Currency $ USD
In editorial development
Publication date: TBC
116% funded
223 backers

A man forced to join the Spanish Armada must flee fatal capture in 16th Century Ireland

Army deserter Abel de Santiago has all but avenged his murdered wife, when he is captured and sold as a galley slave. As the Spanish Armada sails for Calais Roads in May 1588, there cannot be a soul aboard more reluctant than him.

After a crushing defeat to the English fleet, the Spanish ships are battered by extraordinary storms. Santiago soon finds himself washed ashore in Ireland, a country terrorised by men that the natives call Sassenachs.

Santiago’s faint hopes of survival appear dashed when he is captured by the brutal Sheriff of Sligo, who has orders from Dublin to torture and kill all Spanish castaways. 

An unlikely twist of fate leaves Santiago fleeing Sligo with a jewelled ring worth a King’s ransom. His escape leads to a desperate chase across a strange and stunning land, where danger lurks at every turn.

So begins THE SHERIFF’S CATCH, being Part 1 of THE SASSANA STONE PENTALOGY

James was born and raised in Malta, an island nation steeped in the millennia of history. As a boy he often caught a rickety old bus to the capital of Valletta, where he would hover around the English bookshops to check out the latest titles in fiction.

Growing up he was an avid reader and a relentless day-dreamer, with his standout subject at school being English composition. He also won a couple of national essay competitions. Although he spent seven years studying and obtaining a doctor of laws degree, this did not cure him of his urge to write stories. So after emigrating to Sydney in 2007 he resolved to have a proper stab at writing his first novel.

The result of this decision is an epic, sprawling five-part historical fiction series called The Sassana Stone Pentalogy. It is the product of eight years of intense rewriting and research, and tells the story of a Spanish Armada survivor who is shipwrecked in Ireland.

The first instalment in the series is a rip-roaring, myth-busting page-turner called The Sheriff’s Catch. Its anti-hero protagonist Abel de Santiago is an Armada survivor who finds himself on the run across Connacht, whilst being pursued by English troopers who want him tortured and killed.

www.jamesvellabardon.com

Find James on Twitter and his Facebook Page.

‘I am sorry, Abel. I know how much you loved my sister.’

Too tired to even acknowledge his words, I exhaled wearily and leant my shoulder against his. For a few moments our ragged breaths sounded as one, with the hiss of the heavy rainfall outside being only exceeded by the creak of the ship’s beams. We then proceeded to exchange our last words, as a hoarse whisper left my swollen lips.

‘What are they waiting for? It’s been five days already.’

Maerten jerked his chin at the rower beside me.

‘And we’re running out of food…’

I turned to face the tall Algerian strokesman to my right, whose lips were frothed at the sides whilst his eyes rolled violently. In recent days he had boiled with campaign fever, so that his arms hung by his sides and his tattooed cheeks had turned a bright red. Disease had rendered Esteban a helpless invalid, and that same morning I had picked all hidden rinds and pieces of biscuit from the folds in his clothes.

Before falling ill the Algerian’s malice towards us had been so great that we were still seized by a sudden dread whenever his head sagged towards us. Often had I hoped to catch the vicious strokesman unawares with an oar blow, to then throttle him with my chains. These murderous urges had only been checked because of Dimas, who would have seized on such foul play to see me swing from the yardarm. For during our months at sea the overseer had often threatened us with hanging, and throughout the voyage his threats had rarely proved idle.    

‘Looks like the bastard won’t see out the day…’ said my Flemish companion, as Esteban’s head swirled away from us.

The hoarse whisper was cut short when our ship lurched sideways, shortly followed by the sound of footsteps. We threw ourselves upon our oars and feigned sleep, when one of the kitchen slaves appeared down the hold. We instantly made out Costa wobbling like a drunken sailor, clumsily sidestepping rowers who lay in his path.

‘Hey there, Costa!’ hissed Maerten, ‘what news from above?’

Costa bit his lower lip as a sign for us to keep silent, then tottered over with a crate held in both hands. He proceeded to place bowls of maggot strewn curd on our bench, but Maerten flipped them over without a second glance. Costa ignored the Fleming’s gesture, for the one-eared slave had himself advised us to starve, rather than touch the putrid servings that he brought to us from the kitchen.

He then looked over each of his shoulders, before reaching inside his cloak and holding out a palm full of sawdust towards us. The Fleming and I greedily picked the weevils out it and swallowed them whole, while the kitchen slave muttered to us beneath his breath.

‘Confusion still reigns above deck. There is one hell of a tempest brewing.’

Read more...

LAST WEEK OF PRESALES / BROKEN SILENCE

Friday, 11 August 2017

Abel de santiago

 

Hi folks, thought I’d write you all a little update

I've been a bit under the pump during the last month, practically living under a rock like a hermit all over again. I can’t believe that as of 2am tomorrow AEST, there’s just one week left to the close of the three month crowdfunding / presales window!

As you may recall, the crowdfund target of £4000 was achieved in just 5.5 days, thanks…

Birthday Editorial Update

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The bard

Structural report finally received from Unbound Editorial Desk on my birthday (in AEST time)!

Starts off as follows:



"The setting is brilliant. I am a real fan of historical action adventure as a genre, and I have written some myself for the screen. I think that the Armada and the shipwreck and Sevilla before are all brilliant - perfect for this kind of story. So, I absolutely applaud your…

Wolf Country

Monday, 19 June 2017

Wolf 1352242 1920

  

 

A certain Sunday in May found me plonked on the couch in my living room. I was basking in a warm and fuzzy afterglow, with the crowdfunding target of my debut novel ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’ having just been reached in less than a week.

The kids were happily watching Peppa Pig so I decided to check out my novel trailer again on my smartphone, smiling contentedly at the bit towards the end…

PHASE 2

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Phase 2

Breaking: the revised manuscript (MS) has just been sent to Unbound’s editorial team!

With the crowdfund achieved in such spectacular fashion, we now enter Phase 2, or what I have half-jokingly, half-fearfully referred to in recent days as: Literary Boot-Camp!

I had a chat about my aims and hopes with the assigned UK-based structural editor last week, in which he requested that I also forward…

BLINK & 109%

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Armada at sea

Presales still coming through, slowly gathering for the next push of pike! Heartfelt thanks to all generous patrons now including the wonderful Steph Demarco, Daniel Bianchi, Nicky Bianchi, Jan Muscat, Kathrina Farrugia-Kriel, Chris Mifsud, Ricardo Vasquez, Peter Saliba, Lorraine Farrugia, Robert Day, Paul Croci and John Zappia!

Thanks so much guys, cant wait for you all to get your special edition…

Patron Profiles - Sabin Gnawali

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sabin gnawali picture

 

With the crowdfunding target achieved in such a clinical and decisive manner, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to take a closer look at a few of the patrons backing ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’.

First cab off the rank is the Nepalese film director and producer Sabin Gnawali. A principled chap of great endeavour and a fast rising talent in the world of film.

Most patrons and readers…

TARGET REACHED (& FEEDBACK FROM UNBOUND!)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Patrons cheers 1

Another whirlwind day in a campaign that nearly gave me a heart attack! 

100% in 5.5 days. I can't believe it. Actually make that 103%! My head is still spinning, and that's not only from the champers I smashed after work with a few wonderful friends and patrons who also work in the Sydney CBD:

Truly the best thing about writing is the people you meet, as well as the interactions…

DAY 5: HOME STRAIGHT!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Day 5   1

NINETY-FOUR% !!!

A single hour from the end of day 5 and the odds against us have been slashed! A crucial day in the campaign in which the jaw-droppingly generous patronage simply rocketed ahead - we're on the home straight now folks!

Can't really do more to communicate the incredible events of the day than to share the screenshots reflecting today's progress:

 

 

 

! LAST CALL FOR PATRONS !

Monday, 22 May 2017

Bugle

Hi all really don't mean to be pushy but erm...well...we are already at 80% of presales secured so don't say I didn't warn you! :o



Thanks so much Barbara Azzopardi & dear Aunty Doris it just had to be you to issue the bugle blast through cousin Peter! :) xxx

Many thanks again all patrons!!!

 

END OF DAY 4

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Tercio



Hi folks

We're almost at an hour from the end of Day 4, and are at 74%! Just can't believe it!

If someone told me last week that we'd have raised three quarters of the $ by the end of the fourth day of the crowdfunding campaign, I'd have laughed in their face! After all, it was only on Wednesday that I was joking with my dear friend Maty at work: 'I hope that at least my mom buys a copy!'

Unbound & Flying!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

No. 1

Sheesh folks, what a last couple of days it's been!

In ten years of writing I’ve been nowhere near these highs. ‘The Sheriff’s Catch’ is still trending at number 1 on leading UK crowdfunding publisher Unbound’s platform, across all categories which include 375 (published and unpublished) projects.

White hot stuff.

The patronage to date has been quite simply unbelievable. We went live on Unbound…

The Sheriff's Catch - End of Day 2

Friday, 19 May 2017

Tercios

 

Hi all

Just thought I'd take a break from all the non-stop social media jazz to drop you all a line with a good old fashioned, quaint little Unbound update (never thought I'd ever say that about an online post!)

We are now 20 mins away from the end of day 2 since launch and the last couple of days have been...well...a bit silly! I keep telling myself to keep my feet on the ground but trending…

#1 & THE ONE HUNDRED!!!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Unbound txt

 

Hi all

We're 6 hours from the first 48 hours since launch and I've just got to share that not only are we well on our way past the halfway mark, but that we are now up to ONE HUNDRED PATRONS!!!

 

 

But wait, that's not all!

 

We are still trending at NUMBER ONE across ALL categories on UNBOUND! STILL PINCHING MYSELF!!!

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH - A FRIDAY NIGHT TO REMEMBER…

GOODNIGHT & GRATITUDE

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Battle gravelines s



Two minutes to midnight and I'm absolutely shattered after late nights spent preparing everything for the launch of the presales campaign of The Sheriff's Catch. Also two hours short of the first full 24 hours of this campaign and I cannot believe that we are already up to 46% of the crowdfund target! What the hell?!!!

I mean I knew that all of my Maltese, Australian, Kiwi, British etc mates…

JOIN THE THUNDER!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

300px loutherbourg spanish armada

Hello everybody, URGENTLY NEED A HAND!

Would appreciate you taking a second to promote my novel by simply clicking on the below link and then hitting your preferred social media button!

http://thndr.me/rjb8Xt

Only need 54 more clicks to be able to unleash a veritable LIGHTNING BOLT across our vast social media skylines!

COME ON JOIN THE THUNDER!!!

PS and if you can share the…

TWELVE HOURS IN!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Dave

Posted on my social media 6 hours ago today:

Hello all it's a bit past 2pm here in Sydney, 12 hours / literally a half day since launch and already THE SHERIFF'S CATCH has flown out of the blocks sprinting to a THIRD (gulp!) of the required funding to make this dream a reality!

Here I am lunching with generous supporter David Spiteri, now also a patron whose name will be forever inscribed…

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