Hampshire indie Chaplin Books is to publish The Road to Apple Dumpling Bridge, a YA debut in which woodland creatures run the world.
The book, by K L Knowles, is set in an alternative Gosport and Portsmouth in 1939; the country is on the brink of war, but not a human one. People have been killed off by a spread of cholera, replaced by animals: the conflict is instigated by an evil grey squirrel, Admiral Gizor, who invades Gosport to exterminate its red squirrels and take possession of an ancient relic he believes is hidden there. But Agathy Mumby, a feisty red squirrel, joins a small band of resistance fighters.
Apple Dumpling Bridge is a real place, spanning the River Alver in Gosport.
Knowles is a social worker for Hampshire County Council. She commented: “Although the book’s characters are all animals, I wanted it to be an adventure story that included some dark elements too. By setting the story in 1939, I was able to mirror some of the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust, though in a parallel world.”
The Road to Apple Dumpling Bridge will be published on 5th September (p/b, £9.99), and is already available as an e-book.