The Severed Cord

The sequel to The Veiled Thread

Harry, grandson of a WW1 Light Horse veteran, feels like he is drowning: drowning in emotion or rather the lack of it, drowning in the expectations of others, drowning in failed relationships. Who can he turn to, where can he find a solution to the mess that is his life?

Jimmy, an aboriginal stockman, is cajoled into a war. WW1 rages in Europe, spilling over into Palestine, a conflict he doesn’t understand, a conflict that has nothing to do with him.

The lives of two men, generations apart, come together through the trauma of war and overt prejudice, and the phenomenon of intergenerational suffering.

This is not only a story of degradation and despair, but also of the resurrection of hope through gratitude, acceptance and a belief in the power of good.

The tale interweaves Jimmy’s story with the distress of the current generation, where Harry’s relationships fail and his life seems without foundation in the shifting sands of a fast, ever-changing modern world. Jimmy accompanies the two sons of his employer to Palestine in 1917, to a fight against the Turks. That conflict inevitably forces him to witness and do terrible things, deeds so against his nature and beliefs, that he returns from the war a broken man, unable to accept the love of his family, detached from everything that he holds dear.

This fictional novel is firmly imbedded in actual events of the 1917-18 Palestinian campaign and explores the human response to the phenomenon of epigenetics, where the deeds of the past actively influence the behaviour of current generations, some five or six generations removed from the original trauma. The narrative alludes therefore, to the trials of first people everywhere, those displaced by invasion (eg Australia, North and South America), those dispossessed by greed and intolerance.

Jimmy is eventually lost to the world, but Harry has a chance of redemption, through his examination of his family’s history and pursuit of past truths. The story follows the root causes of Harry’s dysfunction, through the battles fought by his grandfather and Jimmy in Palestine and the inter-war years and highlights Jimmy’s fight against prejudice in Australia.

Stephen’s follow on work
‘The Severed Cord’


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The Veiled Thread

Eiric O’Sullivan walked his horse the last few feet, up the steep rocky path to the top of the hill. A brisk cool breeze blew across the hilltop, bracing after the warmth of the climb in the lee of the hill. This was where he was meant to be. He knew it, felt it in the marrow of his bones. 

But fate would have it otherwise. 

Two men’s lives, one caught up in the hysteria of a war, both caught in a web of their infidelities and self-doubt, separated by a generation, bound together by the horrors of an insane conflict. 

At the core of this tale is Eiric O’Sullivan and his fateful journey, with his two brothers and a resourceful, laconic aboriginal man, through war in Palestine, a war that leads to the death of one brother, estrangement of another and the ruin of Eiric. 

Graphic depiction of war against the Turks in Palestine is interwoven in the narrative with the gradual degradation of Eiric’s spirit, through the malaise of the Great Depression and into looming war with Nazi Germany. His grandson Harry, also suffers the guilt and self-doubt that was born almost ninety years ago, on the killing fields of the Levant. Harry carries the genes of infidelity, self-loathing and bitterness, the origins of which he cannot comprehend. Its torn legacy has passed through generations to form a new interpretation of that trauma.

In desperation, Harry turns to Eiric, an old man now, in search of the source of his doubts and in the process unleashes a torrent of bitterness and recrimination within a divided family, a family grappling with the fallout from the madness of war. 

The story moves repeatedly from the past to the present to draw parallels between grandfather and grandson until the stories’ climax, when Harry and Eiric understand their parts in the inheritance of the trauma of the past. 

This is a story that delves into the phenomenon of epi-genetics, its impact on successive generations and the destruction of hope in those who have no understanding of the origins of their depression and sense of helplessness.

Stephen’s first book
‘The Veiled Thread’ is now available for purchase.
You can purchase ‘the veiled thread’ at these book sellers:





What People are Saying about The Veiled Thread

I finished your book and am ready for more! It raised so many questions and issues from my own family and our history. I have a new perspective, especially about how the women in my family have influenced me. I am still thinking….
This is pretty profound material. My mother and her mother, my Dad’s mother, I share the backlash from their traumas throughout my life. Good job! I do look forward to the next book, very much. I will be re-reading this one soon.

Dr. Rebecca Dodge

Geosciences Professor, Midwestern State University (MSU)

A great read!

Northern Ireland Reader

The Veiled Thread is a brilliant read and a must to buy***** stars!


Reader from Devon, UK

My copy arrived today and was read in one (long) session. Great story and a real page turner.

JJ - Reader from Sydney


Vanguard Press
Sheraton House Castle Park
Cambridge England
Vanguard Press is an imprint of
Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie Publishers Ltd.

Stephen Twartz
Author | Artist | Adventurer