In November each year, Ukrainian communities in Bradford and across the world commemorate the national tragedy known as the Holodomor which, between 1932 and 1933, wiped out six million people.

Baildon copywriter, author and brass band player William Spencer is married to the daughter of a Holodomor survivor, and has written an historical novel, The Way Of Vengeance, as an aide memoire to one of history’s most prolific, yet little-known genocides.

The fertile black earth of the Ukraine was once the breadbasket of Europe, with a proud and industrious rural work force spread across millions of independently owned farmsteads. Eighty years ago it was part of the communist-ruled USSR.

Soviet chief Stalin’s state-imposed collectivisation programme was met with robust resistance from Ukrainian farmers. In addition, there was a growing cultural resistance to Soviet rule through a renaissance in Ukrainian arts.

A combination of these two factors, and also a need for the Soviet regime to sell grain abroad in order to raise funds for capital equipment for its industrialisation programmes, triggered the mass starvation of Ukrainians which was of Holocaust proportions.

Thousands of artists, writers and intellectuals were banished to the Gulag labour camps to work on vast civil projects building canals and railways.

Mr Spencer said: “When execution quotas and purges failed to make an impact on the vast army of millions of Ukrainian farmers, the Soviet regime confiscated all food and seed grain from every farmstead in the nation, even half-baked loaves where taken from the ovens.

“All fuel and livestock were also confiscated, and a system of internal passports was established to prevent any attempts to flee the nation, or even move around in search of food.

“"I wanted to bring the terrible reality of the Holodomor to life through the plight of a typical patriot farmer and his family. Though the Komysa family is fictional, the historical backdrop to the novel is an accurate representation of events affecting everyday life during the Holodomor.”

The Way Of Vengeance was inspired by his late mother-in-law, Ewa Klym, formerly of Saltaire, who was a childhood survivor of the Soviet terror famine and purges in 1930s Ukraine.

His eBook novel represents thousands of hours of research and writing, and follows the plight of patriot farmer Danya Komysa and his family as they fight for survival in a famine-scarred land filled with Chekist Secret Police and Red Army troops, before being recruited by a powerful resistance group and taking on a deadly challenge.

Mr Spencer’s eBook can be bought and downloaded from