John has a deep, life-long interest in Russia and the Soviet Union. For nearly thirty years he has travelled widely in both Eastern Europe and Russia, including a visit to an abandoned Siberian Gulag concentration camp.
Described by a British Ambassador to Moscow as ‘an enthusiastic Russophile’, his extensive and intimate knowledge of the country’s history and its people and his conversations with those persecuted or imprisoned by the KGB make A Tear in the Curtain resound with truth.
John worked with the distinguished documentary producer Jonathan Stedall to create a video interview. The extract here explains his devotion to Russian history, which goes back to his earliest years, and his concern for the country and its people.
His first two books, Stranger on the Shore and This Life of Grace, are inspired by his experience of living with Huntington’s Disease from which his Father died after suffering from it for twenty five years. The video extract here describes how he came to know he should write these books and why.
He explains more about this topic in his video blog post Huntington’s Disease Awareness Week.
In 2019 John is bringing out a new book which combines the stories of his parents, Love is His Meaning: Two lives, one marriage. Read more about it here.
John’s fourth book, The Devil’s Dance, an adventure story, deals with eternal themes of friendship and enmity, faithfulness and betrayal, cruelty and kindness, bullying and self-sacrifice, and living in a one-parent family. It appeals to adults and teenagers alike.
John grew up in a loving, unassuming family in Devon, who gave him a wonderful education there and at Oxford. He is a historian and works as an executive and life coach with people usually in top, isolated jobs, in all manner of businesses and predicaments.
Click on the cover images below to see John’s book pages, find out more about each of them, and purchase them direct from the publisher.
John has received a number of endorsements and reviews. Below are a selection of these.
“This is the history of Russia, but in a form that you will not have read it before. It is at the same time objective and intensely personal. It tells us more in a few pages than many more formal accounts manage in a whole volume … A short review cannot reveal the riches of this novel: easy reading, full of insight, inspiring, and leaving one with the conviction that Russia’s renewed betrayal of its moral values can be only a passing phase.” (A Tear in the Curtain)
Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston Institute, Oxford, Church Times
“It is full of keen insights, and I am enjoying it enormously.” (A Tear in the Curtain)
The Very Revd Archpriest Andrew Louth
“The writer is a consummate artist in style, with a poet’s eye for detail. The story is exceptionally vivid – expressing deep faith and perception of the meaning of life, moving to tears, and searching.” (Stranger on the Shore) C.F.D. Moule, Professor Emeritus, Theology, Cambridge
“The quiet courage of a family in dire adversity could not be better demonstrated. John Symons describes the tragedies that struck at the heart of a poor but devoted Cornish family. Humanity and the valour of the human spirit shine from every page.” (This Life of Grace) This England
‘I am from a family living with, and dying from, Huntington’s disease. I know all about the suffering, fear, anguish and desolation HD can cause. … I did think that it might be too painful to read. Yet what I found was a book which, while bringing back painful memories, was a moving tale of dignity, courage and, ultimately, hope .. This is not just a book for HD families to read – it is a book for everyone, of every age and of every background.’ (Stranger on the Shore)
From a reader review
“I loved the menace of the book and its tranquil resolution. I think it is a really great book.” (The Devil’s Dance)
William Wood, www.williamwoodswords.co.uk