By Peter Dickinson
Geoffrey comes to balanced on some rocks that shouldn’t be there, in the Weymouth harbour, with his sister Sally, a lump on his head, and no memory of the preceding five years. He learns that five years earlier, overnight, the United Kingdom became a place where machines and everything associated with them because “evil” and considered as witchcraft. People left the UK in droves, as refugees to France, and those left behind persecuted any caught with machinery, as witches. This is how Geoffrey finds himself in his current predicament.
But Geoffrey is also a weathermonger – one who can control the weather. This is another oddity that appeared five years earlier. Geoffrey uses his talent so he and Sally can escape those wanting them to drown. They escape to France, where they learn more about what has happened in the intervening five years, and agree to return to the UK to investigate a key area of interest that has been identified via satellite, in an attempt to if not return the UK to the modern age, but also address the concern of could this phenomenon expand beyond its borders.
Thus begins the adventure of Geoffrey and Sally across England, to a section of Wales, trying to outrun pursuers in the aim to determine what has happened and can they save the UK.
At only 153 pages, this is a quick and easy read. It’s an interesting premise and also manages to make one doubt whether the return to the modern age is actually the best solution, when you discount the deaths that the change has caused (from the craze and persecution) – as there were benefits to a land of no machinery. Parts of the book are predictable, and being so short there isn’t the depth of character or world building that you would get with larger offerings, but on the whole this was an enjoyable read and I’m glad I picked it up.