Fiction ~ new for 2021
Déjà Lu: collected stories of Crysse Morrison
This collection of 37 stories, on themes ranging through love and loss, betrayal, passion and the complexity of human relationships between lovers and family members, has been selected from the author's long career of writing short stories. Most have been previously published in magazines or edited collections, or been presented on radio or as live readings. The author is a Frome based poet, novelist, dramatist and critic. August 2021, 197pp, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-10-9.
The Gorge, by Annette Burkitt
Historical novel set in Somerset and Dorset in the 10th century, sequel to the author's Flesh and Bones (2017). King Athelstan is dead. Long live the new king, Edmund, his half-brother. The cobbled-together nation of England must react to the challenges of the times: threats from Northumbria and Ireland, resentment from Mercia, pressure from a Church flexing its powerful Catholic muscles. Reformation is in the air. The House of Wessex is weakened by a cliff-top promise and suffers a shocking assassination. Was it intended or was it provoked? This story of Wessex in the mid-tenth century is set in the landscape of Shaftesbury, Frome, and Cheddar. Drawing on historical and archaeological sources, it attempts to put flesh on the bones of early medieval England, illuminating the pre-conquest period and revealing its chief protagonists. September 2021, 380pp, illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-18-5.
Sweet Medicine, by Sue Boddington
Spring 1860 in a lonely corner of Montana, four people are seeking fulfilment in their lives and some form of healing for troubled minds. Bear Claw, the Cheyenne warrior, whose mother was the daughter of a Jewish pedlar, is searching for a way to reconcile his life as a Cheyenne with his promise to his mother to honour the traditions of her people. Ben Barnett, the youngest son of a Wiltshire squire has emigrated with his young wife Frances in the hope of finding a cure for his depression and restless spirit in the challenge of a pioneering life. Frances however, longs for a more secure, civilised life with her relatives in Boston. Lothar Klein dreams of becoming a rich man and being accepted in the upper ranks of European society and has travelled from Germany believing he will find gold in America. When the lives of these four people intersect a chain of events is set in motion that reaches a dramatic conclusion.
The story is set against the background of the dangers and hardships of living in an untamed landscape and the often fraught relationship between the white settlers and the native population, but also how an individual friendship can transcend differences in race and culture. The life and traditions of the Cheyenne are portrayed in detail at a time when the Plains tribes still had the freedom to live in their own way before they were swept aside by the irresistible force of the believers in Manifest Destiny. 2021, 276pp, paperback, £8.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-08-6
Struck Off, by John Killah
A gripping comic novel of our times. Set in a busy market town, it follows the dramatic story of Eaun Wright, a well-liked trial lawyer and partner in a local solicitors’ practice, as his business, marriage, and reputation are all unexpectedly and dramatically trashed within 24 hours and he embarks on an audacious plan for revenge and redemption. Set in the immediate future, Struck Off savagely dissects our crumbling criminal justice system as well as providing incisive reflection about what is actually now happening to traditional country life, invaded as it now is by city incomers bringing new money and new values. With a mix of prescient social relevance and witty dramatic fiction, Struck Off navigates a rapidly changing landscape involving gangsters and honest police officers, daffodil fairs and a Roman orgy, acid baths and a very dead badger, before a surprising international twist at the end of this fast-moving narrative – as well as lifting the lid on what the Honorary Secretary got up to in the hot tub. . .November 2021, 310pp, paperback, £10.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-15-4