In October I was fortunate enough to hear Chris Priestley speak at the FlipSide festival at Snape Maltings where he read a few pages of his book The Wickford Doom — and found it compulsively chilling!
This tale of terror is set during the Second World War and centres around a boy whose father is sadly killed whilst serving in the army. The boy Harry dreams of a new life whilst whiling away his school days playing football and comforting his mother. Then a strange solicitor arrives with news of a family inheritance — Wickford Hall on the Suffolk Coast.
Harry and his mum travel to view their new home only to discover that the Wickford Hall no longer exists having fallen into the sea forty years ago. Who has tricked them into coming to Suffolk and what strange power does a long ago destroyed ‘Doom Painting’ hold over Harry?
Chris Priestley explained that his book was inspired by the story of the village of Dunwich in Suffolk which fell into the sea during a series of great storm centuries ago. The book also contains many other local references for eagle-eyed readers to spot.
The Wickford Doom is a chilling tale to be enjoyed by readers aged from 9 to 90, and especially when read together. Apparently you can still hear the Dunwich church bells ring under the waves on a quiet day…
The Wickford Doom by Chris Priestly with illustrations by Vladimir Stankovic.
Approximately 100 pages with illustrations, dyslexia friendly, Ages 9+, published by Barrington Stokes.