Publication Date is this week for The Dove Is Dead, the last bird in the Unholy Trinity. The idea of having the covers to my novels forming a mini-aviary only came to me with the publication of the second book, No Precedent, the themes of which both included and foreshadowed death. A crow in a graveyard thus seemed entirely appropriate, particularly as in the very first scene Bob and Paul bump into one another while visiting their parents’ graves. Enemies in their youth, their bad relationship is redeemed by this encounter.
The budgie in the first book was originally only thought of as a one-off. This idea came from the wartime tale of my grandparents teaching their budgie Tinker to say Where’s Sailor Jack? when my Dad, first name Jack despite being christened John, was enlisted in the Navy for the duration. I seized on Tinker’s words. The title represents all that came before the action of the novel starts in 1945, both events and the people, which have otherwise been lost in time.
These two birds were hauntingly and brilliantly illustrated by Gracie Carver, who has done the same fine job for The Dove is Dead, the last book in the Trilogy. So many people have congratulated me for the covers, far more than those who mention the quarter of a million words I hacked out. A picture is clearly worth well more than a thousand words. By the third book, the series as the Trinity was inevitable. With the chaotic backdrop of western civilisation falling apart, the still, small voice of calm drowned out everywhere, the third bird just had to be to the Dove. Yes, and how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand? I saw the image of the holy Spirit lying on a deserted beach, inert, eyes closed. Just sleeping, or was she dead? I didn’t and don’t know.
So, there we are: provided, pardoned and guided, as Lead us heavenly father has it. Early Dylan and Anglican hymn have been brought together by the last Victorian who is also the first baby boomer. It’s a pity the hymn was written in 1821when George IV was king, but Victoria had been born. It nearly works.
But are we still being guided? Is the way we’ve treated this planet unpardonable? Will it stop providing for us? I’m just one of the many folk who mucked it up. I wish those who follow us good luck.