Divided Kingdom

Rupert Thomson, Author . Knopf $25.95 (331p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4218-0

Thomson's latest dystopian novel (after The Book of Revelation) begins in brilliant, unsettling fashion when a young boy is taken by government decree from his parents during the initial stages of the Rearrangement, which occurs in a totalitarian, near-future England. In this brave new world, the country's entire population is forcibly reorganized and relocated into autonomous zones according to psychology, or the four humors: choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic and sanguine. Placed in an orphanage, renamed Thomas Parry and transferred to a new family in the Red Quarter (for sanguine types), he settles in with a father overwhelmed by the loss of his relocated wife and a promiscuous sister desperate for human connection. As an adult, Thomas takes a clandestine job with the government, but soon risks being charged with "undermining the state" when he begins a spur-of-the-moment voyage across borders in search, at first, of his real parents and his true self. Despite a cleverly imagined political system and the promise of sharp social criticism, this allegory limps to an ending that belies its inspired start. Agent, Amanda Urban . (June)

Reviewed on: 05/09/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7475-7892-5
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-7475-7218-3
Paperback - 331 pages - 978-1-4000-7659-8
Open Ebook - 259 pages - 978-0-307-42557-7
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-4088-3312-4
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