Former Lurgan Mail deputy editor has just finished his eighth book and it promises to be an exciting read

Waringstown author David Stokes has published his eighth novel - The Pope and The Pigeon, an international thriller set mostly in Venice and Vatican City.

Saturday, 4th April 2015, 7:58 pm
David Stokes
David Stokes

David, who is a former Deputy Editor at the Lurgan Mail started his writing career in the early 1980s while working in our local paper.

A talented news man, he continued to write when he moved to become deputy news editor at Downtown/Cool FM.

“I don’t think my early books were that brilliant, even though they found a publisher... like everything else, novel writing is a learning curve - and I’m really pleased with my latest work. Everything improves with age! Well, nearly everything - let’s hope readers think so, too.”

Living in Waringstown, David is currently Group News Editor at Hillsborough-based magazine publishers 4SM (NI).

“All my books are published under the name ‘David W Stokes’,” he revealed.

In his latest book, the Italian city of Venice is on lockdown ahead of the first official visit by Pope Fabian, but little did he or his security advisors know that dark forces were planning an agenda that would result in mayhem and murder on a scale they had never before encountered.

Nor did Fabian know that a humble pigeon might be his saviour.

The Pope and the Pigeon by David Stokes

When it becomes clear a shadowy cell of Irish dissidents is involved, British MI6 agent Nick Savvas is sent in to help the Italian security services track them down.

The investigation sets in motion a chain of events that ultimately leads to a violent and bloody conclusion that rocks the Vatican to its very core and shocks even the most battle-hardened.

From the cosmopolitan city of Dublin to the historic setting of Venice and Vatican City, this is a gripping, action-packed story that will grab you from the very first page and drag you towards an unexpected climactic ending.

It leaves the way open for another follow-up.

“A lot of research went into this latest book – much of it about pigeons! History tells us about another Pope Fabian, from the third century – he was elected after a pigeon (some say it was a dove, but they are very much the same family) landed on his shoulder!

“That inspired me – that, together with the fact that quite a few pigeons – used to convey messages - have been awarded the equivalent of the Victoria Cross - called the ‘Dickin Medal’ - which has been awarded 63 times since its inception in 1943. Created by PDSA founder Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war, it is a bronze medallion, bearing the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue.

“It is awarded to animals that have displayed “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units.”

“The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949, to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses and a cat, to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War.

“The first recipients of the award, in December 1943, were three pigeons, serving with the Royal Air Force, all of whom contributed to the recovery of air crew from ditched aircraft during the Second World War.

“During 1939-45 over 200,000 young pigeons were given to the services by the British pigeon breeders of the NPS.

“The birds were used by the RAF and the Army and Intelligence Services, Special Section of the Army Pigeon Service (which was formed in World War I by Lt. Col. A.H.Osman). During three and a half years of World War II, 16,554 ‘war pigeons’ were parachuted onto the continent.”

“I suppose I am trying to do for pigeons what Warhorse – the book and movie – did for horses. Two of my earlier novels, The Icelander and The Hunt for Black Friday are currently being translated into Chinese.”

David’s wife Jackie designs all his book covers, and produces promotional videos for David J Publishing.

The Pope and the Pigeon, published by David J Publishing, is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle formats on Amazon worldwide.

Amazon - Or go to David J Publishing website: