|Submitted by Henry Harding |
(Jun 16, 2009)
Set in the future where England is divided into two cultures by a fence, both real and imaginary. In the Conurbs, rowdy urban bustle jostle alongside riots, violent sports and noise to keep the masses happy. In the County the time is fixed in aspic to some golden age of Empire just prior to the 1st World War. Both despise each other and never cross the fence that separates their societies. When Conurbanite Rob Randell looses his father in a unusual accident, his mother already having died, the system deems it appropriate he be sent to a state run boarding school. Here Rob finds brutality and mindlessness but also discovers his mother was origonaly from the County. Having decided he cannot stay at the school he sets off to do what no one is supposed to do and cross the border to the County. Once there Rob assumes a new identity and becomes a part of the gentry, a County gentleman. He also discovers that the world in not run as it may appear and that perhaps, it is more sinister than it might appear.
This book explores the ideas of social convention and freedom versus security, a timely idea if ever there was one, in a vivid and finely crafted way. It is short and concise but creates an atmosphere of reality for both the Conurbs and County that make them come alive. The characters are totally believable and the ideas explored are as relevant today as they have ever been. Although a book for teenagers I would highly recommend this book for adults as well.