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On The Table Read, “the best book magazine in the UK“, The First Canary by Sheldon Baverstock follows friends growing up in South Africa, and the impact of the country’s politics on their young lives.
The First Canary
Set in Sheldon Baverstock’s home country, South Africa, The First Canary is about three young friends who think nothing more than about playing football and hanging out. However, a chain reaction of their country’s politics sets the trio on journeys that change their lives and perceptions of South Africa forever.
As shocking as it is entertaining, The First Canary is a character driven and substantive book which captures the essence of friendship, set against a backdrop of conscription, child soldiers, foster homes, life-threatening illness and extraordinary circumstances.
Sheldon Baverstock combines his understanding of the polical system under which he was born and raised, with an appreciation for the relationships we enjoy with friends and family, finding that these connections make an endless source of material for a novel.
Synopsis Of The First Canary
‘Before the first canary comes down…’
When they first met, the three young boys carried footballs; played soccer in the backyard together. But as young adults, their country’s political situation dictates very different paths for the three friends.
The First Canary is an extraordinary and epic tale of interweaving lives, self-discovery and friendship persevering despite the odds. Set in war-torn South Africa, the story follows a whole host of connected characters, from unwilling conscripts Cliff and Zeb, to Brenda, who is determined to find her birth parents, to Josh, an aspiring journalist whose dreams are threatened by a terrifying diagnosis.
“Family ties and bonds of brotherhood that span across decades lie at the heart of this story, and it is impossible not to become immersed in the lives of the characters and the events that play out.”
“The three friends meet up again when they least expect it, and their training and their part in the conflict teach them a great deal about their relationships with each other and others they meet during this time. They are exposed to one bizarre situation after another; often humorous, sometimes scary, and one turns deadly when an irate instructor, Cliff’s nemesis, steps on an anti-personnel mine.
“But the ‘war’ they all thought they were being trained for ends up not on a battlefield in the bush or another country but in a high-density downtown suburb of a Johannesburg, where the most important influencer is a twelve-year-old activist turned child soldier, with a child army of five hundred roaming the town.”
About Sheldon Baverstock
Sheldon Baverstock was born and raised in South Africa, and began writing towards the end of a long and successful career in IT. After many years in SA, tenures with various global IT companies saw the family set up new homes in England, New Zealand and Australia where they currently reside.
His family, including two daughters and two sons, prompted him to finally write his debut novel, One Black Ear, the book he had been threatening to write for many years.
“I guess they just got tired of hearing about it and suggested I put my money where my mouth was,” said Sheldon Baverstock. “I sometimes look at the time and think, OK half an hour more and then it’s time for a break only to find two hours have passed when I next check the time. Well, you know what they say; you can’t learn to write unless you write. And keep on writing.”
Sheldon believes it’s the opportunity to use words in a way that enables readers to create their own images, their own pictures as they read, that gives him the greatest pleasure. In the ideal world the best review of one’s book would be to see into the mind of your reader as they read, to see the movie they are creating from the words.
Find more from Sheldon Baverstock now:
Published by Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, The First Canary (ISBN: 978-1-80378-083-2) is published on 22nd November 2022 and is available in paperback and Kindle format.
Facebook: Sheldon Baverstock
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