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Useful Idiots

3.21  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
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 ...more
Published April 7th 2005 by Definitions (Young Adult) (first published April 7th 1995)
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Sep 13, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
-spoiler alert-
This book was hard to get into at first, but when I got to the middle, it got more interesting. The story is set in a futuristic England, where rising oceans have destroyed what was once the coast. When a skeleton is found on an aboriginal (a group of people who adhere to the old way of life, i.e. life in the world as we know it today) beach, Merrick, a grad student in archeology, helps dig up and study the bones. He discovers that the man was a grave robber, searching for pearls
Aug 20, 2016 Nigel rated it it was amazing
In 2255 a gale rips through a beach and exposes the ancient boglands below, and embedded in the bog is a body. A team of archaeologists excavate the body, but it is on the edge of land beloning to the Inglish, an Aboriginal community living an archaic and forgotten way of life. The removal of the body will set off a chain of events that threatens not only the existence of the science of archaeology, but the ongoing tolerance of Aboriginal communities all across Europe. But the skeleton also ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Bethany rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
*disclaimer: I read an advanced copy/galley proofs*

Very rarely do I come across a book that makes me regret the time I spent reading it. Unfortunately, this is one of those books. Perhaps some more editing was done before the final publication, but there were bigger problems than typos in the galley proofs. Scenes would change with no indication of the setting--three paragraphs (or even a few pages) into the new scene, you would finally get some detail and realize that you were in an office and
Michele Jenkins
Mar 23, 2011 Michele Jenkins rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, teotwawki
Have to agree with other reviews -- slow to start, then un-put-downable, rounded off with a disappointing ending. I'll probably keep an eye out for other things by this author -- the world building was awesome and the writing very controlled, the characters take a while to warm up but then you're sucked in. Too bad she didn't do more with all the build up. I realize she's making an interesting point with how she left things, but I would have preferred an interesting story.
Oct 16, 2014 Phair rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian
This was discarded from the library but I grabbed it to read. It seemed a little out of place in YA. Might have seen more use in adult SF collection. Very interesting world-building but it got so complicated with political plots and nefarious doings that I was left confused and unsatisfied. I was never sure who was in the right at the end
Jan 18, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y-adult
Set in the uk in the year 2255. A young archaeology graduate makes a grim discovery that leads him to a group of Aboriginal people who are defending the 'old' ways. Reading this book is like being shrouded in the mists of the fens where the Oyster people live. An eerie, thoughtful story that remained with me long after the reading.
Dec 20, 2009 Alison rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary unusual "children's" book with some pretty heavy messagea about the environment, ecology and society. Very well written with some great characters who stayed with me long after I'd read the final page. Definitely worth reading (and reading again!)
Sep 17, 2011 Jenalyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
This book was very engaging and thought-provoking. It deals with political and ethical issues, and I absolutely loved the way it made me think. The ending was slightly disappointing, as it felt sort of incomplete, but other than that it was great.
Jan 26, 2015 Pktechgirl rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed this until the last 30 or so pages when it suddenly becomes an action novel and resolves none of conflicts.
I don't know what I expected, but this book did not deliver for me. Anti-climax. It could be that I read it in fits and starts...but the future world in this book never materialized.
Stephen Palmer
Feb 04, 2012 Stephen Palmer rated it it was amazing
A truly extraordinary novel, and the last one this author wrote. The combination of unique setting, strange culture and unusual perspective makes this a must-read.
This book haunts me...I don't know why, but I feel like I should have liked this book, but ... meh.

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Mar 06, 2015 Nicole rated it did not like it
SciFi crap
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British children's author and two time winner of the Carnegie Medal, Janet Marjorie Mark also taught art and English in Gravesend, Kent, was part of the faculty of Education at Oxford Polytechnic in the early 1980s and was a tutor and mentor to other writers before her death from meningitis-related septicaemia.

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