DARON Sheehan openly admits he was "terrible" at English at school. But the Downley author has come a long way since and has received support from Camilla Parker Bowles' brother, Mark Shand for his first novel, The Socrates Project.

For a first novel Daron Sheehan is doing pretty well as it has already been published in three different languages- English, French and Dutch.

It took him a few years to write and Daron said it is a very "optimistic book."

It is set against a backdrop of financial crises and riots and tells the story of a secret attempt by the United Nations to avert the predicted collapse of global civilisations as water, food and energy become scarce. Simon Oceandis heads up the Sicads, developed as part of the Socrates Project, who must work out how to avert collapse.

However, not everybody agrees with the project, a sinister secret society plots to discredit and destroy the Sicads, who must embark on a frantic race for survival.

Daron said: "Humans are putting more and more of a burden on the land and not really doing enough to prevent long term damage.

"Humans have got to come together to address these problems."

He used to work in the hedge fund industry until 2006 when he packed it in.

He said: "I had enough of it all really. I needed a break. It was becoming increasingly superficial- the people- it was all money driven."

He then spent three years travelling around the world taking part in voluntary projects and outdoor education.

It was during this time he got the inspiration to write the novel. Daron then founded the Active Earth Foundation and Active Earth Investment Management, whilst finding the time to write his book.

And he said it is very much an international venture as it concerns everyone- both sexes and all ages.

Mark Beaumont, the round-the-world cyclist, documentary maker and TV presenter is a passionate supporter of The Socrates Project.

It has also received rave reviews from early readers and a renowned literary critic and novelist Ross Leckie (Country Life and The Times) and has attracted the support of a number of celebrity figures. These include travel writer and ‘Elephant Family’ charity founder, Mark Shand, environmental campaigner, Sir Jonathon Porritt, and Lebanese Grand-Slam explorer, Max Chaya.

And he said he had never written like this before and was terrible at English at school.

Dutch publishers Gibbon, commissioned a translation and the French version is being released in Beirut and Paris in May and June this year by Editions Tamyras under the title Le Project Socrate.

Daron said, speaking from Geneva, where he splits his time: "Yesterday I was just in the mountains. I spend a lot of time in the mountains- it is a very different environment.

"It really clears your brain out. A few days later I had an amazing flash of creativity.

"Our brains are so continuously thinking every day. "We are running around trying to find work.

"We are so busy living in that state of extreme thinking we don't actually switch off and have time to think about different things and be receptive to bigger ideas.

"It is taking the time to be in the moment and take time to find new ideas."

Daron lives in Downley with his wife Corrie, they have three children Vanessa, 23, Thomas, 19 and Sophie, 14.

He added: "I love the countryside in the Chilterns- so many of my ideas have just come from cycling and running around the Chilterns."

Many have asked where Daron got such an original idea. Some suspect that the Socrates Project may be happening and the Sicads are actually already amongst us. Visit the dedicated website (www.the-socrates-project.com) which contains a thrilling video trailer made by French film producer Renaud Phillips and a series of filmed interviews with celebrities and supporters - some of whom might just be Sicads.

The Socrates Project is available to buy from Amazon. Daron will be giving a talk on Tuesday, May 7 at 7pm at High Wycombe Library, where he will also be signing books. There is also a reading from the book by author Ross Leckie.