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A post-apocalyptic adventure set in a world in the grip of a new ice age

In a distant future, the earth is in the grip of another great ice age. The sparsely scattered groups of people that survive in this harsh and bitter world live at subsistence level, foraging for plants in the hard earth, hunting for the creatures that each year seem to growing fewer and fewer.

All that remains of past civilisation are fragments of ancient myth, that tell of the Great Bear that brought the ice and the snow, and scraps of old iron dug out of the ground, objects of awe and fear. And it is an old iron blade, left to him by his father that the Lad takes with him on his first hunting expedition – an expedition that ends not only in failure but in a return to find his settlement destroyed, his people brutally massacred.

Believing this to be the work of the Great Bear, the hunting party sets out to track the creature down and slaughter it in revenge. It is a journey that will take the Lad far from his known land into a hostile world of savage encounters and delirious nightmares, a world in which horror and beauty go hand in hand, where friendships are tested, companionships broken, and that will bring him at last face to face with the dark mystery of his own very human heart.

Blending together elements of quest adventure story, classic myth, post apocalypse fable, and tragic drama, The Hunt for the Great Bear aims to be both a gripping narrative and a serious exploration of themes of immediate and urgent concern, not least the fragility of life on earth, and human beings’ often destructive relationship with the natural world.

David is a playwright, poet and novelist who lives in the West Midlands. He has written over forty plays original plays and adaptations for touring and community theatre, and for BBC radio, and several of his plays for young people are published by Oxford University Press. Among his adaptations are, for the theatre, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and, for Radio 4’s Classic Serial, The Last of the Mohicans and The Return of the Native. His adaptation of Dracula, published by OUP, is a best seller, and productions of several of his plays have been staged in the USA, India, and Australia. As a poet, David is published widely in UK print and online magazines, and he has three pamphlets of his work published, with a fourth due in 2016, a narrative dramatic sequence called The Old Man in the House of Bone. He has published three novels for young people and a book of Robin Hood stories, and worked as storyteller, director of community plays and was recently writer in residence for a year at a community garden. The Hunt for the Great Bear is his first adult novel.

And then they were running. Out onto the ledge, along the track and down onto the slope, then tumbling sliding skidding falling over the bare rock and ice with the voice of the dark roaring all around them so that the cliffside shook with it and they fell again, grasping at the rock, at each other, cursing and kicking out, as if tumbling off the edge of the world. Someone grabbed at his leg and he thrust them away, another punched him in the mouth and he struck out at the empty air. Sometimes he was on his feet and sometimes he was crawling on all fours, and sometimes he was turning and rolling over and over with not one part of him that was not scratched and bruised and cut by thorn and jagged stone. And then it was as if the world had indeed flung them away and they were falling headlong into some deep abyss with cries such as he had never heard before, and his own like the cry of some stranger pulled raw from his throat.

They were a long time falling.


Latest on The Great Bear

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

It's been a while since I posted something here. One of the reasons for that is that, being a freelance writer, I'm often busy with more than one project at the same time, and that's defintely been the case just lately - working on a new play, writing an arts council bid for a grant to stage a production of another play, and co-directing rehearsals for yet another. All these creative endeavours are…

The end of the apocalypse

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Travelling Man held the old iron stick out to the boy’s father. His father reached across and closed his fingers over it and for a moment they were gripping it together. Then the Travelling Man took his hand away and the old iron was passed and given to his father.

The father ran the fingers of his free hand along the surface of the stick. He was feeling the old iron, the weight and the coldness…


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Some thoughts about influences in this post.

No book comes into being  completely of its own accord. Behind every book are the ghosts of many others, some more easily discernible than others. In a sense, one of the reasons any book comes to be written is as a result of a discussion or argument the writer is having with other books that she or he has read. All those different voices are speaking…

Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

It's been a while since I posted anything here, so first of all my apologies for neglecting everyone, especially those who most recently made a pledge towards trying to get "The Hunt for the Great Bear" published. This neglect was partly due to my being busy with other work - working on a new play, writing bids to Arts Council England - and also, I must confess, partly due to losing heart when despite…

My Anthropocene Novel

Monday, 4 April 2016

I've gleaned what I'm writing about here from a few articles I've been reading recently - some of them, I admit, rather sketchily - and if my understanding of them is correct, then it's made me look at this novel I've written, and which I'm trying to crowdfund into being published, in a fresh light.

It seems we are living in what is the Anthropocene age,an age in which, for the first time in the…

Help the Great Bear

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

My novel "The Hunt for the Great Bear" seems to have got itself stuck in the doldrums. After an exciting start, with people pledging their support fairly quickly, things seem to have tailed off, and the book has now been skulking around 13% for the past few weeks. So, I am unashamedly asking for your help to get it moving again. Please do take a look at my Great Bear page, read the extract, and my…

Celebrating Life

Thursday, 21 January 2016



One of the chief driving forces behind writing, behind any creative act, is, I believe, a deep seated need in human beings to celebrate life. Why that need is there is rooted far back in our ancient, Palaeolithic past, that period of time when our first true direct ancestors were struggling to survive in an extremely hostile environment - harsh weather conditions and powerful predators, combined…

Dreaming A Dark Dream

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Bear shaman


A man in crows’ feathers a man with a drum

He carries a bag it is filled with songs

He carries a spear his talk is crooked


She is dreaming a dark dream.


These lines comes from a poem of mine called  "She Is Trying to Get Back to What She Was", and it was the circumstances that led up to the writing of that poem that also eventually led to my writing…

An Ecological Disaster

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Bear shaman



One of the most consistent themes that is present in almost everything I write is that of human beings' relationship with the rest of the natural world, and the disasters that can occur, to us, and to that world, whenever we see ourselves as separate from it, as being above it or outside it, or able to manipulate and control it. The theme of human hubris, I suppose, which is a theme…

Old Iron

Friday, 20 November 2015

Send us hunting and send it good

For this I give my flesh and blood

So fire shall jump from the spears of men

And old iron come to their hands again.


Moving off with the Great Bear

Thursday, 19 November 2015

This is a new venture for me, crowdfunding a novel in this way. It's exciting too, not really knowing the outcome, hopeful but cautious. During the five years or so that I spent working on the novel I didn't really give too much though to the end game, the publishing of it. Having written that, I realise it's not quite true. When I began working on it I had publishing very much in mind - I'd written…

Abigail Perrow
Abigail Perrow asked:

How come this is only an ebook? I really like your plot and the excerpt, but I find ebooks much less fulfilling than reading from a physical book.

David Calcutt
David Calcutt replied:

That's the deal that was offered, Abigail. I tend to agree with you about e-books. Maybe you should ask this question of the publishers! Thank you very much for your kind comments about the novel.

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