A Crane in Kyoto?

The 8th century capital of Japan continues our cherry blossom overload. The short lived petals are beginning to fall, in delicate pink-tinged white showers.

We check out the Golden Pavilion, Kinkajuji Temple, a Zen temple and world heritage site. It’s Easter, holiday time and we learn the meaning of mass tourism. Sardines in a school of seemingly millions. The temple, covered in gold leaf is crowned by a golden rooster, dates from the 14th century.


We wrongly identify a large heron reflected in the mirror-like lake. It wasn’t  a crane after all. Eventually the sheer numbers of people get to him, and he flaps ponderously away.


Along with the seething hordes, we walk and gawk at the huge bamboo forest, before visiting the 1603 built Nijo Castle.

This ancient and sprawling cypress building oozes power, the strength of the Tokugawa clan.


Incongruously, we come across a concours d’elegance…half a dozen beautiful Alfa Romeos in a courtyard, with movie cameras filming models promoting the beautiful vehicles.

Sorry sir I didn’t see the red rope that we climbed over to see the cars!



AMAZON – John Bell Books

CONTACT – John Bell Books



PURI PURI – by John Bell – Book 2 | Williams Series

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00073]The Kokoda Track, a dense inhospitable jungle track across the rugged mountains of Papua New Guinea, 1942 … a bloody battle fought by a small band of Australians holding off the Japanese invasion.  

“Ilolo, Uberi, Ioribaiwa, Nauro, Menari, Brigade Hill, Efogi. And Myola, Kagi. Yes, bloody Kagi.”  Angie turned to stare at Johnno, his eyes still closed, face white and sweating, jaw clenched. His mouth closed!  Lips not moving! … “Templeton, Eora Creek, Alola, Isurava,”  the litany slowed, the voice softened.  She heard the agony. “Isu-bloody-rava.”  A long pause, “and – oh Christ – Kokoda …” 

On the 1st of July 1967 two events are set to occur.  The first is a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the sinking of the Japanese p.o.w. ship Montivideo Maru, with the death of 1053 Australian prisoners.  The second is Angelique Condor’s 25th birthday. Both events are to take place in the township of Kavieng, a couple of degrees south of the Equator, on an outer eastern island off the coast of New Guinea.

Angie Condor, adopted orphan from war-ravaged Europe and now an Australian photo-journalist, is sent on assignment to Kavieng to cover the Montivideo Maru ceremony.  Full of the excitement and boundless enthusiasm that only youth can provide she accompanies an old warhorse correspondent, Johnno, into this ancient land.  As they lumber out of the heat of Port Moresby on a tired DC3, Angie is gripped by memories and feelings that are not her own.

Through the swirling mists travels the ancient tribal lore that distils the essence of New Guinea tribal spirituality, the lore of Puri Puri.  How can a blue eyed, blond girl from another land possibly have any connection to Puri Puri, an inherited gene found only amongst the tribal people of New Guinea?  And who is Meri Melera, why is she protecting Angie?   Why does the man Karl Frederiksen appear in her “trances”?

Angie finds herself attracted to the ruggedly handsome Nick Williams, who leads her into a dangerous treasure hunt.  Her old friend Giselle had stumbled across a map indicating a haul of Japanese ingots was left behind after World War 2 somewhere on the New Ireland west coast.  Filled with curiosity and excited by the possible discovery of hidden treasure, the friends venture on Nick’s sailing boat to the black, sulphur filled caves, stumbling across a dangerous Japanese Yakuza gang in the process of stealing the gold.

The pace builds as Mother Nature intervenes, and yet another party arrives looking for gold.

Will the love developing between Angie and Nick be enough to survive the temptation of the sensual Giselle, or the mysterious decades-long blood feud between the Williams and Frederiksen families?  A story told in the first book of the series, PAYBACK.

PURI PURI is an action adventure packed with hints of fact, making the fiction so much more compelling.

PURI PURI – Book 2 in John Bell’s Williams Series – Purchase by following the links below:

AMAZON – John Bell Books

John Bell Books

PAYBACK – by John Bell – Book 1 | Williams Series


“He leaned on an old bamboo cane, its carved handle smoothed by the years.  A sharp eye might pick out the Sepik River motif, but only a wantok could explain.  Eyes wet, the old man looked up to where the crows hunched … the movie suddenly stopped, then began to roll forwards … Ben Williams was once again seven years old.”

Paradise is shattered the night Lu, niece of a respected and proud Chinese merchant family, was brutally raped.  Such an act cannot go unpunished.  Payback is required, is expected.

And so begins the feud …

Ben Williams – The serious eldest child of Harry and Victoria Williams, leader of the pack, as wild as his adopted country.  From an early age Ben proved a quick study, displaying a raw toughness beyond his years.  While still wet behind the ears, he mastered knife, gun and explosives, not for sport but survival.  His strong business sense expanded the family’s interests beyond copra, into gold, crocodiles, timber and shipping.

Jack Williams – Ruggedly handsome, untamed and competitive.  His vivid blue eyes miss nothing over the bow of his schooner, Garamut. As formidable as his brother Ben in the art of weaponry, the glorious Jane Bifold presented his greatest challenge.  Spiriting her away at high tide against the furious protestations of her father, Jack and Jane find themselves caught up in a war that this tiny nation is ill prepared for.

Josh (Joseph) Williams – Highly competitive, his blue eyes would flash in challenge at his older siblings as he strived constantly to be the best.  Josh quickly discovered that quality crocodile skins were a much sought after commodity, and one he could produce well. He wasn’t prepared for Khanitha, the poised and elegant daughter of the merchant Wong Yuk Chong.  Were his skills enough to win the love of this most magnificent creature as well as the respect of her formidable family.

George Williams – The youngest of the William’s clan.   Born after the tragic death of sister Ethel, he grew up to be a solemn and quiet young man often shadowed by the imposing Ben, passionate Jack and impetuous Josh.  It was the freckle faced young Margaret who would be the one to crack the shell and bring him to life.  A life sadly cut short when captured somewhere in New Ireland, then lost at sea with over 1000 others with the sinking of the Japanese p.o.w. ship Montivideo Maru.

Gustav Hart – With a German father and Tabar Island mother he found himself despised by the Germans and disowned by the Islanders … he grew bitter as he aged.  This bitterness flowed on to his five sons to three mixed-race women.

Karl Frederiksen – A product of Gustav’s brutal parenting, his upbringing created a thug. Blond, cunning and clever.  He is forced to flee Lavongai in the darkest hour of the night following the discovery of his involvement in the rape of the Chinese girl.  Payback is heading his way.  He does not want this exile – for those who forced it upon him their time for payback would come.

Praise for John Bell

“Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.  A real page turner. Congratulations.” KL, NSW

“Payback is a great read, I couldn’t put it down.  A heartbreaking story especially knowing it is based on a true story.” LB, TVL

I have just finished my reading of Payback last night. This was a book equal of any that I have read … it was a novel that was hard to put down, and for some the epic would be seen as being profound in the history of Australia.” GB, QLD

“Outlandish, but has a ring of truth.  Payback is a true story disguised as a novel.  Based very closely on Bell’s family history, it is set in New Guinea … The temptation for the reader in this book is to try and work out what is true and what is fiction, but this is a fruitless exercise … Bell has produced a great read – tragic, funny, engaging and throwing a new light on our nearest neighbour, PNG.  In a word: ENGROSSING.”  Excerpt of review, Townsville Bulletin’s Weekend Extra

Purchase by following the links below:

AMAZON – John Bell Books

John Bell Books

The Williams Series … by John Bell

JOHN BELL BOOKS is proud to announce that PAYBACK, PURI PURI & MELTED WAX, from John Bell’s Williams Family series have been released on Amazon.

FB cover copy

In 2008, author John Bell released his thrilling first novel Payback, a generational saga of two fictional families and their decades-long blood feud.  A sequel to Payback has been much anticipated by many readers held enthralled by the untamed lives of the four Williams brothers who were as wild as their adopted country, and who imbued with the ancient tribal custom of payback.

In the sequel, Puri Puri, we meet the next generation.  Again written in the author’s fast paced, action-adventure style, we discover more truths … or, is it all simply tribal lore … the story leaves you needing to know more.

Melted Wax … third book in the series, brings the story, and the Williams family to the Australian shores.  Set in the late 1960’s we ride the wave of ambition, greed, lust, success and the great fall.  A genuinely compelling read.

As with Payback, Puri Puri and Melted Wax are based on true stories.


SEE ALSO johnbellbooks.com.au 

They’ve Arrived!!

The PAYBACK, PURI PURI and MELTED WAX print books have now started to arrive!


I’m underway signing and fulfilling the initial round of orders.   Simultaneously humbled and thrilled at my underestimation of demand for signed copies.  Further supplies of books are on the way to cover orders now coming through.

If you’d like to confirm your order, or place an order for one , two or all three books in print version, email me at:  info@johnbellbooks.com  or go to:  johnbellbooks.com

For signed book prices go to: johnbellbooks.com

To order e-books and print versions via Amazon, click here:  John Bell Books – Amazon

As an avid lover of printed books – the smell, the feel, the look – I find it almost disloyal to say that the advantages of e-book over hard copy are overwhelming, becoming more so.

I probably read more e-books than print nowadays.  Might have something to do with old(er) eyes and the ability to enlarge the font, read in poor or no light by varying screen brightness, etc.  And being able to carry in electronic form so many books when travelling.

Due to the exorbitant postage costs, especially within Australia, buying the books as e-books via Amazon – John Bell Books – Amazon – makes enormous sense.  Instant gratification/delivery, and of course much cheaper!  Amazon delivers books via Kindle, this app is available and free to download on Apple and Android devices.

I look forward to hearing from you with comments and reading your reviews … and I trust that you’ll enjoy reading these tales, some taller (quite a bit) than others, as much as I’ve enjoyed scratching them out.

Contact me with any queries at:    info@johnbellbooks.com

John Bell

“The Fast Lane” – MELTED WAX written by JOHN BELL

Z - bow on against wharfThe development of friendship with Hank, American operations director Australia – development aided by a monthly brown paper bag (Nick begins to learn) – leads to a second, larger ship and another lucrative charter.

Another Dutch flag, another foreign crew.  Huge increase in work load.

Lady Luck showers him with smiles, seducing Nick into thinking himself infallible.

Z - lookin galong bridge at seaWith two ships and accelerating cash flow, Nick’s contacts widen.

Soon he’s organising charters for other ships, moving cargoes from the Great Lakes to New Guinea, beef from Australia to Khorramshar, scheelite from Bass Strait and on and on.  He quickly learns the shipping business, but not the management. Hank widens Nick’s horizons, involving him in a huge property deal.

He certainly doesn’t listen.

Nick’s new found wealth and lavish lifestyle draw interest from the media. Including ex-love Angie’s boss, who sends herZ pic take from wharf again to interview him. Nick tries to rekindle the Angie thing, but she’s not having any, listening only to her head instead of her uncooperative heart. Interest too from vested interests, sharks in deep water.

About here Lady Luck should’ve backed off.  Brought him down to earth.  But she doesn’t.

The tempo of his life, and his partying, screams to a crescendo.

A Lockheed Hercules joins the ships.  A partnership in a new-build gas tanker.

On and oKemphaan - aka Nordhaan - off Bouganville, PNGn.  Nick is caught up in a heady world of private jets, fast cars and faster women. A 7-ship fleet takeover and a public float of the company puts him at the top of the corporate tree.

But something is missing in his life.

Because he still has not learned.



It’s happened!   PAYBACK, PURI PURI and MELTED WAX are now available on Amazon!

Please follow this link, https://www.amazon.com/author/johnbellbooks, to find all three ready to download as eBooks or purchase as paperbacks.  I’ll have books available in August if you’re looking for a signed copy.

Hope you get as much enjoyment out of reading these tales as I’ve had in realising them!