THE brutal battle between Nationalist and Communist and Anarchist forces for the control of a country is the backdrop for a historical fiction novel by an East Lancashire writer.

Structural engineer Alistair Chapman has taken a diversion from his day job to write a novel based around the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 after he became interested in the country's history.

The first book from Mr Chapman, of Weir, Rossendale, Anarquista, was published on Amazon last month, and follows the lives of four young men, who are unable to attend the notorious 1936 Olympics in Berlin because of their trade union affiliation.

After getting a place in the alternative people's Olympiad in Spain, a protest against the official Olympics, it leads to a rebellion in which the boys get caught up.

The 57-year-old said: "The reason I decided to write a book was I had been on holiday and was reading a book about Ancient Greeks that I thought was not very good and it didn’t grip me.

"I thought I could do better so I gave it a go.

"I knew a bit about the civil war, but researching it was difficult. I visited Spain several times and walked where the battles were fought but when I went to the museums they didn’t seem to be able to help me much.

"I found that there were more books explaining the history of the Spanish Civil War written by British authors and more information in the UK than there was in Spain."

The Spanish Civil War saw Republicans in an alliance of convenience with the Anarchists and Communists, fight against the Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco.

The war has often been portrayed as a struggle between democracy and fascism, particularly due to the political climate and timing surrounding it.

In early 1939, the Nationalists achieved victory, and ruled over all of Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.

The struggle became a cause celebre for many political activists and British author George Orwell volunteered to fight against the Fascists, as documented in his book Homage To Catalonia.

The new author writes under his pseudonym Deane Harwood – a nod to Bolton where he is originally from.

Mr Chapman is currently working on the second instalment in a series of five books he plans on the civil war.

Anarquista is available through Amazon in print or Kindle format.