The Red Gene

The Red Gene (paperback version) is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Publication date 18th April 2019. Kindle and iBook versions will also be available.

The Red Gene Amazon

When Rose, a young English nurse with humanitarian ideals, decides to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, she is little prepared for the experiences that await her. Working on one front after another, witness to all the horrors of war, she falls in love with a Republican fighter, Miguel. In 1939 as defeat becomes inevitable, Rose is faced with a decision that will change her life and leave her with lasting scars. Interspersed with Rose’s story is that of Consuelo, a girl growing up in a staunchly Catholic family on the other side of the ideological divide. Never quite belonging, treated unkindly, she discovers at a young age that she was adopted but her attempts to learn more about her origins are largely thwarted. It falls to the third generation, to Consuelo’s daughter Marisol, born in the year of Franco’s death and growing up in a rapidly changing Spain, to investigate the dark secrets of her family and find the answers that have until now eluded her mother.

“This fine historical novel traces the intergenerational legacies of the Spanish civil war through two groups of families, English and Spanish. At the narrative core is an English nurse who volunteered in the civil war, was caught in the violence of the Republican defeat and eventually returned to Britain. The parallel narrative follows three generations of Spanish families whose lives , unknowingly but irrevocably, were intertwined with Rose’s Spanish experiences. The author, an English writer and long-resident in Granada, effortlessly evokes the powerful ethos of the civil war and of life during the dictatorship and the post-Franco transition to democracy. Quite simply, this is an enthralling novel with real historical heft.” Judith Keene

Judith Keene, University of Sydney has written Fighting for Franco, International Volunteers in Nationalist Spain during the Spanish Civil War; Last Mile to Huesca: An Australian Nurse in the Spanish Civil War; and most recently Seeking Meaning, Seeking Justice in a Post-Cold War World.  

The Red Gene begins as an action story: the adventures of Rose, a young English nurse who goes to Spain to help the victims of the civil war, falls in love and unwittingly sets in motion a chain of consequences that will ring down the decades. Barbara Lamplugh is bold enough to look at lives on an epic scale. Her wide canvas takes in two countries, several families, five generations and nearly 80 years. Yet her story remains intimate in focus and poignantly observant of those vital close-up moments, whether in an English vicarage garden, a chaotic wartime hospital ward, or a festival in a Spanish village. This is a moving tale of motherhood under pressure: of love, loss and reparation for Rose and Consuelo, the two vastly different women at its heart. The suspense mounts as we wonder if they will ever meet. The Red Gene is a fascinating read that affirms the importance not only of the family you have, but also of the family you don’t know you have.” Jane Sullivan

Jane Sullivan is a novelist, literary journalist and columnist for The Melbourne Age in Australia.

“An evocative story of Spain set against the background of civil war and its aftermath. It focuses on individuals in Spain and England who were caught up in it, unknowingly sharing a remarkable story of connections. The big themes of history are brought alive through the stories of a diverse cast of characters.” John Simmons

John Simmons is the author of Leaves, Spanish Crossings and The Good Messenger.