Mark Dunn Under the Harrow

ISBN 13: 9781596923690

Under the Harrow

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What if Charles Dickens had written a 21st century thriller? Welcome to Dingley Dell. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Ninth Edition), a King James Bible, a world atlas, and a complete set of the novels of Charles Dickens are the only books left to the orphans of Dingley Dell when the clandestine anthropological experiment begins. From these, they develop their own society, steeped in Victorian tradition and the values of a Dickensian world. For over a century Dinglians live out this semi-idyllic and anachronistic existence, aided only by minimal trade with the supposedly plague-ridden Outland. But these days are quickly coming to an end. The experiment, which has evolved into a lucrative voyeuristic peep-box for millionaires and their billionaire descendants, has run its course. Dingley Dell must be totally expunged, and with it, all trace of the thousands of neo-Victorians who live there. A few Dinglians learn the secret of both their manipulated past and their doomed future, and this small, motley crew of Dickensian innocents must race the clock to save their countrymen and themselves from mass annihilation.

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About the Author:

Mark Dunn's debut novel, Ella Minnow Pea was winner of the Borders Original Voices Book of the Year and a finalist for the BookSense Book of The Year. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Mary.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Dickens lovers, rejoice! Dunn (Ella Minnow Pea, 2002) folds a nineteenth-century writing style into a delightfully original story spiced with wonderfully evocative names and personalities from the Dickens oeuvre. Every word in this leisurely paced treasure is meant to be savored. Every scene is a theatrical masterpiece, providing plentiful opportunity to bark with laughter, raise eyebrows in amazement, and sigh in despair. Dingley Dell, hidden in backcountry Pennsylvania, proceeds in its anachronistic Victorian style as an experiment begun decades ago, when Darwinian scientists wanted to know how a small society would evolve, given no new input from the outside world. Unaware of their true role in a larger scheme, people in the Dell are informed that a horrible plague has occurred, and they are to be quarantined for safety. Government corruption, greed, classism, and distrust are at the center of this story, told by Dell resident Frederick Trimmers, Esq., for the edification of Outlanders. Dingley Dell is truly “under the harrow”—that is, under fire—its residents the victims of a most dastardly deception. Similar to Orwell’s Animal Farm, with a hint of Jasper Fforde, this story will make you think and laugh at the same time. --Jen Baker

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