My Next Book


Coming later this year

When the stunning Odette Pinkwood walked into Ogden Peach’s office, he had no idea of the trouble she would cause him. It was 1937. Abwehr, Etappe Dienst Naval Intelligence, the Italian SIM, were thick as flies in London, but especially the Abwehr. And things were only getting worse. A high-level government physicist had disappeared with the plans for something so secret even MI5 knew nothing about it. And the alluring Miss Pinkwood, a woman of questionable character from the posh Blonde Queen Club, claimed she knew something. Was she just a diversion? Perhaps his circle of friends, ex-spies all, at the Fat Vulture Pub on Brittle Bone Street could offer perspective.

After all, even dead spies like to keep current in the craft.

Until the book is ready, enjoy Odette's playlist:



Portrait of a Bitter Spy


A 2018 Goethe Book Award for Historical Fiction semifinalist


Josefa Bygel is a difficult young woman -  obstinate, different. She always has been and now recently widowed, she has the opportunity to be very difficult by serving Germany during the Great War as a spy. Newly trained, her first assignment finds her in Paris where she insinuates herself into the life of a lonely executive to obtain the plans for the new tank by whatever means. Breaking into factories, hiding out in opium dens - how different her life is now.  So different from her carefree days as an art student where her last summer before marriage was spent painting botanical illustrations for a young English botany student in Spain. But just like everything else in her life, those happy days dissolved away in August 1914.


For botany student Fleming Hughes, the war has interrupted his research. He joins the Royal Field Artillery and soon after training he is at the front directing fire on the German lines from C Battery. After being wounded, he finds that he can be useful still by joining MI5. He has no idea that the trajectory of his life is racing along a parallel track with the lovely Josefa. He’d quite gotten over his crush from that summer he’d hired her to illustrate his fieldwork. But that was so long ago, before his heart had been pierced by the death of so many people he cared about. And now he not only spends his days pursuing German spies on British soil along with dodging the maddeningly silent spirits of lost mates who haunt him (literally). He is also keeping company with the elegant Davina Fitzgerald. So why has he kept that postcard of Josefa all this time? That wretched postcard.

"Astonishing in detail and vibrant in description, RS Rowland’s lavish portrait about the lives of a British soldier and his love interest turned German spy is a brilliant read.”


"As an historian, I feel this novel would be an excellent accompaniment to any college course dealing with the culture and/or society of Britain and Europe, women’s studies, or espionage during the WWI era."

Author JB Richards - IHI Book Review Project

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