by Ian Ayris
Abide With Me
1975. Eight year old John Sissons watches his beloved West Ham win the FA cup just as his friend Kenny tumbles out the front door of the house opposite, blood all over his face.
Fourteen years later we find both boys – their childhoods ripped apart by the unforgiving streets of London’s East End – in a showdown with local gangster Ronnie Swordfish. The stakes couldn’t be higher and the decisions they make might just cast a shadow over their lives forever.
Abide with me is the story of two boys forced to walk blind into the darkness of their shattered lives and their struggle to emerge as men. It’s also a story of loyalty, of community, and of powerful friendships shaped by adversity and celebrated on the football terraces of England.
With power, sensitivity and wit, Ian Ayris has crafted one of the most authentic snapshots of working class life you will ever read.
1991. John Sissons, is a young man struggling to emerge from a violent past that threatens to re-visit him and those he cares about.
Every fibre in his body is telling him to run. But John’s had a lifetime of running. Running is no longer an option.
His past is exploding in front of his eyes, and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out alive but he won’t be going down without a fight. Not this time.
The last few years have been tough ones for John Sissons and in this 3rd book of the series he’s struggling under the emotional weight.
Even as he does his best to keep his head above water and deal with the every day pressures of life, he’s forced to revisit the events of his past and the emotional repercussions which never seem too far from the surface.
With his parents gone, his relationship in difficulties and his job hanging by a thread John must rely on the love and support of those closest to him to steer himself back from a dangerous place.
The author’s dedication at the start of the book set’s the tone in this the most emotionally honest book of this extraordinary series so far.
“For anyone who ever felt lost,
who ever felt the day too dark,
the night too long.
Please know you are never alone.
And you are, in truth, worth the entire world. “
Praise for Ian Ayris
“If you remember the Queen’s Silver Jubilee parties, Choppers, staying out all day, jumpers for goalposts or have ever had a special football away day then this novel is for you.”
“Ayris brings a depth and level of emotion to his writing that most authors strive their entire career to achieve, and which many never do. The ending of this book is so powerful, poignant and heart breaking it actually brought tears to my eyes. If there is even a shred of justice in the world Abide With Me will garner the kind of widespread attention it so richly deserves.”
“’I absolutely loved Abide With Me and in places was very moved, to both laughter, and tears…”
“This is a triumph…”
“It’s literary, it’s crime. Expect to be moved and taken to a whole different world that is as real as your own”
“An absolute straight-in-the-back-of-the-net knockout of a story”
“Within the first five chapters I had laughed out loud and come close to tears as the revelations tore at my heartstrings…”
“The ending Ayris builds for John and Kenny is one so powerful, poignant, and heartbreaking it actually made me stop reading it for a moment. I just had to stop. I couldn’t go on.”
“April Skies is marvelous. Full of realistic, well-drawn characters, great dialogue, sharp twists and turns, and with a strong sense of place and time. Nerve-wracking and heartbreaking, tense and touching – April Skies is a Brit Grit classic.”