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Comments and Reviews About Splinters the Novel

Fiona-JosephFiona Joseph :-

“Know your genre and keep to it” is the warning often given to aspiring authors. In his first novel, Splinters, Tony Sheppard appears not to have heeded this advice. Part family saga, part cat-and-mouse thriller, and part fantasy with a strong element of the supernatural – it shouldn’t succeed and yet it does, quite brilliantly.

An oak tree is struck by lightning and the story unfolds. We meet a host of characters, seeming unconnected, yet just wait a while and their significance is revealed. Midway through, the book becomes a thriller. Imagine John Grisham on speed and you get the idea. The ingredients include: grand-scale villainy by the CIA, human cloning for a dastardly purpose, a high body count, and all the while the clock is ticking, counting down to the final confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

It sounds contrived, so how does Sheppard manage to produce a satisfying read? The answer is that we care about the characters. The Clayton family – Terry, Joan and their children, Ester, Andrew and Margaret – are central to the story, and they are drawn with affection and at times grim humour. Even the ones that we meet briefly, such as Adam Gibson, or Malcolm Lane, have their stories told with compassion.

This is a book which should be read widely, especially by adult readers who normally skip past the fantasy/sci-fi category. By breaking the rules, Tony Sheppard has created a novel that is stunningly original, bold and thought-provoking”.

Fiona Joseph is a writer based in Birmingham UK. A former university lecturer and textbook writer who now runs an educational publishing company, Flo-Joe. She also writes short stories and biographies. A graduate of Birmingham City University’s Diploma in Writing, run in association with the National Academy of Writing. During her time on the course she was awarded the NAW/BCU Prize for Fiction.

shirley thompsonShirley Thompson :-

“A thought-provoking, yet adult thriller/fantasy, about how the memories of the dead affect the lives of the living, after being returned to earth via a bolt of lighting which strikes the great oak tree. Esther, the beautiful heroine, overcomes tragedy and adversity, to reach an unknown destiny. It’s Armageddon, The Ant and The Grasshopper and D H Lawrence all rolled into one, and can be read on many different levels. As readers, it leads us to question the hedonistic “live now, pay later” aspects of our lives, and to wonder about how events in Tony Sheppard’s own life have resulted in this compelling book with such true-to-life characters.’ Put everything on hold… this is a real page turner! ”

Shirley Thompson is currently a biographer, but also writes fiction, magazine articles, lyrics, poetry and screenplays.

Sue Browning :- “A unique idea with a compelling theme, which will resonate with many who are concerned about morality and integrity in an ever increasingly materialistic world – or who just want a good read.  The descriptions, like the one of the storm that felled the Great Oak, and the final battle, are brilliant, with great use of evocative words.” Sue Browning is a Copy Editor and Lecturer at Birmingham University

“I couldn’t even put it down to make a cup of tea!”

Anne Clarke, Proofreader

“A clever and startlingly original read. Imaginative and compulsive to the extent that one was unable to function normally until the last page was read. Totally absorbing. Loved it.”

– Anne

I want to know how a man could know so much about how a woman feels. Very sexy, but well written. Terrific read.

– Olga

My secretary and I ended up fighting over it. Please send me another!

– Mrs. Bhavana Hill

I had to miss Coronation Street to carry on reading it; it tells you how good it is.  By the way, I happened to be listening to a CD of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ on the headphones in the ‘Final Battle’ between good and evil. It made the hairs on the back of neck stand up. Cracking read.

– Joan

A very believable concept which captures the imagination: good characters and absolutely readable

– B.H. Hur

The CIA will be after you.

– Henry

This is a woman’s book

– Isobella Self (Chairwoman of the Birmingham Writers Group)

Delightfully written. Better than some of the prize winning novels I have read.

– Irene Moss

A good storyline. I liked the idea of the great oak tree, and the splinters, and Tony Sheppard writes in such a way that I could actually visualise the different situations throughout.

– Jackie Scott

Please send another copy. I took mine on holiday to Cyprus on a visit to my son, and he would not give it back!

– Nigel Crane

I took it to bed thinking I would read a chapter or two, but I couldn’t stop reading the damn thing. It was 3.a.m. before I could put it down. So tired I just fell asleep. Please send a copy to my sister, Debbie, in Australia (address enclosed). Brilliant book!

– Chrissie

I found it a very good story. Some of it I know to be true. It brings to mind many things that are happening in the world today. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and my son is now reading it. Well done.

– Margaret Harper

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  1. Irene Moss says:

    I think your style of writing is delightful, Tony. Much more enjoyable than some of the prize winning novels I have read lately. I do have one query; why did you chose Esther as your heroine? Thanks,
    Ree-nee Moss

    • Tony says:

      The characters in Splinters are based on people I know, or have known, Ree-nee. Ordinary people, who are my heroes in life. Sometimes, such as with Christ, they give their lives for others. Esther represents their indomitable spirit; their absolute refusal to give in, even when in danger of losing their lives. Eve could have been my main character; or Michael or even the bench the souls inhabit. Call me mischievous if you will, but I felt that my main character needed to be really up against it. That is why I cast her as beautiful, and took away her fame and fortune. Hope that answers your question,
      Tony Sheppard

  2. Jan says:

    Splinters brings modern day characters into the ancient story theme of good battling evil, and adds its own great concept of the souls in the oak tree.

    So the question is, Tony, how do follow this up?

    • Tony says:

      I’m chuffed that you like the concept, Jan. There’s a story about how it came to me, too. Follow up? Well, I hanker to know how Carrie gets on in L.A, and Ricky has the contents of Margaret’s shoebox to sort through. And there’s Branston’s Will, of course. There’s a lot of money at stake, now he’s gone. Mrs Harvey won the leather-bound copy, by the way. Better luck next time. Happy Christmas everyone.

      Tony S

  3. Christine Clarke says:

    Have read some sample chapters of this novel and think it is very thought provoking. I know Tony as we go to the same church.

  4. joan.hicken says:

    such an interesting book, could not put it down,hope there is a follow up.would like to find out more about what is in this shoe box.