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Penguin Books Limited, Jan 5, 2001 - Juvenile Fiction - 384 pages
Set in the future as two rival gangs, the Volsons and the Connors, struggle to control London. The city is almost cut off from the rest of the country and surrounded by the Halfman Lands - a desolate area populated by creatures, Halfmen, the resultsof genetic experiments to create living killing machines. Val Volson dreams of uniting the two factions by giving his 14-year-old daughter, Signy, as a bride to the rival ganglord, Connor. A shocking betrayal almost wipes out the Volsons - only Signy and her twin brother, Siggy, survive. The fate of both gangs, and of London, is in their hands, but both must pay a terrible price for power.

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Burgess won the Carnegie Medal for Smack (1998), his searing fiction about adolescent drug addiction, but his perhaps best-known work is the novel (made into the recent film) Billy Elliot. While still ... Read full review


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In a far future, two warring gangs, the Conors and the Volsons, rule the ruins of London. When the leader of the Volsons gives his daughter Signy in marriage to the leader of the Conor family, the ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Melvin Burgess began to train as a journalist and has had jobs as diverse as bricklaying and silk-screen printing. An Enterprise Allowance Scheme gave him the chance to develop his writing and his children's books are now highly regarded. Melvin wonthe 1997 Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal for his powerful novel, JUNK. He lives in Manchester.

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