1914. Jimmy Ford is an inimitable, spontaneous, deep-thinking twelve-year-old boy living in Brentwood, Essex during the breakout of World War One. Jimmy is a dreamer, a charming boy, curious about the world outside his small town. With his infectious nature and ubiquitous thirst for adventure, he spends his guiltless days with his best friend, playing and exploring the world outside.
Whilst collecting the treasures that soldiers discard from under the railway viaduct, Jimmy and his friend Wilfred read a letter that takes them on an adventure to the local asylum. Jimmy soon learns that this adventure isn’t quite as appealing as he first thought…
1917. Jimmy Ford, dressed in the uniform of his country, awakes to find himself confined to an asylum. Flitting between the asylum walls and the outdoor serenity of his childhood of 1914, the novel explores the human compulsion to survive; how we bear loss; and how, in the face of adversity, overcoming fear, finding love and living a fulfilled life is still what we strive for.
Luke Butler graduated with a degree in Film Studies & Animation from Roehampton University. He moved to Brentwood, Essex and lived in a converted chapel on the grounds of an old asylum, which is where the inspiration to write his debut novel came from. Almost the entirety of the novel is set in the area in or surrounding the old asylum. Luke now runs his own video production company based in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where he currently lives. He has a passion for story-telling and has nine years of experience across film, TV and video.
Luke says, “I have always been fascinated and somewhat romanticised by war and mental health. My wife studied psychology and worked in mental health for some time following graduation. Combining these two fields of interest is where the idea for the novel was born. This, and the grave of a shell-shocked soldier outside our front door, got me pondering of the futility of both.”