Set in the most scenic and rural county of Devon, these stories by author Ted Sherrell reflect both the farming and village community life of the area. Many of the stories are told with a good slice of humour, as with the title story where 'newcomers' appear to outwit the local inhabitants, or when the recalcitrant Arthur Bowman meets head-on with the health inspector in The 'At. Others are thought-provoking and sometimes just occasionally sad, portraying the more vulnerable side of human life; these would include "The Rocks Below, the Sky Above", where Frank discovers just how perplexing an over-bearing wife can become and how ready people are to assume his guilt. Within this wide range of Devonshire tales the author draws from his own experiences extending from early days in farming to becoming a local councillor and magistrate; all good sources to appreciate the vagaries of human nature and behaviour.
Born and educated in Tavistock, Devon, Ted Sherrell has had an interesting and diverse working career; past work including being a civil servant, a fireman, factory worker and insurance agent. But it is his intimate knowledge of farming and rural life in Devon that readers have come to love, and this is something deep-rooted in Ted Sherrell's life.From his early years as a farmer's son he has worked and been around the farming community all his life, and now works part-time as a business adviser exclusively dealing with farms in the South West.Fire and the Phoenix is his seventh novel written on Devonshire rural life. Whilst this novel has a particularly up-to-date theme, collectively his work covers the vast change he has seen in farming over the past fifty-five years.As well as his writing career, both as a novelist and a freelance journalist, Ted Sherrell has for many years been involved in local government as a member of Tavistock Town Council and West Devon Borough Council. He is also a magistrate and regularly sits on the Plymouth bench.