Putney Waste Land

Win a signed copy of local author Simon Acland's new novel "The Waste Land"

“Highly original and a most enjoyable read.” Tim Waterstone

The Waste Land will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone with a taste for rollicking adventure laced with a subtle dose of literary learning.” Douglas Hurd


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Q: Hugh de Verdon is a knight but what was his former calling?

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Local Putney author Simon Acland has published his new novel, The Waste Land. The novel is not set in Putney, and as a result the title is not a rude reference to the delightful area in which he has lived for the last sixteen years. It is in fact an allusion to the famous TS Eliot poem and the action ranges from France to Constantinople, Antioch and Jerusalem, not to mention Alamut, the headquarters of the sinister Assassins sect.

The Waste Land chronicles the adventures of Hugh de Verdon, monk turned knight, during the extraordinary historical events of the First Crusade. The story is based on a mysterious manuscript discovered by the dons of St Lazarus’ College, Oxford.

Simon had twenty-five years as a venture capitalist backing high technology businesses. The sale of his firm in 2007 gave him the opportunity to do something completely different. The Waste Land is the product of several overlapping interests: fascination with the original twelfth century grail romances as a result of studying French at Oxford, enthusiasm for the meanings and origins of ancient myths and legends, and awe for T S Eliot’s genius in blending these elements together and giving them universal meaning. His first novel also betrays his suspicion of organised religion, his interest in medieval history and his enjoyment of adventure stories in the old style.

Charlwood Books, the publishing imprint behind this novel, is named after the Putney street in which it is located. The Waste Land is its first title.

Simon Acland expects to be signing copies of his book in Waterstone’s in Putney Exchange at various times over coming weeks. He attributes his success in completing his first book entirely to the peace and quiet of his writing shed at the end of his Putney garden.

May 9, 2010