The Lion & The Unicorn

By Tom Ward

A policeman sets out to investigate a murder in a near-future where bad taste is illegal.

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London, 2054. A policeman, H., is called to investigate the murder of a former reality television star, now an outlawed profession.

Since the revolution, the new government has objectively ruled all ‘bad taste’ illegal. Now, the citizens of the UK are rated on how much they contribute to the three pillars of a secure and prosperous society: Pride, Stability, and Civility.

While on the surface this revolution has been successful, it was in reality a way for the corrupt to consolidate more power, furthering austerity, xenophobia, and cultural restrictions.

As H. investigates the murder, new and violent revolutionary murmurings are on the rise across the country, leading him to clash with a violent underground faction, a former revolutionary figurehead now imprisoned, a visionary tech mogul, and a woman who might just be the country’s next great hope.

All will lead H. to question his own loyalties to the state at a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

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  • Tom Ward avatar

    Tom Ward

    Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including Wired, GQ, Esquire, and the Telegraph.


    He is the winner of the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine Journalist of the Year 2017, and has been shortlisted for The People’s Book Prize, and the Beryl Bainbridge Award, both 2014.


    He is also a graduate of the prestigious Faber Academy, and his work has been praised by S J Watson, Chris McQueer, and Harry Gallon.


    Books he had in mind while writing The Lion And The Unicorn include Graham Greene’s The Ministry of Fear, Orwell’s 1984, Alfonso Cuaron’s cinematic adaptation of Children of Men, and the news. (Ha).


    Tom lives in Brighton with his girlfriend, and his dog, Ralphie.

  • Authors Note

    We were never ones to get things wrong, police officers. I should know, I was one for the best part of my life. And, while no official account was ever recorded, I know for a fact that it has been two years and fifty four days since what happened started to happen, at the cold, tail end of my fifteenth year on the force. For almost all of those years I truly believed we were making a difference. The following events changed all of that in almost every way. A lot of people died. I killed some of them.

    Forgive me if my writing is shaky. I’m writing this on the train as it rattles north through tiny provincial towns, shuttered windows and empty cafes staring back at me from the stations. I thought it best to set this down before I arrive. I want to get my thoughts in order. Although, I don’t seem to be thinking as clearly as I once did. Every day now, I can feel my mind beginning to break open, like an egg shell.

    As we race through empty fields, trees standing bare at their edges, one final thought comes to mind; as a child I remember going to see the giraffes, the lions, the hyenas, at the zoo in Regent’s Park. I remember eating candy floss and riding on the carousel. Later, when I’d long since grown out of these visits, when the Revolution was at its height and the nights were filled with smoke and broken glass, the animals disappeared. Set free by persons unknown, they escaped their cages, into the wild. Into urban myth. Ask anyone with a long enough memory, and they’ll tell you about the jaguar that still roams Epping Forest, its black coat part of every shadow. But my story doesn’t start there. It starts 15 years later, in 2054, when the animals, freed from their cages, had long since grown wild.

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  • 10th October 2019 Meet The Author: Jamie Chipperfield

    Hello supporters,

    The Lion and The Unicorn borrows more from the dystopian world than the sci-fi, but another Unbound book, Red Soil by Jamie Chipperfield, caught my attention nevertheless.

    In Jamie’s book, humans have colonised Mars – not out of innovation or for the advancement of science, but necessity. Now, Leon Richardson, Mars’ Chief Custodian, has to contend with not only having left…

    21st September 2019 CHAPTER 22 EXCERPT

    We stole the car from beneath a broken streetlight at the end of a quiet road then headed north out of the city. We must have passed a thousand surveillance cameras, and every light overhead took the shape of security drones patrolling, lenses penetrating through the smog, searching out renegade bombers and AWOL police officers wanted for murder. Despite my paranoia, it seemed that the checkpoints…

    16th July 2019 Chapter Seven – Criminal Elements

    It was almost dark by the time I reached the International Zone. I parked the car in the police compound, a rough, concrete building standing between two wire fences. On one side stood Commercial Road. On the other: the collected human detritus of war-torn nations near and far – all safely locked away in a permanent refugee community that few police officers and zero civilians ever ventured into.

    18th May 2019 30%! Here's A New Excerpt!

    Thank you to everyone who has supported THE LION AND THE UNICORN so far. We're currently on 31% funded. As a thank you, I wanted to share this excerpt, from the second chapter!

    Bagby had bought his flat high up in The Barbican back when that was still something people did. Over the years he’d dug in as best he could, collecting books and records and paintings and piling them up like a man trying…

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