work in progress
THE NEW FRONTIER: Making a Difference in Later Life
The New Frontier contains 19 in-depth interviews, conducted by the author in 2016, with people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. All of them are Times-Sternberg Award winners or runners-up – an award made annually, since 2008, to people over 70 in the UK who are still making a positive contribution to society. The book presents a range of stories, all of them inspiring, about men and women from different backgrounds, income groups and circumstances. For instance, an Auschwitz and Belsen survivor who, at the age of 92, tours the country talking to groups about the Holocaust; a retired surgeon who volunteers his services in war zones and places where major natural disasters have occurred; a woman in her 80s , an expert in treating extreme autism, who still works long hours, responding to calls for help.
TO BE PUBLISHED BY THUNDERPOINT PRESS, 2018
THE BLINDFOLD APPRENTICE
In 1349 the plague is sweeping through the Rhineland and hysteria is never far away. People believe they are standing at the end of time. Groups of flagellants roam the country. Fear of witchcraft reaches new heights. Through this stricken land wanders Gamelyn, a travelling mountebank. And, in the castle of Duke Maximilian of Meinzberg, Bastl, the duke's High Witch-Finder and Exorcist renews his vows to stamp out witchcraft and all wickedness that might bring down the plague upon the dukedom. This book is about the nature of religious fanaticism, about self-righteous power and how those who are certain they are right are the dangerous people; it is about how a society acts when under extreme threat from forces it doesn't understand; how minority groups are blamed and persecuted at times like this; about a con man whose biggest con is upon himself in not facing the truth, and an exorcist who cannot exorcise his own guilt; about the power of secrets and the fact that the truth hurts less in the end; and the relationship between two very different men, both obsessed with the same woman in their different ways, who have a need of each other.
LOOKING FOR A PUBLISHER
GODS OF THE LOST CROSSROADS
A novel of 70,000 words
The story begins in 1823. Rainbow, a West African shaman, embarks on a spirit journey to bring rain to his drought-ridden country. By a series of misadventures he ends up in London, believing he is in the Other World. Here he teams up with Jake, a runaway chimney sweep, Carroty Kate who operates a Punch and Judy show, and Arthur, a former army officer and would-be painter. They become embroiled in the world of street showmen, travelling circuses and bare-fist pugilists. They join the Foreign Legion recruited by the Peruvian patriots to help free their country from Spanish rule, and face danger in the deserts and mountains of South America.
An important character, unseen, but ever-present, is the West African god to whom Rainbow pays homage, Exu, God of the Lost Crossroads, who presides over the meeting and the crossing of the ways, the criss-crossing of events that shape our lives. One of Exu’s many faces is that of Trickster, the spirit of chaos, who walks the boundaries between illusion and reality – as when the army engineers rearrange the landscape rather than alter their faulty maps.
What holds the reader from page to page are the four quests – that of Rainbow to bring rain to his people; that of Jake to find someone to take the place of his mother; Arthur’s quest to become a painter; and Carroty Kate’s to find the soldier she loves and from whom she was parted during the recently ended war with Napoleon. These quests, the relationships which develop and the colourful characters encountered along the way are what fuel the story.
This is a well-researched novel, accurate in many respects, but bordering on fantasy in others. An anti-war novel that is both funny and serious.
LOOKING FOR A PUBLISHER