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A Nation in Flames  -  Nick Armbrister


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Short Stories with a Gothic, Military & SF Flavour

A Nation In Flames: Short Stories WITH A GOTHIC, MILITARY & SF FLAVOUR

UK price: £6.00      US price: $10.95
Format: Paperback
Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 118
ISBN: 0-595-47889-1
Published: Nov-2007

Read the author's latest blog entry! Click here.

Startling stories with a Gothic flavour in the tradition of the Hammer House of Horror movies! Vampires, death, pain, darkness, war and a bit of hope combine to make these stories gripping and memorable.

Book Description

This is Nick Armbrister’s first collection of short stories, written from the late 90’s to the present day. They cover several topics, like his poems, but in much more depth—from satanic actions by people worshipping an evil god (‘Loss of the Ice Queen’) to warriors of the sky using man’s most powerful weapons in anger (‘Final Flight’), to an attempt to control fate (‘Spell to Find Amelia Earhart’), and to a post-nuclear townscape (‘Second History’, set in Oldham).

Two of the stories are fragments of larger uncompleted/lost work that deserve inclusion here. One day these projects may well see the light of day, but for now, the author hopes the reader will enjoy his ‘dark work’—in time he hopes to do a follow-up. These stories span his entire writing career. Though he prefers poetry as a means of incisive, concentrated power of expression, he loves short stories for their fun; even those that give one a glimpse into the dark side that lurks beneath the surface of life!

About the author

Born in Oldham, a Lancashire mill town in 1971, Nick Armbrister lives near London. His many interests include writing, studying history, military aviation, current affairs. He loves Gothic music and metal, likes the 1980’s for what is was (trash decade!), loves tattoos and pre-Raphaelite art. He loves anything Gothic, and enjoys reading Elizabeth Hand’s books. Nick has worked in various jobs from baking to forklift truck work, and wants to give all of this up to be a full-time paid writer.

Available from the following on-line bookstores:







10 January 2008


In the wonderful interviews that Joseph Campbell did with Bill Moyers, he spoke at one point about the mythologizing of tools. The Shield of Achilles, the Hammer of Thor, John Henry and the steam drill. It would seem that an instrument so fiercely rational and logical as the computer would resist this tendency in human thinking but as we have witnessed over the past twenty years, there has been a blending in arts, letters and film of the computer screen with the mythological and psychological. From “Tron” to “The Ring”, the computer has become a vehicle by which spirits can manifest themselves on earth and exert their influence upon mankind. Nick Armbrister, a English writer from London, exhibits this tendency to merge the mythic with the mechanical in his new collection of short stories entitled “A Nation in Flames.” Only for Nick, it’s vampires and airplanes.

In this slim volume are a dozen short stories with a “Gothic, Military and SF Flavour.” Gothic is an interesting term. It’s not easy to see why a Scandinavian tribe that was forced out of its homeland to wander south and eventually sack Rome and make their home in Spain, only to be conquered in turn by the Arabs in the 8th Century, should have their name equated with all that is dark and brooding in literature, unless we recall the tragedy of their history. It’s easy to dismiss the modern Goths as being depressed, morose, obsessed with death and role-playing games, addicted to piercing and the color black in their dress. But the essence of modern Gothic culture is the notion that you shouldn’t judge a person by their appearance, even when that appearance is consciously designed to shock genteel sensibilities. So readers, otherwise unfamiliar with, or hesitant to read something Gothic, might be surprised to find a dedication such as Nick’s. “May God forgive us for what we have done to ourselves and to our world.”

In “A Nation in Flames,” there are stories of vampires defeating modern Soviet invasion forces in snowy wastes and the joys of flying World War II vintage aircraft, often set against a Scandinavian backdrop. But my favorite is “A Story About a Liar, Paul Quisling.” This is the story of a quisling, a traitor, named after the World War II era Norwegian politician who helped the Nazis conquer his own country.But in this tale, Nick drops all his interests in things like aircraft, Gothic culture, and military history and tells a simple tale of betrayal on a personal level set solidly in his social milieu, alienated youth in modern England. Nick is a writer who can take up the causes of others. He is a compassionate human being outraged at the predatory behavior of a close friend. He keeps his own heartbreak understated, but it is a poignant tale of the search for love and the loss of friendship, all without undue sentimentality or sophomoric moralizing. In this piece of fiction, Nick restricts himself to being a close observer, reporting honestly what he sees and feels. This makes for a compelling view of modern love.

Nick’s fiery mix in latest book

AUTHOR Nick Armbrister with his book. Picture by the Waltham Forest Guardian


FORMER Counthill School pupil Nick Armbrister promises everything from fantasy and horror to war in his latest book.

The writer describes “A Nation in Flames” as a series of short stories based around extreme situations.

He draws inspiration from his own experiences, the news and media and explained: “It’s of an adult nature about a range of topics. It’s got stories from horror to warfare to fantasy.”

It is the third book by the 36-year-old factory worker who started writing in 1996 and moved from Oldham to London in 2005.

“I like music but I am a failed musician so I thought I would give writing a go because I find it interesting,” explained Nick, who now lives in Chingford.

“A Nation in Flames”, like his two previous poetry anthologies, is self-published and reflects his interests which include Gothic culture, aircraft, history, science fiction, fantasy, tattoos and other cultures,

He writes in the evening and at weekends and his fourth book will be published in November, while he is also working on a novel.

Girlfriend Xochitl (24) lives with the couple’s 10-month-old son, Alex, at her mother’s house in Chigwell, and Nick added: “My ambition is to write full-time, to have my own writing business and to have a home for my family.

“Because things are so expensive in London we live apart even though we are a family.”

“A Nation in Flames” is available on the web from Nick’s myspace site, www.myspace.com/nickspoetrybooks, or Amazon. It can also be ordered from W H Smith.      


Review of Nick Armbrister's poems:

War. The mind of Nick Armbrister is a mind of war. War everyday. Every breath. Every sentence. His work is dark and real. Poetry that is not for pussies. It is verse for those who want the truth about the human mind. The disease, the despair, the carnage filled hell that is life. Armbrister pulls you deeper into his world with every word and you will be changed. He will leave you ready for war even in times of peace. The citizens of London, Manchester England better watch their asses because Nick is on the loose and he doesn't give a shit about writing stuff that is commercial. All he cares about is pain, suffering, crazed humanity, and about getting down in the trenches and pistol-whipping his readers with devastating blows of reality. Reality that this world has lost. But not for long. Read Nick Armbrister and prepare for Armageddon.

---Andrew C. Zinn, author of
The Truth Behind The Eyes.

Review By DJ Tyrer

Fade Into Focus,

Focus Into Fade

By Nick Armbrister

l2lpp, sb, iuniverse, ISBN 0-595-41035-9

Order from amazon.com, WH Smiths or Waterstones

Nick Armbrister should be a familiar name to regular readers of our magazines, his poetry having been appearing in them regularly over the last five years. Well, this year marks ten years of being a published poet and he has managed to celebrate in style by getting this collection of his excellent poetry published.

In a way, it is difficult to provide a meaningful review – having published so many of his poems (and I recognise a couple in this vast collection) I think you can take it as written that I quite like his work! Nick’s poetry will not be for everyone – he is often dark and gothic, some of his poems deal with mature themes or include language that not all will want to read. But, he is no angst-ridden teenager, his poetry displays depth and maturity. But, it’s not all dark and dreary in Nick’s world – Dream Sunlight expresses the urge to get away from it all, whilst Endless Summer expresses delight in the joys of summer (“A time of blue skies and cold beer / in pubs in the country.”) tinged with nostalgia (“We may grow older but we’ll / never forget the times we had”). A fascination with aircraft is a common theme of his poetry.

Rookery takes us to visit the home of the Brontës: “These birds have nested here for years, ever since the Brontë sisters lived and died at Howarth. / I hear the rooks cry and I know it is the same cry Anne, Emily and Charlotte heard so long ago.” Nick covers a multitude of subjects.

Given that Nick experiments with different styles of poem on a variety of topics evoking so many different emotions, I believe that almost everyone will find something that resonates with them in this collection. He sees the dark underbelly of the world but counterpoints it with hope and warnings about falling into the same traps.

If you have read his poetry, you already know whether or not you want to buy this. If not, you could do worse than receive an introduction to his work with this volume. With so many poems, it is also good value for money (not one of those collections with one five-liner a page!). Highly recommended! 

                                    DJ Tyrer, The Supplement, Issue 33, March 2007.

Also by Nick Ambrister:

Fade into Focus, Focus into Fade
by Nick Armbrister         

UK price: £7.37   US price: $13.95
Format: Paperback
Size : 6 x 9
Pages: 140
ISBN: 0-595-41035-9
Published: Sep-2006

Contemporary poetry on various subjects from poet/writer Nick Armbrister for an uncontemporary world!

Skeward Images            
by Nick Armbrister

UK price: £7.00     US price: $12.95
Format: Paperback
Size: 6 x 9
Pages: 116
ISBN: 0-595-45456-9
Published: Jun-2007

Read the author's latest blog entry! Click here.

The second volume of contemporary poetry on various subjects from poet/writer Nick Armbrister for an uncontemporary world: startling and imaginative themes and images.

Her Name is Hope - Life Force
by Nick Armbrister     

UK price: £9.98    US price: $18.08
Publisher: LULU
Format: Paperback:
Perfect binding , cream interior
Size : 6 x 9 (US trade)
Pages: 258
ISBN: 978-1-4092-3279-7
Published: October-2008

This is Nick Armbrister’s third collection of poems and his fourth book. It has poems that didn’t make his first two collections due to a variety of reasons.