Book Jacket


rank 693
word count 12125
date submitted 11.04.2010
date updated 12.04.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: moderate

The Gardener


A global disaster takes everyone Alan loves, while giving him a chance to discover the truth behind his father’s death. What will he do?


Mid 90-ies, Great Britain

Professor Tony Walker, a nuclear physicist and an outspoken supporter of the global warming theory, dies in an explosion that resulted from carelessness during a routine experiment. He goes, leaving behind a grieving wife and an eight-year-old son, Alan.

Present days

Alan Walker, despite being diagnosed with asthma at a young age, gets a place on the British Olympic team, due to swim for his country at the London 2012 Olympics. However, all his hopes are destroyed when a global disaster – a massive tidal wave that consumes most of Europe – strikes on Christmas Eve one year before the Games. Alan survives, but the wrath of nature, something his father predicted all those years ago, takes everyone dear to him.

As part of a global aid mission, Alan ends up in California continuing his University studies, while earning a living as a gardener. It is while creating a magnificent garden – a small tribute to his mother – that he learns the truth about what happened on that fatal Christmas Eve, the truth about people he came to trust. But will his knowledge be enough? And will he get a chance get his life back?

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global warming, nanotechnology, olympics, suspense

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Huseyin Angay wrote 1320 days ago

Intriguing plot. Eco-thrillers are vey fashionable nowadays, so this could go a long way of you addressed the issues with the writing.

I like your quirky use of the language but the typos and the odd grammatical slip-ups will need ironing out -- especially with the inconsistent past tense use. ('Some of people were sleeping...'; '... as soon as he was clear of the doors, the slammed shut...', 'smacked of chaos theory, ..., which jad never been' and so on)

Details that you might want to fix:
- Nobody checks tickets on the underground. In theory they could, but I've never seen it happen. The turnstiles take care of that.
- Platforms may possibly have numbers, but nobody looks at those. People just follow the signs for the lines.
- Most English (in fact, most British) boys would say Grandad, not Grandpa.
- Do they give kids medicals before competitions? I know it's there to establish the patronising and nepetistic attitude of the grandfather, but could there be a more natural means to do that?

The style goes from matter-of-fact to flowery from paragraph to paragraph. Maybe a bit more consitency would help. For instance, when you compare the students leaving the class to river tributaries, the flowery language seems out of place.
In fact, given the genre, literary style gets in the way. The pace flows much better when you keep it matter-of-fact.

You might want to speak your dialogues out loud. The characters' speech works often, but there are many awkward spots. ('Oh by the way gentlemen, please remind me about three o'clock...')
And would an eight year old say, 'Mum, I told you that this competition was on a much higher level than my previous one'? (I could see no other evidence of Alan's precocity, so I suspect this bit of speech is a mischaracterisation.)

On their own, none of these cause particularly serious issues (apart from the flowery language). But when you put it all together, it makes for a halting read. Stop and start does not make for a good thriller, I'm afraid.

Best of luck.
All Things Noble

Farrah J Phoenix wrote 1397 days ago

I love your writing style Anna! Can't wait to see this on the shelves of my local bookstore (im still a huge fan of the real thing :)). All the best to you!
Love and Hugs,

cat5149 wrote 1399 days ago

The story effortlessly with some of the best writing I've read on Authonomy. You definitely have a talent for dialogue and description. I'm glad I decided to shelve this.


celticwriter wrote 1399 days ago

Hi Anna. My name is Jim. Have read through your 2nd chapter. Really enjoying the journey you're taking me on! I'm not a book critic, as I'm just a mere screenwriter, and for the first time jumping into the novel world - so I'm here to learn. I am, though, pretty qualified to share about dialogue, and yours is pretty terrific. Flows well! Looking over a couple of the comments, I would disagree with the fellow who says the narrative needs to be cut down. Reads fine to me, flows well, an easy visual to grasp. I was caught up in your gentle flow of words, and the ride is smooth. Thank you!

"Jack & Charmian London", "December the 24th"

AlexClay wrote 1401 days ago

I might back this if you chop out about 60% of the narrative. It's completely overwritten. You need to edit it right down to the bare bones and include only those sentences which are absolutely vital to the story. It's like a vast still ocean of words, where what you want is a small, fast flowing stream. I hope you can forgive my honesty, but I read a lot of the comments on this, and very few people seem willing or able to point out that you could make this ten times better by cutting the word count in half (at least). Trust me, it will work. I know because I have done it myself. It's sometimes hard to let go of your own beloved words, but eventually you have to. I hope that didn't sound harsh and unforgiving. I am no literary master myself, but you need to make friends with the delete button, it will eventually be your best friend. Good luck.

Rakhi wrote 1402 days ago

I really liked the story, I thought it original and exciting. The beginning is done very well, focusing on the Professor and setting up the mystery which we find out is really what the story revolves around through his son. Alan is a great character who is interesting enough to carry the entire story and keep the reader hooked. Your writing is good and I liked how you link various settings and happenings together to make it all one cohesive story.
Just two typos I picked up on in chapter 1:
"He big man was looking right at Tony...". "He' should be 'The'.
"Go upsatirs and on to another platform. Your train (will) be leaving soon."
This was very refreshing and I'm sure will do well.
Backed earlier and really enjoyed reading more.
Rakhi (Sir William...)

Mike LaRiviere wrote 1402 days ago


I needed a break from surrealism, fantasy, vampires, and days of yore. wanted something of modern vintage, set in a real and identifiable backdrop, with characters with whom I could identify as a vehicle to return me to normalcy. So I picked The Gardener. I must say, you developed and managed the dynamics of numerous settings, plots, and sub-plots very well.

I found myself feeling that there were forces at work that were manifesting themselves slowly but surely as the plot thickened and the literary harbingers began to raise their heads and be noticed. Your build of things to come was enticing and invited me to turn pages and read the next chapters.

I am taking a few words and phrases away with me because I liked them a lot. noble gray hair, dew of sweat, Booran, a Siberian destructive snow storm. I learned something here. Thank you.

Please forgive me if this Yank messes up the Brit way of writing and word usage. I came across a few things that seem to need a bit of repair, but may not. I usually get it wrong.

- Heart Attack versus Heart Attach
- Half Three, maybe half past three
- Next Pair of Boys, maybe needs an article "the"
- Over sympathetic, maybe overly sympathetic
- Younf woman stood kneeling, maybe just kneeling, since standing and kneeling are opposed
- Mould is a forming device, mold has spores
- Maybe the church bells pealed versus cried
- bog, maybe dog
- Clothes versus cloths
- Rumble of lawnmowers, maybe missing an article
- Windows 95 is way too dated as being new technology. I'd probably just mention the newest and most touted operating system on the market, etc. You mention 2010, but Windows 95 was about 10 years ago.

You have abviously researched and have become comfortable in the academia settings of a university laboratory, swim meet, garden, etc. You have a smooth and flowing style that carries the storyline along with grace and strength. I did not notice a single place where you dropped my attention through using an incorrect fact, phrase, or word. And I want to commend you on the language in The Gardener. No expletives, no vulgarity, no unnecessary graphic sex and violence. Wonderfully refreshing.

I am hyped by your approaches in all the settings where you have alerted me that something significant this way comes. I could feel it, sense it's ominous reality, began wanting it to knock on the door and be welcomed in --or maybe not.

I enjoyed the deliberate and patient manner in which you developed the characters, intrigue, and mystique of whatever is looming in the future chapters. The talisman, Booran potential, and somewhat sinister power that seems everpresent in the shadows is holding me captive to your story. You have laid a very substantial foundation for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

This has been a pleasant, informative, and exciting read and has whetted my appetite for more. I think that may be what writing novels is all about. I have read many on Authonomy that did not move me to the next chapter, or maybe even the next paragraph. I liked your work.

I back the book with pleasure and the confidence in knowing you have done a good thing. Two thumbs up to you.

PawPaw MIke LaRiviere
Eden's Door

Samantha Cook wrote 1403 days ago

I wasn't too sure if the first paragraph was necessary, but after that I really warmed up to this. I especially like the way you write - general tone, lexis, structure; I think you're a brilliant writer even though I wasn't crazy about the story.

tisseurdecontes wrote 1403 days ago

Chapter 2, 1st paragraph after the first ***, "What the boys didn't realize what that the Professor Walker. . ." should read, "What the boys didn't realize was that Professor Walker". I saw several other simple errors that you should pick up if you read back through it. Be sure to watch your verb tenses.

Steven Lloyd

love2write2 wrote 1405 days ago

Wow, i really did like the concept of this book. It is very interesting and scary to think about myself in that type of situation. Only one comment though, the paragraphs seem a bit long and they seem as if they could be split up a bit. I do not have a problems reading the long paragraphs but they may loose the interest of some once printed. Overall I really enjoyed this work and I look forward to reading more. Backed!
Sofia (The Lost Inheritance)

lbrammer1992 wrote 1405 days ago

This is a powerful start to the novel which has good intricacies when you switch from one character to another. The constantly changing characters help to engage the reader completely, drawinng them deeper and deeper into your story. The characters are believable and well woven into the storyline which means people can relate to aspects of their personalities. You have rich full descriptions that enhance the impressive start. Backed with confidence. Could you possibly have a look at my manuscript The Sacred Pool. Good luck.


stoatsnest wrote 1406 days ago

I've read the first three chapters. You switch well from one scene to the next, and keep us on the edge of our seats. I have no idea what's going on with the scientific part of it, but the tension in the swimming race was nicely arranged.
This is a good thriller ,so backed.
Note: Various typos-mostly in the first chapter.

Serenity Wickford wrote 1406 days ago

Hi Anna, Just a note to say WOW. Great description, I could feel the walls closing in and smell of the air on the train. You've captured my attention and I want to read on to find out what happens next. The professor is a strong MC. Great job, can't wait until you post more chapters. It's with great pleasure that I back The Gardener.
Sincerely, Serenity

GWH wrote 1406 days ago

Hi Ana

I love the opening to the book, your description is great, picking up on the finer details of the tube trains for example, the heat and smell making it hard to breathe is well observed. And, as someone who knows nothing about advanced science you are truly believeable in your hypothesis'. And, Professor Walker is an intriguing, reliable character who you know will come to the fore when needed. All the makings of a good book. Backed!!

Kind regards


lora beretta wrote 1406 days ago

I am a little short of time, but I have read through the first three chapters. I think you have made some very interesting characters and I am certainly intrigued as to what is going to happen to Alan - I presume he will be one of the primary characters. I wish you great success here at Autonomy and in your publishing effort.

Shimmer wrote 1406 days ago

Great opening -- you draw us into Alan's life involving all our senses--including the sixth sense hinting that all is not as it appears. Stuck it on my Watchlist until I can read more.

sasha green wrote 1407 days ago

This is wonderful. Just so wonderful. You have a strong story and tremendous characters. You hooked me from the beginning and kept me engrossed. I loved the interactions the characters had, especially between Alan and Booran. I kept catching myself grinning in delight at those scenes.

Sam Haely wrote 1407 days ago

Hi there! Read throught the first chapter, since I got curious.

Since I havn't read through it all, it's hard to know if you can pull of the idea, but I am a bit sceptical to it. As one with a scientific background, I didn't really buy into some of the underlaying premisses you present.

I think that your opinion on the matter of global warming seeps through too much. Why would the a professor in nuclear physics ask for a paper on global warming? I just don't buy it. (Neither would the student I believe ;) Same goes for when the student asks the professor about cracking the genomes. It's out of place in my opinion, and I think that this is more the writer's thoughts than the character. There is no need to rush ideas you might have as a writer. Build the characters first.

I have some other thoughts, if you feel this is valuable feedback, send me a message.


bobbycow wrote 1409 days ago

Sorry not had time to read it all so comments but definitely watched with interest
Keep it up!

speaksthetruth wrote 1409 days ago


sufi mahamet wrote 1409 days ago

I enjoyed very much reading what you’ve posted of The Gardener; you’re off to a highly imaginative start here. The characters are interesting and believable, the story is intriguing, the pace is good, and the plot is well constructed. The mystery angle works well, and you may be able to find a niche with it. I’m happy to back this book, and I wish you the best of luck with it. I took a few notes while reading, and I have included them here.

Your prologue works very well, establishing a mysterious tone which prompts the reader to want answers to the question of: the underground scene is the way to hell? Inside this train guilty people only? The conductor not real man, isn’t it? It’s like the last checkpoint between hell and heaven?
You have great imagery and the characters are very realistic. This is one of those books that needs to be read by many. Thank you for sharing. Good luck with it. Backed.

scargirl wrote 1410 days ago


thanks for backing my book and taking time to read. there is a wealth of info on this site. i agree with some of the comments other readers have made: make every part of the dialogue revealing and give more detail about the surroundings, i.e., how did the underground smell? what did it look like? was it busy?

you have done well to get your ideas sketched out and to invest time on this manuscript. keep going! you will get better and better...


Dolores A wrote 1410 days ago

Hello, Cybergirl, I realize this is a sketch of your work in progress, and I would like to see more depth to your characters, because they look pretty interesting. I also need more grounded settings so I know where I am. The elderly train conductor is very interesting, but what does he mean? What happened to the train station? Suddenly we're in a laboratory or a classroom, there's a dog named Boorat and an asthmatic boy, and I want to know more about all of them and how they tie in together. Will we meet the elderly conductor again? Is he like a "keeper" of something arcane and important? He is a very strong character and I would like to see you develop him. Keep writing! I am placing your book in my watch list.

John Connor wrote 1411 days ago

Initial opening is very good, and the style of the writing is inviting and accessible. However, sometimes the short sections made me break with the storyline a little.

But then that is probably just me. Apart from that, it made me want to read more and find out what happens - which means you've successfully made me care about the characters.

Backed with pleasure - and would certainly like to see more of the story.

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 1411 days ago

My only comment is that the font size might be increased so that moving the bar to do so is unnecessary. Excellent work with a great display of background material evident. Backed. Chuck (Paperboy Adventures) (Literary Agent Blues)

alisa london wrote 1412 days ago

As has already been said, you have a really good and interesting storyline to pull in the readers! You appear to be handling it really well, showing flashes of very skillful and sensitive writing! I already feel engrossed in the story and at the back of my mind I am wondering and worrying a little about the promised unexpected ending! I will happily read on. For now, shelved with pleasure.

KirstyCrees wrote 1414 days ago

Interesting read... something different for sure and the pace keeps you reading.. Well, it kept me for the first chapter, but need to move on. Will definitely back this!!

Teresa West wrote 1414 days ago

Good start got me wanting to read more. I like your writing style and you have a great pace. Your descriptions are spot on so that you take your reader into your story and they live it.

What I would suggest is this. Go through EVERY line in the story and ask yourself two questions.

1. Does this tell the reader something important about plot and/or character?

2. Does it tell the reader something they don't know, or can guess from inference?

If the answer to either is "no", then consider deleting the offending sentence or clause.

In doing this you will get rid of the extraneous stuff, and more importantly, add pace and clarity to your work. It will make the reader happier to lose themselves in your world than if you slow or even stop the plot to tell them over-detailed back-story or about facts that aren't important.

I'll give you a run on my shelf, because I'm confident you've got something here, and the delete key is easier to use than beefing up an anorexic manuscript.


DeJarnett wrote 1415 days ago

Anna... Haven't been able to read all due to time restriction, but what I've read has peeked my interest and desire to finish later. I like your style and creation of suspense. Backed!


Wilma1 wrote 1415 days ago

This is such a pacy story I liked the way you shift from story to story in small bites and you give the reader so many clues to tie it all together. A very professional piece Hope you post more soon I will be back to read more.

Sue Mackender
Knowing Liam Riley

TAKAHASHI wrote 1416 days ago

I have to agree with the comments that suggest that the story has a cinematic tone, which I suspected it would after reading the compelling pitch. The suspenseful writing is exceptional and this has to be backed.

ursula brooks wrote 1416 days ago

This is fantastic. I've just read it from start to finish, and I really hope you will upload more chapters so I can find out what happens! The writing is fluid and natural and allows the exciting plot to move quickly. The main character Alan is instantly likeable and the other characters around him are. There is so much mystery to be discovered and your fast paced style makes the reader want to find out more.
Great stuff. Backed

Stec wrote 1416 days ago

Sorry--lots of creeping to your high TLR on here--I'm not criticising--I'm not good enough-- this needs work. On the positive side : so do we all.

Good luck


Ron Mitchell wrote 1416 days ago

This is an intriguing story with a compelling premise. Good luck with this book.
-Author of December Gold

Lara wrote 1417 days ago

I backed this before but backing again, just loved the idea and development of the garden within this environmentally based novel.
If you can review Making It, that would be great, but would greatly appreciate a dip into the later chapters of Good for Him

mclevin wrote 1418 days ago

Well, you may not be obsessed with the editor's desk or with receiving backings (refreshing), but you just received the latter from me.

Fantastic pitch. And while I had a tough time with the tiny text, I found the first few chapters to be highly compelling -- and heartbreaking. Looking forward to seeing what happens with the surviving characters, and the environment!


(btw: My book -- Notes on an Orange Burial -- also features a plot-driving explosion, though it happens a bit later in the book, and is more darkly comical than it is heartbreaking!)



DMR wrote 1418 days ago

When I started reading The Gardener, it felt like this cold hand trailed my neck.. there is a lovely hint of menace with a big dose of intrigue in the first chapter.. I like how you let us into Alan's mind so we can see and experience what he does.. quite gripping right from the start, with lovely, memorable descriptions.. Backed!
Good Blood

Author apart from the rest wrote 1418 days ago


The title of your book is absolutely eloquent and your plug seals the deal. I am captivated by the plot of your book, and the character development with Alan. I feel such sorrow for him; however get a thrill discovering he will find the truth behind his fathers death. GREAT JOB.



Owen Quinn wrote 1418 days ago

Beautiful cover, great pitch that is so relevant today. The writing is excellent and you really get to know Adam and the others which makes the disaster even more heartwrenching. You feel you know these characters. Backed with pleasure.

Morven wrote 1419 days ago

Ok, I made a decision earlier today not to do any more comments but this one deserves me to break the new rule ! I knew I would like this from the taut, exciting pitch and fabulous cover. This is the sort of book I browse through bookshops looking for, a thrilling, entertaining read that captures my imagination from the first page. i would buy this! My only 'complaint' is that now you have hooked me, I want more !
You are a story teller....backed with great pleasure.

glenn1862 wrote 1419 days ago

Though I think global warming is merely the weather following its natural design, I love a good end of the world story. Very well written and backed.

Antonius wrote 1420 days ago

I thought this was very well constructed and almost cold and distant, like the best of Capote before he lost his mind. There was a kind of Norman Mailer engineer quality to this, which i found refreshing from the way most books about subjects like this write and speak in large type and don't have room for subtly, as did this.

wespollet wrote 1420 days ago

Hi Anna, I really like your book and the mysterious happenings makes me wonder what happen on that Christmas Eve. I BACK you Book. Harold Alvin(ICON)Wesley

benjamin martin wrote 1421 days ago

Hi, i'll say one thing. this book definitely has flow. i read right through the first parts like clockwork. the characters are developing in the beginning, different people are being introduced, and the vocabulary isn't too complicated. if the rest of the book is like the beginning, then it's definitely worth people's time and attention. take care. Benjamin.

Gauis wrote 1422 days ago

Good stuff, draws you in, but spelling and syntax get in the way - def. needs a tidy up.
Plus - cklarify POV?

Gauis wrote 1422 days ago

Good stuff, draws you in, but spelling and syntax get in the way - def. needs a tidy up.
Plus - cklarify POV?

Gauis wrote 1422 days ago

Good stuff, draws you in, but spelling and syntax get in the way - def. needs a tidy up.
Plus - cklarify POV?

Lin Meadows wrote 1424 days ago


You have a good beginning and talent. Do not be discouraged by the kind words of others. Take advice with 2 grains of salt. But the most important thing is to write and write and write.

My book was written over 5 years and I spent an additional 7 years rewriting it.

The best advice I ever got about writing was "write every day!"

It is a pleasure to be your colleague in the world of writers. (There are no wanna be writers. If you think you are a writer, you are!)

Go you girl! Back my book if you will. Thanks.


Du5T1n wrote 1425 days ago


A lot of long descriptive paragraphs and expository dialogue. The writing is clear and interesting, but thick. The first chapter is interesting and makes you curious to find out more. But then the second chapter jumps right into dialogue and action without setting the scene for us. Where are we? Who is this Tony? We get some of this information trickling in through the long sequences of expository dialogue, but it gets a bit labored that way. A lot of names and banter back and forth without an explanation of who these people are. Is there a reason we're kept in the dark?

There is an element of enjoyment in finding out about the character through watching him do stuff and talk to people, but it also makes some of it difficult to follow as we're waiting for the understanding that is slow in coming.

I understand the desire to jump in and show instead of telling, but it might help to set the stage a little bit before we're thrown into this complex technical dialogue and character interactions.

It's interesting and clear that you have a good sense of who the characters are and there is a clear sense that something interesting is lurking beneath. I just could have used a simple "Tom is professor of nuclear physics at such and such school, located here in this context, has been for ten years, blah blah . . ." something to frame it for me, even just a little bit before I get thrown right into things. Otherwise, i'm floating in a sea of information without an anchor.

I'd appreciate your comments and ideas about my book, too. I think you might like it. Either way, I'm happy to back this. It's definitely a strong start and, like everything, just needs some polish to get that sparkle.


Dustin Panian (Dreamland)

DP Walker wrote 1425 days ago

Hi Anna
I really enjoyed what I read of this. You get the constant feeling that something is about to happen and the pitch sets the scene up nicely. I found the small print stopped me reading as much as I could have, but still didn't stop the enjoyment. I'd also break up the paragraphs a little more if possible to make it easier. Don't get me wrong though, this is a great idea for a book - very topical with lots of suspense and intrigue. A British 'Independence DAy' but a lot deeper and more insightful.
DP Walker
Five Dares