by Linda Chamberlain
Today’s blog gives you a rest from horses in favour of writing. This is because I have accepted a challenge to post seven lines from a book I’m working on –starting from either line seven or seventy seven. On their own they might not make much sense so I will fill you in on the story so far since this is a novel.
It begins in the year 1795, two years after the opening of England’s first veterinary college. We were at war with France and there were complaints in Parliament that more horses were being lost through ill treatment and ignorance than there were in the war. Even then we were a nation of so-called animal lovers but a lame horse would be sent to the forge for cures or operations. They were often butchered.
Who would lead this fledging institution? The first professor was a Frenchman who died suddenly and left the college bereft so the governors recruited a young surgeon for the role. As you will see, the hero of my book didn’t think much of him.
Over to my protagonist – a young student who became a notable veterinarian and prolific writer and campaigner…
‘But why listen to me? One anxious student who feared he would close this place down in his quest for self enrichment. You need to meet him yourself. Edward Coleman, the eminent professor of the country’s first veterinary college. Make up your own mind whether his actions were those of a good man or whether you agree with me that his contribution to our cause was an unmitigated evil. He was a man of good taste; a surgeon who surprisingly knew little of the horse beyond the fact that it walked on four legs, breathed through its nose and made a delightful subject for a painting in oils.’
The book entitled The First Vet is with my editor as we speak and will be published later this year. It’s a blend of fact and fiction inspired by his life and work and is full of intrigue, forbidden love and well…horses, I suppose. For now, I’m keeping my protagonist’s name under wraps. Anyone who correctly names him gets a free copy once it’s on the shelves!
The seven-lines challenge was passed to me by Alison Morton, author of the Roma Nova thrillers Inceptio and Perfiditus. Her latest novel Successio is out now. I’m happy to pass the baton to any other writers out there ???