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The Severed Cord

The Severed Cord


Stephen Twartz


Fiction, Drama, Historical, Action and Adventure

Publish Date

April 1, 2022

Short Description

The Severed Cord is a story about love, loss and redemption.

As the world turns to war in 1914, three brothers and an aboriginal stockman have a decision to make – join the conflict or remain within their rural idyll.

When the eldest enlists, the remaining brothers are bound to follow and Jimmy, the aboriginal stockman is coerced into joining them in Palestine, where they battle to survive, eventually returning to Australia, their lives forever changed.

In Palestine, Jimmy assumes the role of protector and is forced to negotiate a world where prejudice is suspended only to be replaced by the horrors of war, a conflict that leads to the most profound betrayal and loss.

Interwoven with Jimmy’s story are the modern-day exploits of the grandson of one of the brothers. Harry is an immature man beset by self-doubt and self-recrimination, avoiding responsibility for his actions and any of his relationships, until a chance meeting with Anika leads, at last, to love, to purpose and the genesis of understanding about his life.

From a prosperous pre-war Australia, to a war-torn 1917 Palestine and from the modern-day shores of Israel to the water saturated deltas of Bangladesh, The Severed Cord is a tale of adventure and misadventure that delves into the genesis of intergenerational trauma, a phenomenon that potentially binds us all to the negativity of the past, stalling the creation of a positive future.

The Severed Cord is the eagerly awaited sequel to The Veiled Thread, though it can be read as a standalone story.


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Harry, grandson of a WW1 Light Horse veteran, feels like he is drowning: drowning in emotion or rather the lack of it, drowning in the expectations of others, drowning in failed relationships. Who can he turn to, where can he find a solution to the mess that is his life?

Jimmy, an aboriginal stockman, is cajoled into a war. WW1 rages in Europe, spilling over into Palestine, a conflict he doesn’t understand, a conflict that has nothing to do with him.

The lives of two men, generations apart, come together through the trauma of war and overt prejudice, and the phenomenon of intergenerational suffering.

This is not only a story of degradation and despair, but also of the resurrection of hope through gratitude, acceptance and a belief in the power of good.

The tale interweaves Jimmy’s story with the distress of the current generation, where Harry’s relationships fail and his life seems without foundation in the shifting sands of a fast, ever-changing modern world. Jimmy accompanies the two sons of his employer to Palestine in 1917, to a fight against the Turks. That conflict inevitably forces him to witness and do terrible things, deeds so against his nature and beliefs, that he returns from the war a broken man, unable to accept the love of his family, detached from everything that he holds dear.

This fictional novel is firmly imbedded in actual events of the 1917-18 Palestinian campaign and explores the human response to the phenomenon of epigenetics, where the deeds of the past actively influence the behaviour of current generations, some five or six generations removed from the original trauma. The narrative alludes therefore, to the trials of first people everywhere, those displaced by invasion (eg Australia, North and South America), those dispossessed by greed and intolerance.

Jimmy is eventually lost to the world, but Harry has a chance of redemption, through his examination of his family’s history and pursuit of past truths. The story follows the root causes of Harry’s dysfunction, through the battles fought by his grandfather and Jimmy in Palestine and the inter-war years and highlights Jimmy’s fight against prejudice in Australia.

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Stephen Twartz

Stephen Twartz


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