The Makings of a Trilogy

It starts with 'The Thirteen Club'—the story of how Howard Layton's wife, Nárcissza, and her family fled Hungary to escape the advancing Russians. Its prequil, 'Love and Sand,' is a factual memoir of young navigator/bombardier Alec Layton's perilous missions against the Axis forces during his service in the Royal Air Force in the WWII conflict in North Africa. The trilogy is to be completed with 'Death of Cope Street,' which is presently in the research phase.

Click on each book for a synopsis.

  • Love and Sand
  • The Thirteen Club

Love and Sand

‘Love and Sand’ is a love story set against the background of the WWII conflict in North Africa. It tells the true story of young navigator/bombardier Alec Layton's perilous missions against the Axis forces during his service in the Royal Air Force.

With historically true accounts of vital military activities, including the air escorted evacuation of Greece and the offensive against the Italian Abyssinian base at Makale, it is also the first—and only—book written by an actual participant in the vital air support of the battle that changed the course of the war – El Alamein. This much needed victory at the third and final confrontation by the British 8th Army against Rommel’s forces spread new optimism throughout the Allied world.

Against this riveting background of desert warfare, the author tells the story of Alec’s first love, Verna; how he won her and how, through the fecklessness of youth and the uncompromising demands of military service, he lost her. Throughout his long years in the deserts of Africa, Alec longs for Verna and forever relives the day when, under continuing pressure from his military colleagues, he told her the lie that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Desolated by his loss, Alec seeks solace in the arms of exotic beauties of the nearby cities of Alexandria and Cairo, engaging in short-lived romances and torrid affairs yet never able to ease his yearning for his first true love.

By flashing back and forth between the powerful love story that began in Alec’s homeland and the gripping aerial sorties over the deserts of North Africa, the author has cleverly interwoven the two, presenting a very human story with equal appeal to both men and women alike.

Finally, ‘Love and Sand’ presents a never before published account of the white-knuckle Fighter Aircraft Delivery Service across the 3000 miles of the legendary Sahara Desert. In providing his personal perspective on these historic events, the author honors the skill, loyalty and courage of his fellow airmen.

Buy the book now in either paperback or for the Kindle.

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The Thirteen Club

Abandoning their elegant home, their country estate and priceless heirlooms during the last days of World War II, the Ludanyi family fled their homelend. Even as they crossed the western border into the safety of Austria, the whole of Hungary was falling into Russian hands. For nearly four years, Colonel Ludanyi and his family were refugees without a country. Finally, the colonel was offered an opportunity to take care of a string of horses on an estate in Virginia, in America. But by the time they set foot on American soil, the opportunity had mysteriously vanished. Instead, the family of seven found themselves on a small dairy farm where the older children had to pitch in with their parents and work harder than they had ever worked, just to pay for the basics—food and shelter.

The Thirteen Club traces the family's steady progress during their first days in the United States. The story tells of their eventual move to New York in search of better opportunities for their children.

Read an excerpt from the book

Book Signings and Public Speaking

Howard is available for public talks as well as for book signings. Click here for more information…