Will lies in a deserted lane. All he knows is that he’s had an accident and that his life is slipping away. Against all the odds he survives – but with an almost total loss of memory. He does not even know himself.

And that is not all. At night he is tormented by visions, in the daytime by hostile strangers. Why does he have so many enemies? And who is the strange child who seems to have a story to tell him? Something has happened in this town, something terrifying. Will can sense it but he can’t work out what it was.

Perhaps the old Will knew. But that was before the accident. The new Will must search for the answers again – and this is a dangerous task. For the town has a secret and there are those who will do everything in their power to preserve it.

Even kill.


‘Like many of my previous novels, Bloodchild focuses on mystical and psychological issues. The character of Will grew quickly. He had a powerful voice in my head right from the start. He is a kind of prophet, a boy misunderstood by others and very much on the fringes of social acceptance, and in the beginning I wasn’t sure I liked him very much. As the story developed, however, I came to see that for all his awkwardness, he is a deeply brave individual, beset on all sides as he struggles to regain his memory and discover the hideous secret that infects the small town of Havensmouth. But Bloodchild is not just Will’s story. It is a complex book that works on many levels. On one level it is a boy’s quest to right a wrong. On another it’s a story about memory and self, truth and illusion, and the way society acts towards those it does not understand. There is bigotry, hatred and violence in Havensmouth and Will has to deal with all three. But there is courage, too, and compassion, and love – parental love, romantic love, the love of friends, even of those from another dimension. And there is hope. Bloodchild is a story about the search for hope in a place where it has been lost. Will may seem an unlikely person to kindle this in such a community, but in the figure of a small boy – the Bloodchild of the title – he finds both the talisman and the catalyst he needs to make hope a possibility. It is this small boy who turns Will into a hero, and it is in fighting for the boy that Will finds that in a wider sense he has also been fighting for those who have been wronged, for the community as a whole, and ultimately for himself.’

Tim Bowler


Fusing the supernatural with the terrifyingly real is what Tim Bowler does best and Bloodchild is a perfect example of the genre he has made his own.’

‘Contemporary and action-packed, Bowler has produced another psychological thriller that twists until the last page.’
Daily Mail

‘The visionary, the numinous, the unexplained – that is the soul of this book, and that is what distinguishes the best of Bowler’s work’
The Guardian

‘This thrilling fantasy and crime hybrid is a gripping read from start to finish. The action sequences are expertly paced and the vivid imagery creates a nightmarish quality with almost cinematic realism.’
Books for Keeps

‘Reminded me of Stephen King at his best. It’s convincing, atmospheric and creepy.’
Charlie Higson, The Mail on Sunday

‘I LOVED Bloodchild…Gripping, challenging, beautifully written, original . . an exceptional read.’
Askews Library Services

‘Tim Bowler needs no introduction; here is another taut thriller in the brilliant style familiar to his readers.’
School Librarian Journal

‘This thriller is hard to resist.’

‘Rarely in my life have I been so intimately able to share in the experiences of a character…Truly a compulsive read from a master storyteller.’
Gavin Musselwhite, Waterstone’s

‘Incredibly atmospheric of time and place with characters that draw you in, Bowler is the true master of the teenage psychological thriller.’

‘A tense, fast-paced, atmospheric thriller where neither protagonist nor reader can be sure in whom to trust. Bowler at his absolute best.’

‘Absorbing fantasy thriller… I love Tim Bowler. His writing is direct and forceful and ratchets up tension and emotional response with utter fearlessness…I read it barely breathing.’
The BookBag

‘Bloodchild holds readers in its vice-like grip from the very first page….an unmissable, chilling, thrilling page-turner.’
South China Morning Post


His first impression was a grey light, the absence of pain, and a certainty that he was dead. A pause; a shift from grey to gold, from the absence of pain to the presence of something else; and with that – doubt.

This was not death. Yet nor was it life. It was something he didn’t recognise, and the presence he’d sensed was now a form, a clearly solid form in this most unsolid place.

Another pause. Who or what it was that paused, he didn’t know – himself or this form, perhaps both. He had a feeling it was aware of him. More light, a deeper gold: not pleasant or unpleasant, just gold.

Then a voice.

‘It’s a boy about fifteen.’

He felt a flicker of recollection, not of the voice – he had no idea who this was, except that it was a girl – but of himself. A boy about fifteen. Somehow he’d forgotten that. But he had no time to ponder this. The girl was speaking again.

‘I can’t find a pulse.’

There was something in her voice that he liked: a musical quality. It took him a moment to realise that he was more struck with this than with the sudden realisation that his first conviction was right: he must be dead after all.

Another pause, and now he understood. She was speaking on a phone. The pauses were when she listened to the other person.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I’ve turned him on his side.’

Still the musical voice. He wondered who she was, what she looked like, how old she was. Maybe she was a female equivalent of him: a girl about fifteen. She sounded about that age. Not that it mattered. He was dead anyway.

She was saying something about a tree.

‘The sycamore tree. You can’t miss it. It’s by the turning to Havensmouth.’ Silence, then, ‘No, I didn’t manage it.’

Manage what? he wondered, but she quickly answered this.

‘I tried. I did mouth to mouth and pumped his chest but nothing worked.’

Silence again. He listened to it, aware of the girl close by, though all he saw in this golden sea was her shadow floating upon it. There was nothing human about it at all, just the trace of her voice, which hung strangely over it. Then he caught a new sound, somewhere above him.


One bird, as far as he could tell, but a virtuoso singer. It rippled through its song and he listened, confusion cascading through him. Somewhere he sensed memories flooding too, but they were memories without definition: words and pictures that moved too fast. He clung to the song of the bird.

Bird, he told himself. The girl spoke.

‘Can you hear it?’

He wished she’d stop talking on that wretched phone.

‘Can you hear it?’

A change in the voice, a new direction. She was speaking to him.

‘You said, “Bird”. Can you hear it?’

He listened to the song, aware of the movement of gold, the clearing of the haze, the sudden heaviness within himself. He peered through the shifting light, searching for the strange form, and there it was – something of a paradox: dark and bright at the same time, more a ghost than a girl.

‘Can you see me?’ she said.

But he’d lost her. She was enveloped in gold once more. She spoke again.

‘He’s alive. I heard him say something.’

The phone again.

‘I definitely heard him,’ she said.

A long silence this time. Even the bird was quiet. He tried to think, tried to understand, but there was nothing in his mind that made sense. A girl about fifteen, he told himself. A girl about fifteen.

‘He’s doing it again,’ she said suddenly. ‘I heard him. He said something about a girl. Like he’s talking to someone.’

But this only filled him with more confusion. He hadn’t heard himself speak, hadn’t felt his mouth move, hadn’t felt – couldn’t feel – any part of him move. As far as he was concerned, he was a thought, nothing more. A memory of a boy. The only human voice he’d heard so far was the girl’s, and here it was again.

‘He definitely said something about a girl.’ Another pause, then, ‘No, still no pulse. I’ve been checking all the time I’ve been on the phone.’

No, you haven’t, he thought. I’d have felt you.

‘There!’ said the girl. ‘He just spoke again. I heard him. He said, “No, you haven’t”. He’s trying to communicate.’ Another change in the direction of the voice and he knew she was speaking to him again. ‘Can you hear me?’

Yes, yes, he thought, and this time he heard his own words, ‘Yes, yes.’

‘I knew you could.’ Still the musical voice. ‘Can you feel this?’

Something warm, something soft.

‘Hand,’ he muttered.

‘Yes. My hand round your wrist. Try and open your eyes.’

He’d thought they were open, but no, she was right. He must have closed them without remembering it. He opened them again. Gold broke upon him still, shadows merging on shadows, and here was the girl’s form again, or some part of it. He still couldn’t make out her face or features, just the spectral shape of her as she leaned over him.

But now his other senses were starting to work. He could feel warm air brushing his skin, dusk falling over him. He could see the outline of a tree, hear the sound of the bird high up. He felt a rush of excitement. He was going to live. He was going to pull through.

Then everything changed.

First the pain. It tore through him like a racing tide, scattering thought, hope, feeling; then the darkness, snuffing out what was left. He heard the girl screaming into the phone.

‘Quick! I’m losing him again!’

More pain, more darkness, more screams from the girl.

‘What do I do? What do I do?’

But there was nothing she could do. He knew that. More pain – harsh, relentless spasms that seemed to reach every part of him – then suddenly they ceased, and he felt a new sensation: a queasy tremor deep inside him.


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