Ian Michael Cushing was born on a near-Earth equivalent with a divergent history, which he calls Tenterden. He grew up in England against the backdrop of the First World War and its aftermath, excelling at languages at school, although his main interests were history and music. After school, he studied languages at the Sorbonne and became involved in the Paris jazz scene. He returned to England in 1931 and studied law at Cambridge, before going to work for his grandfather’s law firm.
With the outbreak of WWII, he volunteered to fight and was in France as a member of the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force. During the Dunkirk evacuation, he proved himself to be a natural leader and once back on British soil, he was made a lieutenant and joined the SOE. With the surprise launch of Operation Sea Lion by the Nazis in September 1940, and its subsequent defeat, the focus of his SOE training was expanded to include skills useful for laying the groundwork for the British counter-invasion of Europe. He returned to Europe at the end of January 1941, and acted as a covert liaison officer with the French and Belgian resistance, although not without a few scrapes along the way.
When D-Day came on 6th June 1941, Ian and his Resistance colleagues went ahead of the invading forces, engaging in acts of sabotage to soften up the enemy, and by November, he was behind the lines in Germany. After Hitler died in a bomb attack at Nuremburg in December 1941, Ian was recalled to England and reassigned to the team working on the terms of a treaty with Germany, in light of the rising thread from Russia, which included a draft framework on intelligence sharing on Russian matters. He was part of the British delegation in Berlin when the new Führer, Hermann Göring, signed the Armistice, bringing to a close armed conflict in Western Europe. He remained in Germany as part of the delegation tasked with monitoring German compliance with the agreement and co-ordinating intelligence flow regarding the Soviets. A couple of years later, “actions incompatible with his status” led to a close call with a firing squad and his ejection from Berlin when the British Embassy presented a signed order for his release seconds before the order to fire was given.
He returned to London and joined the team analysing the intelligence coming back from Germany, as the Nazis put Operation Barbarossa into effect. He struck up a relationship with Audrey Rose, his Embassy saviour from Berlin, once she returned to England, and they married in 1945. After Ian was demobbed in 1949, he and Audrey travelled for a while, before settling down. He returned to his grandfather’s firm refocusing it as an international legal consultancy.
Audrey died in an car accident in 1953, leading him to reassess his life. With military history and international law as abiding interests, he decided to try his hand at journalism. Over the next couple of years, he gained a reputation first as someone who was willing to go all out to find a good story, and then as a war correspondent in his own right. He travelled extensively, until his grandfather died in 1960. As Ian was his only male descendent, he inherited everything.
Ian returned to London, splitting his time between the firm and new and separate a journalist identity he established named Mikael Cuijper. He eventually sold out of his grandfather’s firm in 1970, and took up his journalistic identity on a more full-time basis. In 1978, he went back to Germany for the first time since his abrupt departure in 1944, as part of the press corps reporting on the ongoing armed struggles between the Nazis and the Russians, and was based between Germany and Occupied Russia for about eighteen months. He won the Pulitzer in 1980 for his reporting of the Kirishi Massacre. Needless to say, his German press credentials were yanked, and he was thrown out of Nazi Germany for the second time.
He discovered his real heritage one evening when he answered the door to a red-headed stranger. The interloper introduced himself as his father, Adam Hawke. Ian was obviously sceptical, however Hawke made some bold claims which, combined with the insatiable curiosity that had made Ian such a good journalist, led him to agree to go find out more. They ended up at Tir-na Nog’th, where Ian first walked the Pattern. Once he’d successfully completed the walk, his father – who he now knew was called Bleys – took him into Shadow, to learn the skills a scion of Amber needed to survive. This included dumping him for a couple of years on a Renaissance-era world with an established pro-magic culture, where Ian learned all about dealing with culture shock, as well as how to be a perfect Renaissance gentleman.
Their travels ended when Bleys received an urgent Trump call which obviously alarmed and upset him. Afterwards, all he would tell Ian was that he was being called away and he wasn’t sure how long he’d be. He made sure Ian got safely home and then departed. Ian did not see him again for something like fifty years in his personal timeline. After that, he travelled Shadow on his own, while at home he established a younger persona, as his birth identity was reaching the end of its natural life: hence Ian Hawke came into being.
He went back to college in the US to study military history, and enhanced his studies by the fact that he could now visit Shadows where things went differently, which as a historian he found fascinating. In his spare time, he once again became involved in the jazz scene. After he graduated, he remained in the US for a few years, studying for his masters in his spare time, before finally returning to England and faking the death of his Ian Cushing self. He continued to split his time between England and Shadow, but when he was at home, he went back into journalism, and in his spare time, worked on a doctorate in military history. He successfully defended his thesis in spring 1994, and thereafter, Dr Ian Hawke began lecturing in military history and international relations at Kings College London when he was on Shadow.
Marcus, son of Brand, finally came to find him in July 2000, Tenterden calendar, whereupon his involvement in Amber proper began.