Friday, June 14, 2024

The Batmaker of Copenhagen – A story all cricket fans should read – Emerging Cricket

Must read

Jake Perry reviews The Batmaker of Copenhagen by Tim Brooks, author of Cricket on the Continent, and A Corner of Every Foreign Field.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll begin with a confession. I’m not an avid reader of fiction.

Not that I don’t appreciate what goes into it: the imagination, craftsmanship and ingenuity involved in creating an original tale, in all its twists and turns, is truly quite extraordinary. It’s just that for me, at least, the pull of reality is always strongest: truth, as they say, is often stranger. Which is why I was particularly drawn to the concept behind this, the third book by Tim Brooks: based on a true story, this is a thoroughly engrossing read.

The Batmaker of Copenhagen takes us on a journey into a shadowy, dangerous world. Set during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War Two, we meet Frederick, scorer of the Akademisk Boldklub cricket team in Copenhagen: an institution, like the rest of the country, desperately trying to cling to the normality of routine when all around is being turned upside-down. The season is over, but the next is in doubt: without the new bats the players need to replace their ancient stock, the city’s oldest team will cease to exist.

Frederick’s quest to find the willow he needs to build them begins in parallel to that of Albrecht von Wittenbeck, the local head of the Gestapo, whose eyes were also trained on routine, looking for any break in the regular rhythms of the city that might indicate the work of the Resistance or a spy. The fallout from a failed assassination attempt then sees their paths collide, as Frederick’s innocent travels around the country are misinterpreted by a man now out for revenge.

It is a compelling story beautifully told, full of the detail and character that only comes with personal knowledge of the area and its people, represented in the host of well-drawn characters we also meet along the way. But this is a book about more than that, as well: Frederick’s story is an allegory of the commitment still at the heart of Associate cricket today.Everything is on the line for the game he loves: his passion for the sport transcends the obstacles in his way.

Tim’s deep love of the game, and the Associate world in particular, shines from its pages: the concluding summary of the development of Danish cricket is a similarly fascinating tale. I’m no great reader of fiction, as I said, but this is a book to which I’ll certainly return. The
Batmaker of Copenhagen’s story is one for cricket fans the world over, and one I highly recommend.

The Batmaker of Copenhagen is published by Pitch Publishing.

You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.

Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Don’t know where to start? Check out our features list, country profiles, and subscribe to our podcast. Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.

Latest article