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 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.
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.
- 12th October 2020 81%! Here's A Chapter 4 Excerpt
It's amazing to me that The Lion and The Unicorn is currently 81% funded. With just 19% remaining we're so, so close to hitting the target and finally being able to get this book out there.
In an effort to entice a final round of pledges, I wanted to release another sneak peek, this time from Chapter 4. As a disclaimer, certain bits of this chapter have been deleted in an attempt not to give anything…2nd October 2020 76%! Here's an excerpt from Chapter 2!
Hey everyone, it's been an age since I posted an update. But, the book is now at 76%. In all honesty I was pretty demoralised for a while, but the support the past few weeks has been fantastic. I can't believe we're now just 24% away from hitting the funraising target. Please do consider spreading the word to that friend who loves to read if you can. Or, if you really want to, buying another book…24th April 2020 Chapter 11 - Icarus
Hey everyone. It's been a while so I wanted to share an excerpt from Chapter 11 of the book. I think it gives a great overview of the sort of world the book is living in, and I hope it piques your interest...
Chapter Eleven – Icarus
I woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. I'd been having this feeling, lately, like I’d slipped out of myself and was watching my body…4th March 2020 HELP ME CHOOSE A BOOK COVER!
With it being World Book Day today, I thought it'd be a good idea to share some mock covers I've been working on for The Lion and The Unicorn. They won't neccessarily be options for the actual cover (Unbound will work with me on that) but hopefully they can help conceptualise the book as we continue into the 50% plus area of funding.
So, while these covers don't probably represent…1st March 2020 Meet The Author: Josephine Greenland
My 'Meet The Author' series continues with Josephine Greenland whose novel Embers is now available to pre-order, and sounds fantastic. Billed as a story in which "two siblings investigate the slaughter of reindeer in northern Sweden", Embers immediately caught my attention, and I had to ask Josephine about the book's origins, folklore, and Sweden's isolated communities.
Embers has a brilliant…28th February 2020 Meet The Author: Maximilian Hawker on OCD
This is a somewhat special installment of these Author Updates. Today I'm talking to Maximilian Hawker, who has just TEN DAYS REMAINING to fund his novel Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen. The reason this book is special to me is because it concerns a boy, struggling with OCD who must journey with his social worker through space to rescue his mother. As someone who struggled with OCD as a child…21st February 2020 Meet The Author: Jason Cobley
Jason Cobley's A Hundred Years To Arras tackles conflict head on. Specifically, through the lens of the First World War. As the synopsis reads it is a book about "one man's coming of age through land, love and blood." Set in Somerset and France, it's one of the most exciting projects currently funding with Unbound, and deserves your support. To find out more about the novel, I spoke to Jason about…20th February 2020 Meet The Author: James Wilkins
My series of interviews with interesting Unbound authors about their interesting books continues with James Wilkins, Creative Director at Joe.co.uk discussing DARK, an easily digestible guide to the Universe in a handy A-Z format. Illustrated by Andreas Brooks, DARK aims to shed light onto some of science's biggest questions.
"Despite not pursuing physics beyond GCSE, his love for all things space…17th February 2020 Meet The Author: Lulu Allison
Of all the books currently funding with Unbound, Lulu Allison's Salt Lick jumped out as one I desperately wanted to read. The book follows Jesse and Isolde, a boy and a woman, linked across time and the feral fields of wild England at a time when most food production has moved abroad. As Lulu points out, it isn't dystopian, but it's further along the 'wrong road'. Here she and I discuss the islandification…13th February 2020 Meet The Author: Ste Sharp
There are some great Unbound projects currently funding, many of which share some DNA with The Lion and The Unicorn. In order to celebrate these books, and hopefully bring them to an even wider audience, I’ll be sharing interviews with interesting Unbound authors, right here. First up is Set Sharp, talking about his funding novel Survival.
Here’s the official synopsis:
In Survival, book two…18th December 2019 48%
As the year comes to an end, The Lion & The Unicorn is at 48%! It's fantastic that so many of you wanted to support, and I'm sure the final book won't dissapoint.
Obviously Christmas is a time for giving, so I wanted to remind everyone that personalised short stories and poems are available as pledge packages. Want one for your gran / partner / dog? Say the word and I'll get it…10th October 2019 Meet The Author: Jamie Chipperfield
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…
These people are helping to fund The Lion & The Unicorn.
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Michael Markle Jr