In 1945 two brothers die in the icy Barents sea and a book is all that survives of them. More than sixty years later Donny and his mother set out for Suffolk to meet his mysterious great aunt. There is an accident and Donny is taken into care. But are the officials all that they seem and why won't they believe Donny's story? Soon he discovers that his life has been built on a lie. Only the new friendship he makes and an unsuspected talent for sailing help him steer his way through dangers that he cannot understand towards a knowlegde of his own identity -- and the secrets of a salt-stained book.
Julia Jones's introduction to books came as a child. Her parents bought author Arthur Ransome's yacht Peter Duck when she was not quite three years old. Julia soon discovered that her berth on board Peter Duck was the snuggest place in the world for reading - and writing and dreaming as well. It wasn't until many years later when she and her partner, Francis Wheen, had bought Peter Duck for themselves that she discovered that her special reading place had originally been designed for Ransome to store his typewriter.
Julia ran a bookshop in the Essex village of Ingatestone when her children were young and began publishing local titles in a larger-than-usual print to suit her older customers. She worked closely with Age Concern Essex to compile anthologies of material from their annual essay competitions. Out of this activity came When I was a Child, Yesterday's Heroes, The Last All-Clear and In Those Days She called her publishing company Sarsen Publishing with reference to the sarsen stone in Ingatestone High Street.
Sarsen's biggest seller was detective novelist Margery Allingham's wartime testimony The Oaken Heart. Julia soon became close friends with Margery's sister Joyce and went on to write Margery Allingham's biography, first published in 1991 by Heinemann and re-published in 2009 as The Adventures of Margery Allingham. She has also edited Philip Allingham's autobiography Cheapjack (2010) and a new, illustrated edition of the Oaken Heart (2011) which includes extensive local material.
2011 also saw the publication of The Salt-Stained Book and A Ravelled Flag, the first two volumes of the Strong Winds trilogy - described as 21st century Swallows and Amazons. The concluding volume, Ghosting Home, was published in the summer of 2012 and was closely followed by Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory - Julia's non-fiction account of the working life of Herbert Allingham, Margery Allingham's father. All these are published by Golden Duck - the company belonging to Julia and her partner Francis Wheen.
Julia is a member of the Authors Electric collective and edited their 2012 anthology Sparks. Her most recent novel -- The Lion of Sole Bay -- extends the Strong Winds Trilogy into a series.