Luke Conway is a schoolboy who struggles academically, but has a close affinity with nature and the outdoor life. This leads him to trespass on the Cordenwood estate, where Thornton is the feared and respected head gamekeeper. He is also a veteran of the Falklands War, whose psychological scars he is struggling to overcome. With the help of Angie Neale, the beautiful but lonely Careers Co-ordinator at Luke’s school, Thornton and Luke are thrown together in work on a student placement scheme on the Cordenwood estate. However, disaster strikes, and Luke finds himself seriously injured and close to death. Will Thornton, haunted by his past, finally subdue his demons and make the right moves in rescuing Luke?
Phil Clarke’s gripping first novel explores the inner strength and human spirit of two very different individuals, and how they combine to overcome the traumas of war and social disadvantage across the generations. As a bitter winter wind sweeps across the estate, the ruthless leader of a gang of professional poachers threatens to destroy everything, with Thornton’s long-repressed nightmare now looming large and casting its shadow over every exciting page, right up to the climax at the deer shelter.
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