Many manuscripts reach me but few grab my attention so completely as Mission by Paul Forrester-O’Neill. This story, set in the United States, begins with a small boy who overhears his mother tell his father a horrendous lie. The plot follows the boy to adulthood as he tries to make amends to his father.

A boy and his father are separated by an unforgivable lie. Twenty years later they meet, and the dying father tells John of the men who cheated him and the town of Mission that spurned him. John plans his revenge. What follows is a twist of guile and brutality, mud and gold, as his father's enemies are played by the young man with the crooked nose and the pocketful of hatpins.


Although last year’s budget was tight, I knew on first reading that I had to take this story to print. Sarah Haywood who wrote The Cactus (soon to be a movie with Reese Witherspoon) said, Mission is a book that will stay with me. A remarkable debut.”

Paul is a specialist skills tutor at a UK university. However, he has been writing for more than forty years. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University where Mission won the Michael Schmidt Prize for the novel of the year. Mission is his first published novel.

All publishing is a risk, especially with debut writers who have no footprint in the industry – how do you help readers find an unknown author among the other 600,000 books published each year? However, many publishing decisions are based on faith. Mission is a terrifically absorbing read, and we have submitted it for the Costa, McKitterick, Christopher Bland and Paul Torday prizes, In addition it already has translation representation in Germany.

Curious about Mission – you can read the early chapters right here.