Book Review – The Batmaker of Copenhagen, by Tim Brooks

Book Review – The Batmaker of Copenhagen, by Tim Brooks

To any cricket lover their bat is an extension of them. It’s precious, loved and cared for. When you have to move on from a bat its often a sad day, but one tinged with excitement as you know you get to go and pick out a new one, before starting the process all over again. Imagine though if that wasn’t an option. Imagine there were no more cricket bats. What would you do?

Well Tim Brooks’ latest novel tells the story of what Frederick Ferslev of Copenhagen did when confronted with that very same question in 1943, in the midst of the Nazi occupation. Brooks mixes historical fact with fiction like a batter mixes singles with boundaries in a well crafted innings to create an equally well crafted novel. Tracing the steps Jensen took to source the correct wood, nothing but willow would do of course, to finding the cane for handles and even down to the bees wax and twine for the grips.

Whilst doing this Ferslev becomes as entwined in the Danish resistance effort as one of the handles on his homemade bats, as the resistance use his notoriety with the head of the Gestapo in Denmark, Albrecht Von Wittenbeck to help their cause, all whilst Jensen goes about his true mission, to keep cricket being played in Denmark during the Nazi occupation. As to whether he succeeds I will not spoil the ending for you. As to whether Brooks succeeds is another matter.

If the hero had been searching for the materials to make tennis racquets, shuttle cocks or even bowling balls, the story would have been equally gripping and beautiful. The fact it was cricket bats just enhanced the story for me, being able to picture what I would have done to try and keep cricket played. Putting myself in Ferslev’s shoes, I would like to think I would have been just as brave as Frederick was.

When you consider Brook’s previous books, “Cricket on the Continent” and “A corner of every foreign field” the quality of writing is no surprise, nor is the attention to detail in the historical note at the end of book. It lays out the progression and growth of cricket in Denmark from the first club being founded in 1865, to the modern day and household names like Amjad Khan and Freddie Klokker representing the Danes on the international stage.

If you are looking for a fun cricket themed story, to pass the time during travelling to or from a ground this season, or a book to pass the time during an inevitable rain delay, then I cannot recommend this novel enough. Pick up a copy and immerse yourself in the story of Danish cricket and the dual heroism of Fredrick Ferslev and everything he did to keep it alive.

The Batmaker of Copenhagen is available from all good book retailers, is published by Pitch Publishing and written by Tim Brooks.


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