A FORMER Malvern student is celebrating rave reviews for his first novel.

David Ratcliffe, who went to The Chase School, self-published his fantasy action tale The Last Dragon King in October and has since won acclaim for his writing.

Born in Hertfordshire, he moved to Malvern with his mother in 1987 aged 10 and went to The Chase School before studying food preparation and service at Worcester College of Technology, where he won a number of prestigious awards for his front of house service.

He carried out his Duke of Edinburgh Award while at school, during which he spent some time at the town’s fire station as well as the former animal and bird gardens in Hanley Swan before moving to London in 1998. The idea for the book came to him in a dream in 2005.

“At 6am I sat up from this dream and thought that if I didn’t write the idea down then and there I would lose it forever, so by 7am chapter one was written and by 8am the plot outline was done,” he said.

“All the characters were in the dream including one or two that didn’t make the final cut.”

The novel tells the story of a race against time to prevent an ancient evil from wreaking havoc on the world, beginning 1,200 years ago in North Wales and ending in December 2012.

Mr Ratcliffe said he had first published the book on Kindle and had been rejected by a number of publishers before meeting another author who had self-published his own novel at a sci-fi and fantasy convention.

“I wasn’t going to take no for an answer,” he said. “When it’s made into a film I’m going to print all the rejection letters on a jacket and wear it on the red carpet.

“JK Rowling was rejected nine times before being taken on and 50 Shades of Grey was self-published.”

As well as now being a published author, the 36-year-old was named Britain’s Best Waiter in 2000 and met Prince Charles as part of his work with the Prince’s Trust.

The book has already received a number of four and five-star reviews on Amazon. One of them reads: “Charming and considered, Ratcliffe’s writing quickly brings you in to a world that’s familiar for its human strengths and flaws as it is strange for its remarkably natural-seeming supernatural would-be-tyrants.

“This is a well-paced read and makes good ground on which to expect other, future novels from the author.”

To find out more and read chapter one of The Last Dragon King visit davidedwardratcliffe.com