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Robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach, a young British soldier sets out to save the favela kid who nearly killed him:

On the run from unjust court-martial back home, a young British soldier gets robbed and shot on Copacabana Beach. The bullet in Jake’s head should have killed him but, miraculously, it saves him from a previously undetected condition that soon would have killed him.
Jake doesn’t believe in fate, nor does he feel he owes anything to anybody, but he does hate injustice, and the favela kid that fired the bullet is a victim. Named Vilson, the teenage kid is in a corner with corrupt cops and a sadistic drug-lord after his blood. Anger drives Jake into this violent world, intent on getting Vilson out of it.
With a turf war erupting between drug gangs and corrupt cops for control of Vilson’s favela, there is danger in every narrow alleyway. And anyone dragged up to the notorious Burning Hill had better hope they’re dead before they get there.
But it’s not just fear that shapes life in the favela, belief is also powerful, able to both save and destroy. When Jake rescues him, Vilson is convinced that he is finally on the path to his destiny, having clung to a promise made to him in childhood. When it turns to dust he becomes someone else, something else. Jake doesn’t have religion but, spurred by his own ingrained beliefs, he refuses to give up on a kid seemingly beyond saving.
Set in and around a Rio favela ruled by fear and superstition, The Burning Hill is about the power of belief and the cost of justice.


The idea for the story came from a robbery the author saw when he lived in Brazil that had a link with the massacre of street children outside a Rio church years earlier. What played out in the aftermath of the robbery on live TV news was an embodiment of the desperation of life at the bottom of the heap, and shocked a society inured to everyday violence.

The story also explores how the fusion of religions like Candomblé and Umbanda with Catholicism can create powerful beliefs.

The author now lives on the south coast of England with his Brazilian wife, two boys and an excitable dog. His next novel is about a cult, set in Guyana, where he previously worked in the sugar industry.

1993

Vilson and Babão

Most people looked right through Vilson, like he was invisible. Sometimes he wished he were. The barely-there kid stood alone in afternoon shadows of the church, away from the others. He saw the cop car drawing up before anyone else did, and something cold and slippery moved inside him. Cops never came with anything good. He wrapped his skinny arms around himself, shoulders hunched.

The Candelária church was in central Rio, an island with multiple lanes of traffic washing past, surrounded by modern office blocks. It had become a safe haven for street kids, the sparse, dusty grounds at its front a patchwork of cardboard boxes flattened into mattresses.

The cop car pulled over at the kerb alongside the encampment, near a bunch of older kids kicking a Fanta can around in the harsh sunlight. The cop squinted through his open window and jabbed a finger at them, “I told you lot to clear out of this place,” he shouted over the roar of the traffic.

Most of the kids carried on with their game, intent on ignoring the cop. But one of them turned. At twelve, Gabriel was the eldest, the leader. He was Vilson’s big brother.

“Oh yeah, sure,” Gabriel shouted, puffing out his chest, “and make it easier for you to catch us and beat us? You’d like that, huh?”

“Watch your step or I’ll make you pay for that tongue, you little shit,” the cop shouted.

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Letting you know

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Crowdfunding has been an interesting process so far. There have been weeks where loads of activity have resulted in not very much, and then along comes a run of pledges (a case of waiting for buses, the Brits might say). I have now made it to 63% funded and I’m very grateful to all supporters.

Unbound reckon that the 60/70% mark is the home straight and that funding tends to snowball from there…

video feedback

Friday, 10 March 2017

Hello lovely people,

A quick update - The Burning Hill is now 45% funded. Many thanks to those who have pledged this week.

I'm getting great feedback on the video on my book page with the excerpt read by my friend, James Langton. If you haven't looked/listened, please take a few minutes and, if you like it (as I'm sure you will!) please share on FaceBook, Twitter, email etc.

The video replaced…

40% and video

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Hello lovely people,

Thank you so much for your support - nearly 4 weeks since launch and The Burning Hill is now 40% funded. Unbound reckon that if you get to 30% within 4 weeks of launching it’s generally a good indicator that you’ll reach full funding by the 90-day deadline…

My lovely friend, James Langton, a jazz musician and audio-book pro, has recorded an excerpt and I’ve added some images…

29% funded

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Hello wonderful supporters,

I will be writing a personal thank-you to each of you, but just wanted to give you all a quick update:

Thanks to your incredible generosity my book is now 29% funded and because it's been funded to that level so quickly it is trending on the site on the main books page: https://unbound.com/books

I'm only 4 along from Dave Hill's autobiography (yep, the one with…

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