It was six days ago that Lord Bidborough, accompanied by another gentleman, came to the Elephant House and, after making the usual inquiries about my charge, who was, at that moment, quietly eating hay, asked whether it was true that, as he had heard, I was able to read. Thus begins The Elephant Keeper, a memorable account of an extraordinary relationship between a female elephant and her keeper, a young stable boy. Set in late 18th century England, it follows them from the Bristol docks to one landed estate in the countryside, then to another - then, finally, to London. It is a novel about sexuality and violence, freedom and captivity, and about the nature of story-telling, but most of all it is the story of an unlikely but wonderful love between a man and an animal - a love which has its costs as well as its rewards. Lead title / Will appeal to fans of 'Arthur and George' and 'Gould's Book of Fish'. / Widespread publicity coverage expected; the author works for the BBC / Large super-proof mailing for this brilliant debut. / The book will be beautifully produced in the style of the style of natural history books from the period
Christopher Nicholson was brought up in north Surrey, some thirty miles south of London. At Cambridge University he studied under the late modernist poet Jeremy Prynne. Soon after Cambridge he spent three years as a community development worker in rural Cornwall. In 1981 he moved to London and got a job as a scriptwriter with the BBC World Service; he stayed with the BBC until the mid 1990s, off and on, making and presenting feature programmes and documentaries. Some won awards. In this period he twice resigned from the BBC staff to find more time for writing. During the late 1990s and early 2000s he did a good deal of freelance work for the BBC's Chinese Service. He has written full-time since then, and now lives on the northern edges of Dorset.