Richard Miller is second-in-command to Lieutenant Johnson in the submarine D2. Although Johnson thinks Richard is very competent, he seems ill at ease with the men, and Johnson is not sure if Richard has what it takes to command a submarine. Then an accident occurs and the captain is killed. The submarine is left on the sea bed with limited air supplies, and it is a race against time to save the men onboard.
March, 1912. In London, Richard’s cousin Elizabeth Miller is becoming more and more involved in the Women’s Social and Political Union, (WSPU) standing alongside Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel to gain the vote for women. When Elizabeth is arrested, Richard goes to her aid, and the two cousins realise they love each other. As they become engaged, Elizabeth’s friend Alice falls for Richard’s brother Peter, a diplomat sent on an intriguing assignment to Persia. War is brewing, and no one knows what the future brings. When her father dies and her brother goes off to fight, Elizabeth is left to run Miller’s Shipyard, building submarines and ships for the Navy, while Richard takes command of a submarine and heads to war. The fight for women’s equality takes a backseat to the war effort, but Elizabeth knows where women can do the most good – in her shipyard.
Set during the dying days of the Edwardian era, and during the violence and heartache of World War I, The Custom of the Trade is filled with rich, historical details of the hazards of life in in the early submarines and the prejudices faced by women in seeking to gain the vote.
About the author…
Shaun Lewis was born in Rutland and educated in Shropshire and Scotland before joining the Royal Navy. In a career lasting twenty years he served in surface ships and submarines, as well as in appointments in intelligence and as a Chinese interpreter. He now lives in Lancashire with his wife, Hilary.