About The Book

This novel is inspired by fact. The historical existence of children's psychiatric units in Britain, of the kind described in this book, is not generally well-known. Upon entering my teens in the 1970s, I had some personal experience of such a unit, and so this book is based on that experience.

All of the characters in this book – including the main character, Daniel – are fictional. They may represent some general tendencies that were apparent in real people, but any personal details have been substantially altered. This is similarly the case with events, though given the nature of the setting, readers familiar with circumstances of this kind could well observe some resemblance to incidents in their experience. It is certainly the case that everything represented here, though portrayed from a particular point-of-view, would have been possible. And so I believe Delivered Unto Lions conveys a good impression of the reality.

David Austin, 'Note to the Reader', Delivered Unto Lions

Unused Cover Design 1 Unused Cover Design 2

Early cover designs (unused)
From the rear cover

A newly-built village in the south of England holds a dark secret. Smart starter homes and attractive appartments now stand on a site once occupied by a children's psychiatric unit. Wandering around the development, Daniel Kinsey's memory is stirred to recall distressing events from his youth.

As a child growing up in the 1970s, Daniel was admitted to Oakdale Children's Unit suffering with depression. One day he was a relatively ordinary schoolboy – albeit an unsettled and unhappy one – and the next he was a mental patient surrounded by a cacophony of violent behaviour, eating disorders and self-harm. Daniel could not comprehend the world he had entered, a world made worse by unsympathetic nursing staff and the punitive, controlling use of psychoactive drugs.

Condemned to spend his formative teenage years in this environment, Daniel must endure the aggression of older children, witness the abuse suffered by his peers, and face the turbulence of adolescence in a place of dysfunctional relationships. How will he navigate his way through this experience? Can he ever reclaim his place in the outside world of normality?

Final Cover Design

Final cover design (as published)

In the 1970s, the period in which Delivered Unto Lions is set, there existed in Britain a handful children's psychiatric units. The presence of these units was not widely known, even in the towns and villages closest to them. Though many people had some awareness of the Victorian-built mental hospitals for adults, children's mental healthcare institutions remained a well-kept secret. One such unit was Linton Hall, attached to High Royds Hospital near Bradford in Yorkshire. Lancaster Moor Hospital also had a children's psychiatric unit, and there was a similar unit in Colwyn Bay which was affiliated to the North Wales Hospital in nearby Denbigh.

Delivered Unto Lions, though taking the narrative form of a novel, is primarily inspired by the author's own childhood and teenage experience of the Merrifield Children's Unit at Tone Vale Hospital, near Taunton, Somerset.

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