A Vanished German U-boat is Found Seventy Years Later by a Troubled Teen in "Coup de Grace," the Second Young Adult Novel by Canadian Author Bill Bunn

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Based upon a true discovery, Bill Bunn's second novel "Coup de Grace" takes the reader to remote Labrador, where a teen boy finds a partially submerged German U-boat from over seventy years ago. The book will appear in Spring 2015 as part of Bitingduck Press's "Hard Sci-Fi" theme.


Bitingduck Press

Wednesday Smythe's discovery of a seventy-year-old German U-boat will change his life in this fast-paced teen adventure.

Wednesday Smythe is a pimply 14-year-old high school freshman whose parents died when he was too young to remember them. Shuttling between foster care and a group home, he finds himself in a rural trailer with a hair-cutting entrepreneur for a stepmother and an unemployed stepfather who pawns the foster kids’ things to pay the bills. Without phone, game console, or tablet, Wednesday is forced into long walks along the river, where he discovers something that will change his life: a World War II-era German U-boat, barely submerged in the shallow water.

Nonstop action follows the discovery in Bill Bunn's upcoming novel, "Coup de Grace." As always, Bunn has a flair for the awkward adolescent phase of development. In this case it takes on a remote and rural flavor, vivid and haunting. Wednesday’s first friend at his new home, a girl called "Stump," has been raised by her reclusive homeschooling father with almost no social contact. She can’t use a phone, but she can wield a chainsaw. Wednesday’s other friend, Wally, is embittered and angry in foster care, lashing out in ways that threaten Wednesday’s growing rapport with his new family. All three are drawn together in a fast-paced adventure pitting their wits against the bad guys, and the cops who want to bust them for any number of nefarious deeds.

Historically, more than a dozen WWII-era German U-boats remain unaccounted for, and in summer 2012, a submerged vessel of the right dimensions was detected by sonar a hundred kilometers from the ocean, in the Canadian province of Labrador. This discovery inspired the story, scheduled to appear from Bitingduck Press in Spring, 2015. Fully fictional, the story switches between the events of the war that led the German crew to submerge and eventually die in the river, and the adventures of Wednesday and his friends and foes over seventy years later.

Bunn paid a visit to the town where the book is set this summer, to get a taste of "The sounds and smells, the color of the earth… Strange, to know a place you’ve never visited." The size of the trees, the colors of the friends and enemies’ houses, the bends in the river—all are real now, bringing to life the modern characters as well as the fictional German crew that died so unexpectedly beneath a Canadian river at the beginning of WW II.

A professor of English at Mount Royal University, Bunn is the author of three previous books: the teen magical adventure Duck Boy (Bitingduck Press, 2012); Hymns of Home, a collection of essays on family, technology, and the environment that reached Calgary's bestseller list twice in Summer 2013 (Bitingduck Press, 2013); and an illustrated children’s book, Canoë Lune (Le Canotier, 2001). He also has a writer's blog sharing his writing secrets.

Founded in March 2012 by two physicists, Bitingduck Press is an independent publisher that brings the quirky, ego-driven, and sometimes corrupt world of science to its readers. Publishing 6-8 titles per year, the press will feature adult and teen hard science fiction in 2015. Manuscripts are being accepted for 2015 and later at the press's website.

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