Introducing my New Book....
The Extraordinary Adventures of an English Setter Pack
'YOUR DOG' MAGAZINE RECOMMENDED READ! (SEPT. 2010)
Publication date: 25th April, 2010 Price £6.99 (all proceeds of this book to ESA & Setter Rescue)
It was lovely to meet so many of you at the very successful launch of 'Moon Map' at the
English Setter Association Championship Breed Show at Stonleigh Park.
If you couldn't make the show, you can purchase the book
from Amazon (click on link at head of this page)
or direct from the publisher Pendragon Press Ltd (click on the link below)
(they are waiving all discount on this book so that all proceeds go to charity)
Are you a Setter lover? Or simply a book lover? Whatever, I'd love to hear from you! (click on the link below)
Warning! This book will change the way you view dogs - and Life!
And the book? Well, let me assure you straight off that this is not a ‘how to’ book only suitable for 'Setter people' or even doggy folks in general. No, you will certainly not find here chapters on rearing, feeding and showing etc, but what you will find is a story about my own Setter pack and their exciting adventures. These are inspired by real-life dramatic situations, but are taken over by the Setters themselves - and well, anything can happen - so be prepared for their spooky tales with a liberal sprinking of magic! For instance some of you may already have made the acquaintance of Grey Pelt - he appears briefly in 'Dark Star' and has long been known to me here at my wild Lakeland home and believe me, I treat him with respect!
So through their magical adventures, I try to explore how these ancient ancestors still influence their lives today. (I can here some of you saying 'not so different after all). It's true, many of the elements of my other books are here too; substitute canines for humans and you have it! Moreover this is not a straightforward history by me of our Setter family. In fact, I play a very small part in the process! The overall narrator is Ben, an English Setter known and loved by many. In relating the adventures of the pack Ben - and also his progeny - will share with you insights into Setter hearts, minds and souls in true storytelling tradition. This then is their book, a book about Setters told by Setters to keep the Pack Chronicles alive. So in addition to their daily exploits, be prepared for their myths and legends and a sprinkling of Setter magic!
Whilst knowing a book about the Setters had become a ‘must’ I had been struggling with the writing of it. Lying in bed one night, I heard
the following opening lines so clearly that I knew I had found my narrator.
Probably the best way to give you the flavour is to offer a little taster.
So this is how the book opens:
Hi, pleased to meet you…
My name is Ben and I am an English setter and famous Show Champion of my time. Although I passed over the Rainbow Bridge some years ago, because of a love stronger than death I’m allowed to tell my story. Long before I came to live with our human Pack Leaders (they are known as the Alpha Pair) they gave a home to my ancestors and then to my family after me so I’m entrusted with organising their adventures too. You see my time span now is different to yours; I can travel to and fro through the years and talk with those who died before I was born and also those who followed on. Left to themselves English Setters are an unruly lot, and without me to organise them you would soon be lost in the tangle of their tales. I have to keep an eye on them too because some of their adventures are rather scary, and as Setters are known for being O.T.T. I can’t have them frightening you to death! I admit Grey Pelt is a tad Serious, but as he also does Ancient Trickster nothing is as it seems. Who or what is Grey Pelt? I hear you wondering. Sorry, I can only say he haunts Setter dreams and the pages of this book, but you’ll have to read on and find him for yourself….
…Now I’m going to take you back to the beginning to meet Flossie and Fenella the First, the Founder Members of our Pack (in Part Two the present Pack members tell their own tales - under my supervision of course!). I shall begin by telling you the story of how the two met, and of Flossie’s perilous night on Pennystone Rock…
Here is a taster of Ben telling Flossie’s tale:
...I have survived she thought, and am in with a chance.
The rush of strength and hope that came with that thought was destined not to last. Her coat was sodden, the wind-chill mounting with the incoming tide and her body was seriously cold. There was a danger now of slipping into a death-sleep. To add to the misery the tide was bringing in rain, and the wind lashed icy needles into her face. Painfully she pulled herself up into a crouch and looked around in terror. Pennystone Rock was cut off from the world. There was nothing and nobody – only miles of rolling white-capped waves as far as the eye could see in that fitful moonlight, and beyond that the thick, lonely dark. The sea surged, sucked and swirled halfway up the rock and was still rising.
Then Flossie was struck by a chilling thought. Shivering with something more than cold now, she raised her head to the night and her fear was realised. That fat moon was at the full and that meant a high tide. Pennystone Rock, she knew from what Fenella had said, would disappear beneath the waves. As though to stress the danger, the moon dipped behind the boiling clouds and the blackness was sudden and terrifying. The thudding, sucking and whooshing of waves breaking on rock filled her with panic. Her heart ached in her chest. The darkness at sea emphasised the rows of lights twinkling along the distant shoreline. There lay people, warmth and safety but she was totally excluded; nobody knew she was there, nobody cared. Not even as that poor neglected pup had she felt so alone or afraid. It was an unbearable end, to die out there alone in the dark and be sucked beneath the cold heaving sea, and all the more tragic coming as it did at the start of a wonderful new life. If only she had not bolted; if only she had trusted Alpha, if only….if only….
So who or what can save Flossie? What will be her fate?
Sorry folks, you'll have to buy a copy in order to find out! (all proceeds to ESA & Setter Rescue, remember)
But on a more cheerful note, here is a short excerpt from the beginning of Part Two introduced by Ben:
…Follow me once more into the dusky kitchen of the Pack’s Lakeland home and tiptoe past the Aga with towels steaming on its rail and on to the darkened Doggy-den… Hear the little grunts and sighs and whispers as the four Setters within stretch out on their backs, feet in air, or curl one into another like spoons in a cutlery drawer. Lean inside a little further, look down on the scene below and listen:
“Don’t be precious darling!” The dark-pelted ‘blue’ who had spoken rolled from his spread-eagled position on his back to sit upright, then sniggered and waved one of his front paws in the air, the long feathers of his foreleg falling in graceful folds like lace from a dandy’s ruff.
“I’m embarrassed. You know how sensitive I am Cousin Clifford.”
Destiny, a plump little ‘blue’ simpered and turned her head away whilst breathing a theatrical sigh.
Clifford snorted. “You, sensitive? Yes, so I’ve noticed when you’re beating up your brother!”
“Only because I let her!” D’Arcy raised an indignant broad head darkened by rain and glossy from brushing. Although he was now far bigger than his litter sister they were so close and their markings so alike that they were still known as The Twins.
“Anyway, lay off Cliff, she’s probably feeling a tad, you know - female.” D’Arcy added in a loud whisper.
Destiny, far from being pleased by this knowledgeable support turned and snapped,
“Mind your mouth Bro! What can you know about it? ”
“Pardon me for speaking,” D’Arcy muttered, turning his back on his sister to whisper in Clifford’s ear, “Not a lot really, but I’ve heard
Alpha-She say it, so it must be right.”…..
And a short time later….
D’Arcy fell silent and gave Clifford an expressive look. He knew why he was being forbidden to tell the story; it was too scary for bedtime. The boys and Destiny closed their eyes and the sound of their regular breathing filled the room. About ten minutes later Miss Tickle’s eyes closed, her lips parted and she began to snore. The youngsters’ eyes opened and they sat up and gathered in a furtive little group. They all started nervously as the wind hurled a fistful of rain and sent it rattling against the window.
“Okay,” D’Arcy began in a hoarse whisper, “it goes like this…..”
and a brief taste of D'Arcy's tale...
Hushwing. I had heard about her too. Just as Grey Pelt reigned over forest and fell, so Hushwing-Ghost-Owl haunted the midnight sky. Legend has it she is ancient and wise, and swift to avenge any wrong. I cowered close to the ground as the white-owl wove in and out of the branches tangled against the midnight sky. Then another sound make my ears tremble. I stopped and listened, and sure enough heard my sister’s faint and fearful cry.
I pushed myself on and half-crawled, half-ran up that desolate slope and into the forest. The shadows were even deeper here, the shapes of the boulders all the more scary for what they might hide. Droplets of mist-turned-water clung to my coat and trembled on my lashes so that the shapes that I could see were blurred. Then I heard it: a slow but insistent pad-pant, pad-pant, pad, pad pad-pant, behind me in the bushes. Slow and spaced out; this was one big beast. I froze, and a vice like the ones in the wood shed squeezed my heart until it hurt in my chest. It drew closer pad-pant, pad-pant, pad-pad-pant and then another sound, the rasp of hot breath so loud and close I could almost see the clouds of white rising on the cold night air.
It was at my back and coming closer, and I slipped and slid on that slope until I thought I would slither all the way down to land at the feet of the beast. I sank to the earth till my belly was resting on twisted roots and my nostrils were filled with leaf mould. My head sank between my paws and the dank mist swirled inside my head, filling my mind with darkness and despair and the worst nightmares a pup could imagine. My eyelids drooped and my chest hurt when I tried to breathe. Without hope now I waited for the end, for ripping of claws and tearing of teeth, for the unseen beast to pounce...
...A pitiful whimper close by brought my head back up with a jerk.
“Destiny!” I whispered, sniffing the night, and there it was, her Setter-sister scent mingled with misery and terror...
But to end on a gentler note...
Gladerunner was a friend of Fenella the Second, and he learned of her courage during her chilling encounter with Grey Pelt (she was the first to ecounter this awesome creature) - so the Setters were honoured with the friendship of future generations of deer.
So folks: whatever your age, whether or not you have read my previous books, why not give this one a try?
It's a cracking good read with page-turner adventures and my pack are longing to meet you! Furthermore:
Its in a good cause!
All proceeds of this book are to go to the English Setter Association & Setter Rescue
You've been great at supporting me in the past - so please, rally round now!
Thank you, and very best wishes......Nina
©Nina Green February 2010