Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or a carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. The mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure - Francis Bacon.
Set in a highly realistic dystopic future, where the lowlands of Britain are flooded, this beautifully-realised novel explores a world where archaeology is banned for fear of social unrest. One bleak morning, a storm across the North Sea unveils a human skull, which is to precipitate a series of events that changes the lives of those involved. And it is the Inglish, a remnant tribe eking out an existence on the edge of Europe, who will be affected the most. This is a compelling vision of England as it might be in the not-so-distant future.
This is a fascinating thriller based in a future where the seas have risen to claim back the land, the past has been buried and archaeology is considered the most dangerous science. Set in a highly realistic dystopic future, where the lowlands of Britain are flooded, this beautifully realised novel explores a world where archaeology is controlled for fear of social unrest. One bleak morning, a storm across the North Sea unveils a human skull, which leads to a series of events that changes the lives of those involved. Merrick, a young graduate archaeology student becomes embroiled in the task of discovering the origins of the skull. His interest in this bizarre case brings him into contact with the Inglish, a remnant tribe eking out an existence on the edge of Europe. In this wildly progressive new world, it is they who will be affected the most. This is a compelling vision of England as it could be in the not-so-distant future.
Imagine the United Kingdom in the year 2255, flooded due to global warming and renamed the Rhine Delta Islands (RDI), an outpost of the United States of Europe. In this new federalist society, recorded history has largely been erased and humans are genetically modified to be homogeneous - ageless, disease-free, and generally flawless. Except of course for the twenty thousand Aboriginals living in outlying marshes who cling to old human ways and the "Inglish" culture.
In Jan Mark's Useful Idiots, these two societies collide when archaeologists, including a young graduate student named Merrick Korda, discover an undated skeleton on Aboriginal land, the remains of a man who was shot while robbing graves for mysterious pearls. Korda's work on the case becomes politically and personally dangerous - archaeology has been deemed a lost science that can only stir up trouble in a post-Anarchy world without race or nation. Readers will be captivated as Merrick dodges invisible enemies, scours the marshes for clues, explores his own humanity, and engages in a gruesome experiment on his own body that he hopes will illuminate secrets of the past. Mark raises questions about identity, ethnicity, education, technology, the notion of "useful idiots," and much more in this haunting, dark, suspenseful novel. - Karin Snelson