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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.

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Send us hunting and send it good

For this I give my flesh and blood

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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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