A GRANDAD’S first novel has been so well received he’s been asked for a sequel.

The blood-filled streets of revolutionary France provide the plot for 60-year-old Raymond Best’s the Brotherhood of the Hawks.

Ray never imagined his historical thriller would achieve such success so quickly.

He spent 12 months writing the first in a trilogy – which is selling well on Amazon, with even readers in the US snapping it up.

The father-of-four, who has seven grandchildren and lives in Keer Avenue, Canvey, is obsessed with French history, even spending four years gaining a degree in the subject through the Open University. So when it came to determining the era for his story there was no question.

Ray said: “The lead character, Virgil Cormack, is caught up in a macabre game in Paris in the 1790s.

“I’m thrilled the book is selling well. I’ve had posts from people across the country and in America, saying how much they enjoyed it.”

Ray has retired as an engineer at Basildon Hospital, but still fills in at the hospital when his help is needed.

He has also volunteered as a hospital governor in the past.

Ray’s romantic writings are a world away from a career spent in overalls and boiler rooms.

He said: “I’ve spent most of my life fixing things and I didn’t know if I had it in me to write the book. But I’m so glad I did.”

Publishers Just Fiction have now asked Ray to finish his 75,000- word sequel “A Small Matter of Life and Death” by May 1.

He said: “I’ve got my work cut out, but I’m thrilled to be doing it.

“This one is going to be set just before the Napoleonic wars.”

Readers have so far labelled the Brotherhood of the Hawks as “a very good read” while another posted on Amazon: “Can’t wait for the next book.”