take such a drastic step and spoil the relations with Britain. Harry Maxim senses a conspiracy and informs the authorities, but no one believes him. So, he decides to go hunting on his own with his mentor George Harbringer and a former colleague named Agnes Algar. He takes up this unofficial mission to track down the group of patriots trying to make the country’s leaders see the menace of the Russians before going ahead to make any pact with them.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Gavin Lyall

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