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‘He flipped the heavy silver coin over and over between his fingers and watched the dancing orbs it cast around the walls of his bedroom. Who was this king with an icy crown and what country did he rule?’

A mysterious visitor with a thirteenth birthday gift is just the first in a series of extraordinary events for the boy nicknamed Strange on account of his peculiar turquoise eyes. Then, on Christmas Eve, a shocking revelation and a summons to Silverbells Academy means a life-changing decision for Toby Gentle. Can he really step into the sleigh and leave his brothers and sisters behind on brutal Bluebell Farm? What if it’s his only chance to save them all, and discover who he really is and where he belongs?

Caerphilly Borough based publisher and ICE member, Burst will be in Blackwood this Thursday for the paperback launch of children’s fantasy fiction ‘Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin.’ Author C.G. Hickling will be giving a short talk/reading at 6:30pm followed by book signing.

Let debut author C.G. Hickling take you on a breath-taking ride to the North, and a new world of magical snow globes, talking reindeer, giant blue Ye’ti, psychotic warrior penguins, and Figgypud’s chocolate. Climb aboard and join the adventure!


Artwork by Blackwood artist, Ursula Chamberlain


We spoke to Managing Director Simone Greenwood who was pleased with how the book had evolved locally with with a Valleys author, artist (Ursula Chamberlain) and publisher.

“For me it’s really amazing to finally have a printed book in my hand (rather than just ebooks) as it feels like I’m a bona fide publisher at long last. Sending off copies to deposit at The British Library and the National Library of Wales was a proud moment.” -Simone Greenwood


C.G. Hickling didn’t read his first book until the age of 10, as he found the words would ‘sort of swirl around’ and nothing made sense. Then one day he picked up a book from his dad’s bookshelf and everything came into place. That first book was The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien, and he’s been an avid reader (and writer) ever since.

“The first chapter book I ever wrote was when I was about 13 years old and it was called Godzilla v King Kong, but I’m not sure it should ever see the light of day again!” -C.G. Hickling


C.G. Hicking also shared some tips to would-be writers of all ages –

  • Always keep a notebook handy to jot down any ideas that pop into your head.
  • Have fun building new worlds for your stories – you get to create it all!
  • Don’t be afraid to have terrible things happen to your main character. They need conflict to create an interesting plot.


Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin is available from 27th October through Amazon, or directly from the Burst website.

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