A novel. 89,000 words. Fiction/fantasy/humour
“Is this story about potty licks?” asked the little girl suspiciously.
“Po-li-tics,” said Grandad. “No, not so’s you’d notice. It’s about Walter and the people he meets.”
In this, the first in a series of tales, the narrator tells the story of Walter and his journey from humble beginnings to the nation’s capital. And yes, it is about politics, but mostly it is about friendships and adventures.
The tale is told to a young girl by her grandfather. She doesn’t understand all the jokes or get all the references but she is a good audience and her questions and observations help to shape Grandad’s world and the characters who live in it.
“Why aren’t there any girls?”
“Well,” said Grandad, “there is a girl, but she doesn’t come in until later in the story.”
“Okay, then what is she doing right now?”
It is set in a world that is recognisable if somewhat different from the one in which we find ourselves. “Grandad knew about electricity but not the two important bits: what it was and how to make it.”
This is the story of the Great Debate:
“The Great Debate” said Grandad “was a competition to see who should run the country and how it should be run. People travelled from far and wide to enter the Great Debate and even more went just to watch. This story is about someone who went to watch. His name is Walter.”
The book contains two main strands. The first is Grandad and the little girl. They set the scene and are thereafter used as natural breaks as the action moves from one storyline to another until they are finally drawn together.
The real story is Walter’s journey to the capital. He travels by foot, stagecoach, steam train, narrowboat and hot air balloon. Other threads to the story involve a touring theatrical company, the outgoing political administration and, as the tale unfolds, several contestants in the Great Debate.
Walter begins with the simple opinion that effort should be rewarded and individuals are responsible for their own destiny. During the course of his travels he discovers it is a little more complicated than that, and luck doesn’t come into it.