The Sardana Series of Books by Ray Harwood

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Who can really tell what influence there is on an unborn child by the activity of the mother prior to releasing her offspring into the hard, tough world? But there is, undoubtedly, a relationship - usually built for life.



The Sardana Series Trailer

Who can really tell what influence there is on an unborn child by the activity of the mother prior to releasing her offspring into the hard, tough world? But there is, undoubtedly, a relationship - usually built for life.

In Rosas, on the north-eastern coast of Spain, Pedro "Peter" Martinez's lifestyle certainly replicated the passion, creativity, bonding and fun generated by his greatest fan and most severe critic, his mother Maria. Through her hereditary love of joining the swirling circles of the Sardana with her fellow Catalans at the Saints' Day celebrations in her Spanish village, Peter's roots were permanently implanted.

The reality of the life Peter was born into was taught to him not only by his mother and father, but also by all those around him as he passed through adolescence. The discovery of his manhood and natural compassion for his fellow inhabitants of the planet, and the freeing and nurturing of his super-creative talents, were part of a pedigree for success.

Peter's architectural ability removed him from his Spanish homeland and its gypsy influences, spiriting him off to career success and wealth in London and Malaysia; yet he was always magnetised back to the biggest love in his life, Maria, his doting mother... and the early promise of a young gypsy girl, and all the love and hatred she embraced.

And thereby hangs this tale.




All six book cover designs make a stunning statement...

About the Author

Ray Harwood, Author

He said he couldn't bring himself to say it, which is out of character. But I suppose one is bound to be coy when you are unsure as to whether a storyline you have thoroughly enjoyed putting down on paper may appeal equally to others too. Certainly his first enforced attempt at recording a sort of biographic history about him and some friends in early life, Blokes, Jokes and Forty Stags, turned out to be quite an epic effort. Principally, it was written for a limited readership of the twenty blokes who were the subject of the book, which was hailed a success by them.

Their message seems to have been that he should go further and so he got round to his first novel Last Sardana, it's sequel Sardana Encore, and it becomes a completed trilogy with its addition of Sardana Renaissance.

Personally, I have been gratified by being alongside my husband's very successful business career founded upon his expertise as a Chartered Surveyor. I've loved being able to read books by established authors, taken from the shelves of WHSmith, Waterstones, and the like, and now on my Kindle, in the exotic places dotted around the world where the excuse has been that he writes better on holiday, and in the sun. That's in fact where Last Sardana began. On the Costa Brava, in the 1970s, with him turning to me and saying "What do you think that chap does?" indicating a fellow hotel guest the other side of the pool. It was a few years later we were there to find a sunflower crop to photograph, on which the book covers were to be founded.

His thoughts and inventiveness have, as always, escalated to the now six Sardana novels, and it's not untypical that, because his writing is a hobby, if the books sell, it is intended to commit part of the income to the charities in which we have interest.

Hope you enjoy.

Dean Harwood

How to Buy

If you were kind enough to wish to purchase a book or two, the fastest route is to access the link below with Matador, our publishers.

Buy 'Last Sardana'   Buy 'Sardana Encore'   Buy 'Sardana Renaissance''




Matador has been offering authors a high quality self-publishing service since 1999.  Part of Troubador Publishing Ltd, Matador offers a wide range of services aimed at publishing, marketing and distributing books and ebooks to a high standard – be that via Print On Demand (POD) or through traditional bookshop distribution.

Matador has deliberately established itself at the quality end of the self-publishing market… quality of content, design, production and distribution.We work in partnership with our authors, most of whom publish with us as they are serious about their self-publishing, wanting a high quality book or a real chance at getting their work distributed and read.  As a result, we are the UK’s most self-publishing service.

“Matador is a highly reputable partnership publisher offering an author the best chance of self-publishing success in the UK.”

Mick Rooney, Editor The Independent Publishing Magazine

In the last few years, self-publishing has become a recognized method of publishing a book by authors and retailers alike – but in a tough market, only good books and ebooks stand any chance of achieving significant sales.  At Matador we have concentrated on producing books that are comparable in quality to any from a mainstream publisher; but more importantly, on establishing a marketing service and distribution network that is second to none.

Matador is part of Troubador Publishing Ltd, so all of our self-publishing authors have the knowledge that their book is in the hands of an experienced, professional publishing house with in-depth industry knowledge and contacts.

"A new breed of self-publishing companies offer authors a kind of halfway house between conventional self-publishing and the commercial kind.  Of these, the company that has gone the furthest is Matador."

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Guide to Getting Published, A&C Black

About Blesma


Blesma, The Limbless Veterans helps all serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support.  Their programmes allow Members and their families to face the challenges ahead with renewed confidence and self-belief.

They work tirelessly for their Members when the conflicts that have affected their lives are no longer a focal point in the nation’s media. Since 1932, they have been the only national Service charity that supports limbless veterans for the duration of their lives.  Members range from the youngest amputee veterans to those who fought in WWII.

Design & Artwork

Working with Jacqueline Abromeit has been an absolute pleasure.  Her downside of working with me has been that over the previous years of commencing, what has now turned out to be the Sardana Series, as a bit of fun I had imaged how I thought the covers could look.  That was based on the sunflower (girasol) and Sardana themes and original photographs I had taken in the region in which the basic story is set by way of economy.  What could be worse than an author saying “that’s what I would like it to be”.

The upside has been that Jacqueline has overlaid her immense design qualities to achieve the now finished three first covers.  Somehow or other our two imaginations have come together.

Having seen her results, it was an absolute natural to involve her in the trailer.  Again, that has been quite a challenge because I had worked through a sort of draft short storyline and she now has turned that into the end result (which quietly makes both of us want to go on and do the complete epic film … that’s how good both our imaginations are, perhaps?).

By clicking the attached link you will see Jacqueline’s immense flexibility to interpret the works of Others.

Reviews appearing on Amazon and in Publications

Last Sardana


LOVEREADING...Review by Liz Robinson in November 2015

Poignant, touching and expressive, ‘Last Sardana’ is a family drama set in Spain when modern tourism was in its infancy. This is book one in a series and the story highlights Maria and Pedro, mother and son who suffer a tragedy when Pedro is 12 years old. As both attempt to adjust to life, they move from their fishing village home and discover a new world opening out to them. Ray Harwood writes with articulate clarity, a simple family tale is told, and it feels as though it could be real. Small things matter, descriptions of everyday life sit alongside life changing moments, creating a gentle yet dynamic tale. At times sorrowful and moving, at others amusing and light hearted, this is a convincing and engaging read.


AMAZON  5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for those who remember the world before it went bonkers.

*****Review by Trevki on 28 October 2015 

As usual I was ill prepared with my holiday reading material...My wife, however, was well stocked up, so I raided her stash. I found amongst the magazines and books a cover of Sunflowers that took my fancy and this was my introduction to Pedro Martinez. I was delighted to have found an excellent and easy read to suit my sunny surroundings and rather lazy holiday, but the more I read the more I knew I would have to follow this series of books to the end. I am now somewhat hooked and shall be settling down at home to enjoy the very last word of the very last page that is yet to come. The story of Pedro and the invasion of the tourists to the Costa Brava is a ripping yarn that I would readily recommend. I remember my first holiday abroad which by coincidence was in Callella Spain, a location prominent in the book. From Pedro's early tragedy as a child through to his dreams of university kept me intrigued and the mix of characters and adventures makes a great read. Not forgetting of course Maria, you will have to read it yourself to find out more!

****Review by C Warner on 27 September 2015 

This book is set in 1950s Spain and explores, amongst other things, family love and loyalty. It is rich with interesting characters and believable and intriguing situations. A good read


*****Review by Annette Spicer on 29 August 2015 

A good read and story line. I will be reading more of this series


****Review by Theresa Dawes on 5 August 2015

The Last Sardana is a book bursting with personalities. The characters have been written in such a way that by the time you reach the last page, you feel you have actually met them and spent time sitting beside them by the Martinez Hotel swimming pool. Ray Harwood's description of the Sunflower field enables the reader to visualise the beauty and elegance created by such a scene through his choice of words. This is a warm, interesting and emotional introduction to the Martinez family and the circle of outside relationships that bind them together. This book will take you to a sunny place even on the coldest of winter days!


*****Review by Sue Moynehan on 21 July 2015

This story introduces us to the Martinez family, and takes us on their journey of lifes challenges. Each charatcter has their own unique individuality. You dont just read this book, you "watch" it as well. A must book to pop into your suitcase, but beware you may forget to go sightseeing. The next book in this series is Sardana Encore, which I have already downloaded.


****Review by Barbara Warner on 17 July 2015

As a staff member of Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, the charity that is a beneficiary from the sale of Ray Harwood's books, I was very curious to start my journey with the Martinez family. I have been very fortunate to meet the author and his 'must read' book very much reflects his personality which is fun, entertaining and very likable. I look forward to continuing my journey with the next book in the series, Sardana Encore


****Review by Veronica Jean Satchell on 15 July 2015

What starts off as a story about a Spanish family suddenly gets you hooked on the drama, romance, sadness and happiness of events in their everyday life. You feel you know the family personally, along with the people they meet, keeping you wanting to read what happens next in each of their lives. Erotic moments are tasteful. The story is exciting and fun and is more addictive than any TV soap!


****Review by Miriam Pereira on 14 July 2015

An emotive rites of passage novel set along the gorgeous Catalan coastline, Last Sardana is the first in the sweeping Sardana trilogy. It follows young Pedro ‘Peter’ Martinez on his journey from childhood to manhood, encapsulating all the high drama and low points of family life, as well as love, lust and hubris, tragedy and borderline farce. Ray Harwood escorts his reader across a mountain range of emotions as he recreates the Mediterranean of the 1950s, with all its Spanish warmth and passion. Humour seasons the story and there are several amusing moments, but this is essentially a serious family saga, rich in tenderness and strong sexual undercurrents. For would-be readers wondering about the Sardana of the title it’s a swaying Catalan group dance – an apt metaphor for the novel’s themes of family unity and the shifting emotions that relationships evoke, as well as the maritime settings, with their tidal ebb and flow


BOOKS Paul Norman on 20 July 2015

Ray Harwood’s strengths lie in characterisation and visualisation of the scenes in which his characters are going to blossom and come forth, enabling him to tell his story. The setting is idyllic, the circumstances of Pedro’s father’s death at sea suitably tragic to instil an immediate rapport with the survivors of his family. In the first volume of what I believe to be a six-part series, Harwood lays the foundations for Pedro (Peter’s) early life and experiences, and the hotel setting, where he comes into contact with the various characters who are going to shape his life, his future, is nothing short of inspired. Harwood’s words are carefully chosen, but they are easy on the eye, warming, comforting, and above all interesting. It’s easy to visualise, along with the author, the scenery, easy to digest the brilliantly effective dialogue. It’s much, much more than a holiday read.



Interesting read, so much so I went on to read Sardana Encore straight away. Royalties from these books go to Blesma . Enjoy.


Sardana Encore


BOOKS Paul Norman on March 2016

Peter’s architectural ability removed him from his Spanish homeland, spiriting him off to London and a brief sojourn in Malaysia; yet he was always magnetised back to the biggest love in his life... his mother.Sardana Encore welcomes the reader back like an old friend. The now thriving Martinez hotel reaches the end of its first season and Pedro – influenced by the family priest to see himself as ‘Peter’, the international traveller – prepares to begin studies in London and life with flatmates, who in time join the family circle. However, milestone events on his journey leave an indelible mark on his life. A balance is struck to no lesser extent than the fairytale romantic interlude in Malaysia, where Peter’s emotional taste buds are discovered. In the UK, as he embarks on a successful career, his Catalan ties still bind and seeds there take root... and the bitter fruits of an ancient enmity are laid ready to be reaped. Peter's coming of age continues in the second volume of Ray Harwood's Sardana trilogy - the characters are coming into their own as people in their own right, and you start to want him to break the ties he has with his mother and his childhood upbringing in Spain... A hugelyenjoyable second slice of Peter's life...


NETGALLEY...Review by Felicity Gibson

I loved this book from beginning to end. It followed the first in the series Sardana. The book has a remarkably strong voice and the plot is fast paced leading to a satisfying conclusion. The story is captivating - it was instant connection with this book. I award it 4 stars.



****Review by Theresa Dawes 6 January 2016

Ray Harwood has once again delivered an excellent read with Sardana Encore. Following Peter into middle age was captivating and emotional. You are automatically drawn into Peters’ life experiences that leave you contemplating how easy it is to take one road, when your heart says to take another…. Very thought provoking!


****Review by Sue Moynehan 16 December 2015

This is the second book in this series and it is equally as good as the first. The story keeps you wondering as to what's in store for Peter. I am hoping to find the third book in this series under my Christmas tree


*****Review by Trevki 29 October 2015

The story of Peter is compelling and great fun. Some awkward moments in his life can be related to by most people and the realism of the locations and characters definitely strikes a chord. The first book leads you seamlessly into Peters adventures as a man in the last sardana and holds your interets throughout. I did enjoy this easy read very much. Start with the last Sardana and get away from the world for a while.


****Review by Miriam Pereira on 1 October 2015

Sardana Encore welcomes back readers of Peter Martinez’s earlier exploits like old friends, returning them, without preamble, to Last Sardana’s colourful characters and dramas. As Peter, now 19, prepares to embark on a successful new life in Britain, he finds that his old Catalan ties still bind, and seeds planted in the early days begin to take root. Then, during a conference trip to Malaysia, new seeds are sown, while many years later, back in Spain, the bitter fruits of an old enmity are ready to be reaped… At the heart of this lively, entertaining and sometimes unsettling plot stands Peter himself, now grown from boy to man and ready to face what life throws at him with all his strengths and frailties. I enjoyed travelling along with this complex protagonist on his journey, and found him all the more engaging because, likeable though he is, he is not perfect


*****Review by Veronica Jean Satchell on 30 September 2015

Having read the first book, Last Sardana, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I couldn’t wait to read the second book Sardana Encore and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve never read a book that played with my emotions as much as this series and following the ups and downs of the Spanish family was truly captivating. This is so much more than just reading a story – this is like living the story – you feel you’re there with the Martinez family and that’s what makes these books special. Roll on the remainder!


****Review by H M Atkinson on 28 August 2015

A continuation of the family story, characters well developed, a good holiday read. I am waiting to see what happens in the third book.


TROUBADOR ONLINE BOOK STORE....Review by Felicity Gibson

I loved this book from beginning to end. It followed the first in the series Sardana. The book has a remarkably strong voice and the plot is fast paced leading to a satisfying conclusion. The story is captivating - it was instant connection with this book. I award it 4 stars.



Sardana Renaissance


BOOKS Paul Norman on March 2016

In the third book of the Sardana trilogy, the brilliant but ill-fated Peter Martinez rises from the ashes of a disaster that almost destroys him, facing his physical and mental demons with the help of a vibrant young physic haunted by her own tragic past. As old relationships shift and new links are formed in his Sardana chain, Peter's vision of life grows deeper and richer. But is he destined to find lasting love, and can he help a young boy achieve his dreams of Paralympic glory in Barcelona? I was supposed to review this title in December but due to an error at the post office, my copy didn't arrive. Ray Harwood's trilogy is something of a modern masterpiece, and the resolution, the phoenix-like emergence of Peter following his almost complete downfall is handled sensitively and realistically. I genuinely urge you to seek out this trilogy and immerse yourselves in it. First class entertainment.



****Review by Miriam Pereira 2 March 2016

Sardana Renaissance is well named, as it sees the brilliant Peter Martinez reborn after his near-fatal shooting by a jealous rival. As he starts on the long path to recuperation with the help of his physiotherapist and new lover Cas, he opens some dark doorways into her life, and his own. He also has a new protégé, troubled young amputee Pablito, who dreams of Paralympic glory in Barcelona, five years hence.

The novel sets the stage for a tale of revival, love and hope, and does not disappoint. New relationships spring up, Peter faces scheming in his business dealings, and the reader gets to delve further into the psychological make-up of this intriguing protagonist and those who populate his life. I also liked the subtle socio-political angle, with the author addressing themes such as attitudes towards the disabled, racism and the commercialisation of sport.

Readers of the previous two Sardana novels will be eager to join the chain of this latest literary dance. As one of them, I highly recommend it.


*****Review by Veronica Jean Satchell  25 January 2016

In this 3rd book of the Sardana trilogy, the contnuing story about the Martinez family is still as captivating as ever. Reading about their business ventures, drama and romance as you follow their journey through life is addictive as you become part of their family. It's an intoxicating read and I was hooked from the first book, with stunning settings told with creative descriptions that make each scene come alive. I highly recommend this book and series as its a pleasure to read.



Continues to climb!

Number 26 - as seen at WHSmith, Gatwick Airport on 16 March 2016.



Ray Harwood joins the intent behind World Book Day, 3 March 2016 ... against a backcloth of a review by Paul Norman, Books Monthly, on 1 March 2016, of the Sardana trilogy about which he writes "... is something of a modern masterpiece ... I genuinely urge you to seek out this trilogy and immerse yourselves in it.  First class entertainment".

Alongside Paul Norman recommending purchases, 500 books of Last Sardana have been selected for sale by WHSmith, and are on their journey and will be on airport bookshelves for Easter.

Hope your WBD celebrations were good also ... have a good read!



(photo: Ray Harwood meeting Dave Henson, Captain of the British team in the 2014 Invictus Games)

There have been recent Press articles about Help for Heroes charity and sadly it is being alleged that some of the £230million, which has been raised since its inception in 2007, has not been well cared for, nor indeed have some of those seeking assistance from that charity who have not had their needs attended to.

However, comment on their failings has been well balanced out by reference to the efforts of Blesma.

Blesma is over 100 years old and in the Mail on Sunday (7 February 2016) in reviewing Blesma alongside the British Legion and SSAFA, it is a predicted opinion that “the other, currently less fashionable charities, will still be around when the children of men helped by the Legion, SSAFA and Blesma don’t know what Help for Heroes ever was”.

We are pleased to be Blesma orientated and know that the support we give from royalties of the Sardana Series is in very safe hands!


... Coming Saturday 5 March 2016 at the Bentall Centre, Kingston, 10.00 - 16.00 




Valentine Success... 

After only just 4 book signings, Ray Harwood can now lay claim to having personalised and signed just under 300 books! Another one due at WHSmith Kingston, Bentall Centre on Saturday 5 March.

(photo shows Book Signing table at WHSmith Guildford Saturday 7 February)


 ....we're keeping very good company. Seen at WHSmith in Guildford on 9 January 2016


On that break, Ray and Dean actually thought about us girls holding the fort back home and brought back really expensive presents (from the beach?!) ….well we don’t actually wear hats to work but will keep them for sunnier climes!

Book Signings update

As a result of the 3 book signings held at WHSmiths in Sutton and Waterstones in Kingston over the past three months, we have sold 224 books! All good news for Blesma. 

The fourth book, 'Letters to Peter',  is on the way to the printers anticipated March 2016.


Forthcoming Events...

Watch out for an early statement regarding sales predictions for 2016...


News Events...

Sardana Series Facebook page is now up and running...

If you have a Facebook page, then please consider 'Liking' us and sharing us with your friends. By doing so, you will get up to date information on publication dates and events such as Book Signings. The more people that know about the Sardana Series, the more awareness and money we can raise for Blesma. 


Waterstones Book Signing

Ray Harwood seen here at the book signing held at Waterstones in Kingston on 7 November 2015. The signing coincided with the new release of the third book - Sardana Renaissance.


Ray Harwood at the book signing event held at W H Smith, Sutton, on Saturday 12 September 2015.

He is accompanied by his wife, Dean Harwood, who has supported and encouraged him throughout his book writing, Kristina Tang who word processed every word, and Alison Clarke who assisted in over-reading and Spanish translations.  



Ray Harwood and Blesma members at the Blesma "Fall for the Fallen" parachute event (a tandem skydive where each jump symbolised a life lost in conflict), which took place at Netheravon on 28 - 30 August 2015.



Sutton Guardian interview (published on 23 July 2015)



Ray Harwood meeting Dave Henson, Captain of the British team in the Invictus Games -  Blesma Annual General Meeting 25 June 2015








Live interview for Observer Radio in Antigua 2015

When Ray was on holiday in Antigua, with his wife Dean, he was asked if he would like to do a  ‘Live’ interview for the local Observer Radio station. It transpired to be 1 hour long (followed by the Ex Finance Minister for the island). If you would like to hear what Ray has to say about his books and views on recent events, then please click on the link below.




Live interview for Observer Radio in Antigua, Tuesday 8th November 2016




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