The setting: North Norfolk - Burnham-Overy-Staithe, to be precise.
This headland has forever been exposed to the merciless North Sea, its flood tides, its storm surges, and waves of a different sort. Award-winning author and documentary-maker Jim Ring explains to a rapt audience that the area has been subject to wave after wave of invasion - from Roman, to Saxon, to Viking, to the threats posed by Napoleon and the Dutch. It is where Nelson learned to sail, where Hitler's Germany planned to invade. And it is the setting for Jim's brilliant debut novel, a dystopian historical fantasy thriller that posits a successful invasion of Britain in 1940.
Jim's in full flow, opining on the ease with which the Germans really could have invaded, when there's a thunderous knock at the door. Two men bring in a crate, draped in a German military flag. The men disappear. Only after Jim's talk is over does the audience see the contents of the crate: the first print run of Queen's Ransom.
Jim signs dozens of copies, snapped up by his eager readers. And, it seems, they're just the first in the queue...
"We've had interest from two Hollywood producers already," says Wet Zebra editor, Martin Baker.
"Moreover, we've had a nibble from a publishing house on the other side of the Pond. That may not be unconnected to the fact that one of the heroes of the book is Joe Kennedy, oldest son of Joseph P Kennedy (an ambassador to the Court of St James with somewhat suspect allegiances). Joe was the older brother of JFK, and emerges from the story as a hero. In reality, of course, Joe Kennedy was killed in the war."
Signed copies of this first edition of Queen's Ransom are available at £15, including postage, whether or not they become a collectors' item (Jim's early non-fiction work, Riviera, currently sells for £500 for a first edition).
Please use the Contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure a copy. Cheques payable to Wet Zebra Ltd.