New Victoria Hendry novel asks…

Posted on September 7, 2015

What happens when we forget about compassion?

The Last Tour of Archie Forbes, the new novel by Victoria Hendry published on Thursday 22 October, takes us to the very margins of British society.

Praised as ‘riveting’, ‘compassionate’, ‘powerful’ and ‘heart-breaking’, Archie Forbes exposes the reality of life for those living on the edge in Britain today: it’s a place where compassion is in short supply.

Since returning from Afghanistan, Archie’s world has been turned upside down. Suffering from severe PTSD, he’s lost his job and his family has been ripped apart. Now he’s on the streets, trapped in a maze of food banks, benefit sanctions and inadequate social services and in desperate need of the basics, such as food, shelter and kindness.

But society has lost its way: people like Archie are virtually invisible… until his health worker goes missing and it becomes apparent that Archie is the prime suspect. Can Archie save himself and his health worker, or will they just become another two victims of a world that doesn’t care?

The Last Tour of Archie Forbes offers an utterly convincing – often frightening, sometimes bleakly funny – take on contemporary life, and it’s a dazzling portrayal of a deeply troubled family.

Victoria, whose first novel A Capital Union was shortlisted for the prestigious Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown in 2014, said: “It is the theme of failing to rescue those who are in need that fuels the novel. Doors that don’t open can push the vulnerable over the edge.

“A dearth of pro-active mental health and social services provision – especially where there is family breakdown, social isolation, benefit sanctions, bedroom tax, unemployment, hunger and patchily stocked food banks – means that the door slams shut against our fellow beings who need help.”