Following" The Book of Revelation--"a premise made terrifyingly real by a hugely talented writer," wrote "The New York Times Book Review--Rupert Thomson now explores a radical social experiment in a novel both politically provocative and personally mesmerizing. One night a boy who comes to be called Thomas Perry is taken from his family, caught up in a comprehensive unraveling of what had been a united kingdom. The powers that be--reacting to their country's inexorable decline into consumerism, turpitude, racism, and violence--establish in its place four independent republics based on the perceived nature of the citizens assigned to each, and reinforce these new partitions with concrete barricades and razor wire. Renamed, relocated, and granted favored status, Thomas enjoys one success after another until, as a devoted civil servant, he suddenly falls out of the system entirely and travels illegally throughout a realm now utterly divided, his life in constant jeopardy. And by witnessing the best and worst and strangest of what society and human nature can offer, he begins to understand how little he knows of his true self or the desires and needs that define satisfaction and happiness for everyone. A highly realistic portrait of a world that doesn't exist, but which bears odd, unsettling resemblances to our own, this is fiction of supreme originality and accomplishment.