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Montevivo follows in the genre of anthropomorphised animal fiction classics such as The Wind in the Willows or Watership Down and targets everyone who loves animals, nature and the countryside.
The novel begins with a mysterious character's miraculous escape from death. Reading on, one is submerged into the idyllic world of Montevivo; a remote mountain which could be in any temperate wilderness on Earth. The protagonists are talking animals who have developed a culture based on literacy, self-sufficiency, farming, barter and crafts. Events are narrated through the eyes of the protagonist who is saved by a noble brown bear whom he loyally accompanies through many adventures. These would appear to culminate with the Montevivo annual Harvest and Music festival which brings together hundreds of other animal characters from the surrounding sierras. However passions for food, poetry, partying, music and romance have to be put to one side when a vile crime is perpetrated. Thereafter the suspense of a brutal thriller engulfs the reader.
This story spans 33 chapters, and includes more than 30 colour original pictures created by the author (etchings, paintings, lithographs, ink and graphite works of art all digitally enhanced using computer graphics). Wildlife conservation and ecological awareness are woven into this story and the environmental focus is complemented by a factual Wildlife Glossary with colour photographs that details the conservation status of the 42 animal species appearing in Montevivo.
Watch a short promo video here
Read some sample pages below and also view the Wildlife Glossary and Montevivo Map:
Anglo/Irish by birth, Seamus Shortt was brought up in Madrid and has been resident in Andalusia for the last 20 years. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. He is also a member of Greenpeace Spain and Birdingpal.org; as a committed conservationist he has been active in environmental issues for many years, becoming a life member of the British National Trust at an early age. His novel Montevivo (published October 2013) portrays a fantasy world of animals in the sierras of Spain. The book has a strongly ecological theme, and includes a factual wildlife glossary with photos from leading Spanish photographers. It has been illustrated by the author and is prefaced by an environmental manifesto. Montevivo has been endorsed by the Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente Foundation, Spain's acclaimed body for conservation. The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute has recognized Montevivo as "a prime example of collaboration between literature and conservation in order to raise awareness of environmental issues and to reach out to a wide and varied audience."
- University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute
"One of the UCCRI key aims is to provide an inter-disciplinary focal point for research within the broad field of biodiversity conservation. Over the coming months, we will be highlighting innovative and novel research approaches to conservation including literature, art, visual arts, divinity, law, psychology, history of economics, music, philosophy, veterinary science, engineering, mathematics... the list goes on. As an example, the debut novel by Seamus Shortt MonteVivo is a prime example of literature and conservation collaborating, raising awareness of environmental issues and has been written with an underlying message about the importance of conservation. Shortt also illustrated the novel including a 15 line environmental manifesto within its covers."