Graham Shelby, the author who has died aged 77, made his mark in 1969 with the publication of The Knights of Dark Renown, the first of six historical novels set during the time of the Crusades.
He was born in Brighton on September 18 1939, but he was soon evacuated with his mother from the family’s London home to Cirencester. His father, later a successful barrister, had already left for the war and served with Wingate’s Chindits in Burma. Graham was not to see his father until 1946; five years later his mother died and his father remarried.
After school, his National Service in the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Defence Force was beset at the outset by misfortune. A jeep in which he was travelling careered off the road, killing the men sitting either side of him.
Shortly after this incident he was a passenger in an Army ambulance when that too was involved in a serious accident, after which he decided...
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