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Duncton Wood Walk
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All pledgers will receive a FREE copy of the Duncton Wood ebook, available to download immediately
It’s strange but true that main-line publishers often have no idea why some books sell while others don’t. In fact the only people who do know are you and I, the readers. We browse, we surf, we talk to each other, we look, we find, we turn the pages and… we like. We really like. Then we buy.
That’s what happened back in 1980 when my first novel Duncton Wood was published. My friends, family and publishers were doubtful, saying: but it’s about moles! No, it’s about love. Maybe, but it’s still about moles. No, it’s about courage and spiritual quest. Yes, but they’re moles! No, it’s about you and I, about what we do, why we do it, what gives meaning to our lives, the universe and everything. But, but, but… surely it’s… It’s a journey and maybe once you start you’ll not want it to end...
Duncton Wood hit the best-seller a few weeks after publication and stayed there for six months. Five more Duncton books followed at which point I was satisfied that the journey was complete. Each book stood alone, as do the phases of our lives; yet each led to the next. When the last book was published in 1993 readers wanted more. But I felt that the characters – and the journey shared with readers – had reached a natural end.
Seven years later, for personal reasons, I did that rare thing for an author and withdrew all the titles from the market. The ‘personal reasons’ were simple: I no longer liked the fact that the big mainstream print publishers were gate-keepers of author creativity, often blocking or effectively suppressing work that authors like me wanted to write and readers like you wanted to read. I felt there must be a different and better way of getting my Duncton stories out there.
There is: crowd-funding and digital. The technology has come of age such that a project like Unbound gives back to authors and readers – and really we are the same – the power to make wonderful books, books to like, books to love. The right time finally for author and reader to work together to make the moles of Duncton Wood, who are really all of us, available in print form again in the right way. Meaning enjoyably, for the different rewards are fun, interesting and worthwhile; and best of all, crowd-funding offers us a chance to meet and explore how to take our journey together forward once more.
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Limited Edition Hardback
William Horwood was born in Oxford in 1944 and raised in post-war austerity Britain in a house of shadows, lies and wonderment. His ‘father’, an Oxford don, was not his father. His mother, a blue-stocking intellectual, decamped to the East Kent coast when it was discovered that along with himself, another of her five children was illegitimate. There, like something out of a feminist BBC period drama, she ran her shambolic house with another single mother, with various children by various men, little money, thousands of books, strange disappearances, sudden fosterings and, in William’s case, exile to Germany for six months when he was ten.
But there were unusual ‘rewards’ - as we crowd-funders might put it. Parental indifference during formative years gave him freedom to explore the dangerous military defences and the bombed-out buildings of Dover; a stream of refugee paying guests from Europe, there to learn English, taught him to teach it; a grandmother and big, powerful siblings made for the continual high-octane drama of a dysfunctional, literate family; and his mother, his mother! A weaver of half-true histories and anecdotes, told by a fireside of sea coal and driftwood: ‘the greatest raconteur I ever knew’, as he puts it, but, to her dying day, cruelly unwilling to reveal who his true father was.
When he left Bristol University – chosen because it was a comfortably long way from home – he rapidly moved into journalism. Work in trade papers was followed by seven years with the Daily Mail where he edited its financial section and, for two years, Femail, strange as that may seem (and was). He resigned, served out the final six months of his contract in an isolated office with a phone that never rang and typewriter… and there wrote his first novel. So Duncton Wood was born.
Twenty best-selling novels have followed including five Dunctons; four highly regarded sequels to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows; and Skallagrigg which won a BAFTA film of the year award; and The Boy With No Shoes, his heart-breaking but inspirational memoir written after he finally discovered who his father was: a Polish zoologist, an Arabist and… an author. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
For more information about Willam and his work, please visit www.williamhorwood.co.uk.
Bracken was born on an April night in a warm dark burrow deep in the historic system of Duncton Wood, six moleyears after Rebecca.This is the story of their love, and their epic struggle to find it.
It is a true story drawn from many sources, and the fact that it can be told at all is as great a miracle as the history it relates. But without one other mole, Blessed Boswell of Uffington, Bracken and Rebecca would have died the death of legend, their tale declining into the darkness of time as a simple story of love. It was much more than that, as the records kept by Boswell show, and it is these that form the bulk of the material on which this history is based.
There are other sources, some in the libraries of the Holy Burrows, others hewn in solitary stone or carried still in the legends of each system whose tunnels life made these three moles enter. But these are mere shadows when set against the work of Boswell himself.
But for his love and enterprise there would be no Bracken now. Yet without Bracken, Boswell could never had found his great task.
And without Rebecca, there would be nothing at all to tell.
So link their three names together in a blessing on their memory, and on the troubled time in which they had to make their lives...
- 3rd February 2017 A Free Ebook
To say a big a thank-you to the early subscribers who have pushed the Duncton Wood deluxe edition forward so fast – and to offer an incentive to the many readers who are about to subscribe - I've arranged for all of you to get a free copy of the DUNCTON WOOD ebook by Canelo. Existing subscribers will receive details of how to claim their free ebook from Unbound very shortly. The process will…
These people are helping to fund Duncton Wood Deluxe Edition.
David G Tubby