Following a horrific experience at Verdun, Private Tommy Catkins – shell shocked and suffering head injuries – is sent to a mysterious island hospital in Wiltshire, where he is subjected to the primitive treatments of the era. But the island appears to be a portal to the enigmatic land of Onderwater, where lives a race of blue-skinned people with tails. Will Tommy be tempted by Onderwater, or will the love of Nurse Vann pull him back to reality, and recovery?
Published by Infinity Plus Books, July 2018.
Some early details here.
‘This isn’t a comfortable read. It’s a haunting and deeply uneasy book that won’t offer you tidy solutions. If you’re looking for uncomplicated escapism, this isn’t it, but it is a book that can speak in some unsettling ways to that urge for escapism.’ – Nimue Brown (Asylum Steampunk Festival, and more).
‘… the moving account of a soldier sent home from the battlefields of the first world war with what we’d now call post-traumatic stress disorder… This is the story of a young man teetering on the brink of breakdown, and an examination of the tragic impact of conflict on an individual and those around him.’ – Eric Brown (the Guardian).
‘Thrilling, sad story about a strange corner of history and a mesmerising imaginary world.’ – amazon
‘… I really liked its blending of historical reality and whimsical – but sinister – fantasy. It’s an enjoyable and ultimately unsettling story, that (much like its hero!) defies easy analysis. Recommended.’ – Toby Frost (SFF Chronicles).
‘It was fitting that in the centenary of the end of the Great War, Stephen Palmer should release Tommy Catkins (Infinity Plus), which sees a soldier sent home from the front with shell shock. While recuperating in an experimental hospital, he begins to see glimpses of a parallel world. His fellow patients are strange and otherworldly and he’s promised refuge in this alternate dimension – for, of course, a price. Tommy Catkins is a thoughtful look at the fraying of a battle-broken mind.’ – Ian O’Doherty (Irish Independent 2018 Best Reads).