The ash tree has long been an integral part of the British landscape, its familiar branches protruding from limestone scars and chalky cliff faces.
But tragically ash dieback, a disease from mainland Europe, now poses a serious threat to the trees' survival. And their grave prognosis took on a personal resonance when, while writing this book, Lisa Samson was diagnosed with a brain tumour, forcing her to contemplate her own mortality while the trees' likely fate emerged.
Taking us from the lowlands of Norfolk to the northernmost reaches of the British Isles, Epitaph for the Ash offers up a rallying cry to treasure these remarkable woodlands while we can, before it is too late.
`Fascinating ... Her pilgrimage to discover the present state of the ash in the UK, and the work that is being done to accommodate or counter ash dieback, is both a labour of love and an extraordinary achievement, especially given the heart-rending physical limitations Samson eventually endures as a result of life-saving surgery' OBSERVER
`Everywhere Lisa's powerful affinity with the natural world is palpable... Samson is right to urge appreciation of what we have; her book will also help raise awareness of the need to protect our invaluable natural heritage for future generations' Literary Review
`Lisa Samson's ... quest to travel the length and breadth of the land takes us on a leafy green jewel of a journey into a kingdom that will change the way you look at the ash tribe forever' BBC Wildlife
An English language and literature specialist with many years' experience of teaching English and Italian, Lisa Samson is a Senior Lecturer in Writing at Leeds Beckett University. Lisa's first novel, Talk To Me, came second in the Virginia Prize for Fiction 2011. She has been published in short form both in print and online.