Unsettling things are afoot in a sleepy Cornish village. Strangers are hanging about the harbour and a mysterious object is retrieved from the sea bed. Then the locals start getting sick.
Could this have anything to do with the alluringly beautiful Ruth who local lifeboatman Steve has taken a shine to … or could the other stranger, a man calling himself the Doctor, be somehow involved? And why is Ruth both drawn and terrified by the sea?
The Doctor is perhaps the only person who can help, but can he discover the truth in time?
Published 27 February 2003
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“For as long as I can remember, my two greatest dreams were to be a teller of stories, and to live in Cornwall. I achieved the first of those ambitions in 1973, at the age of 20, when my first fantasy novel, The Book of Paradox, was published in the USA and Britain. I’ve since published more than fifty novels, and the ideas are still flowing as strongly as ever. Then in 1998, I finally fulfilled my second dream, when I moved with my artist partner, Cas Sandall, to the north Cornish coast.
But to basics: I was born in Hertfordshire on 29th May 1952, and am a typical scatterbrained Gemini. I spent most of my school years writing stories when I should have been concentrating on lessons, and by the time I left school I had completed two embarrassingly bad novels. I worked, firstly, as a secretary (again, writing stories when I should have been typing letters) and later, after moving to London, as a paperback blurb-writer, which was much more my sort of thing. In 1977, with 6 novels published (if not exactly best-sellers!) I went freelance, and supplemented my writing income with copy-editing and proofreading.
My ‘big break’ came in 1984, when my then agent persuaded me to expand and re-write my second book, Lord of No Time, into a trilogy – The Time Master. To my delight, and with the boost of three stunning Robert Gould covers, Time Master was a great success on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the next 10 years I wrote and published 15 more fantasy novels, including the Indigo series and a “prequel” and sequel to Time Master. I also started to write children’s and Young Adult novels, and it astonishes me to look back and realise that I’ve completed 20-odd books in this field, as well as another four adult fantasy novels. Makes me wonder how I ever found time to eat and sleep!
I do make time for other things now, though. Cas and I met in 1994, and soon agreed that, much as we loved London, it was no longer the place for us. We moved to Worcestershire, where I have family, but we hankered after the sea. I suspect we’ve both got a good helping of salt water in our veins as well as blood – Cas used to be a senior Merchant Navy officer, and me; well, I’m at my best and happiest at the coast. So why resist the inevitable? We did what we had both always wanted to do: headed South-West.
Cornwall has a magical quality of its own, and is now truly home to us both. We married within a year of moving here, and we live within sound of the sea and ten minutes’ walk of the beach, in a timber house with our deaf, eccentric white cat, Spike, an old car, a small sailing dinghy, a garden full of plants and wildlife, and a lot of inspiration. When I’m not writing, I love to cook, sing (pretty good), play guitar (not bad) or piano (hmm, well…), garden, beachcomb, catch tiddlers in rock pools (I’m old enough now not to worry about seeming childish; if anyone looks askance, I just pretend I’m a marine biologist doing vital research!), go sailing with Cas (he’s good at it, I’m a muddle-headed beginner, but I will get there) and mess around in the surf with my boogie-board when the water’s warm enough. Inspiration: yes, there’s plenty of it. Enough to keep me writing well into my dotage. Which I fully intend to do.”
Publishers’ note: sadly, Louise Cooper died on 21 October 2009.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Fred Gambino was born in Derby in the late fifties. He studied graphic design at the Kedleston Road School of Art and Technology (now Derby University).
A school boy fan of TV science fiction, including the early Doctor Who series and the Gerry Anderson puppet shows, a career involving science fiction in some way seemed inevitable.
Upon leaving college he earned a living delivering groceries in the morning and worked on his paintings in the afternoon. During this period he was introduced to David Larkin at Pan Books, who gave him much useful advice.
His first commissioned cover was Beneath the Shattered Moons in the mid ’70s.
In 1984 a series of covers for Orbit Books (then the SF and Fantasy list of Macdonald Futura, now that of Little Brown) kick started his career which has followed a more or less upward trend ever since.
Like many artists today, Fred has recently added computer-generated illustration techniques to his accomplished techniques with acrylics and airbrushing.
Recently he has made a move into film and tv, doing conceptual designs and backgrounds for the Oscar nominated film, Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius and similar work for a proposed childrens science fiction TV series.
He lives with his partner Jenny in Derbyshire.