The teenagers from Oakenfold Special School return to the front line as dystopian war heroes.
A singular achievement -- a taut, thrilling, fully-rendered vision of dystopia. Bonnello's pacing and action will keep you on the edge of your seat."
– Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes
A fantastic twist on dystopia, with edge-of-your-seat thrills and unlikely heroes... I loved it.
– Michael Grant, author of the Gone series
(Important note: this is the page for Part Two in the Underdogs series. For those who want to read Part One first, ordering links can be found here).
The Underdogs are back. The heroes of Oakenfold Special School return for a new mission: one which common sense says they are nearly certain to fail. Then again, they didn’t live this long by respecting the odds.
The British population remain imprisoned in giant walled citadels, under the watchful eye of millions of cloned soldiers. Three weeks ago, Ewan West and four of his friends broke into New London Citadel in an attempt to destroy its clone factory. As a result, Nicholas Grant – the architect of this dystopia – has been forced to speed up the next stage in his plan for Great Britain and beyond.
His plan: Atmospheric Metallurgic Excitation. A shield around New London and all his other citadels that detonates anything made from metal. Once it is raised, the war is all but over. Underdogs: Tooth and Nail takes place over the final four days before the shield is to be raised, in a conflict that Grant has deliberately designed to affect the students personally: not least by using Oakenfold Special School as the shield’s test centre.
Underdogs: Tooth and Nail builds upon the world established in Underdogs and raises the stakes even higher. The risk to life is increased dramatically, the consequences of failure are catastrophic, and Grant’s battle strategies strike at the heart of the students’ personal vulnerabilities. As with the first instalment, this novel is for teenagers and adults alike, and suitable for all readers regardless of their knowledge of special needs or neurodiversity.
For those who have not already read the original, it can be found at https://chrisbonnello.com/ordering
For those who have, we hope you enjoy Part Two just as much.`
The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 2. The prologue can be found at the back of the first Underdogs novel, or at chrisbonnello.com.
Ewan had hated shopping centres for as long as he could remember. The crowds, the noise, the pressure on all five senses and the constant onslaught of everything demanding his attention. His mother had tried her best when it got too much for him, but she couldn’t control the inside of his overloaded brain. Ewan’s childhood memories of Luton Retail Centre consisted of him not matching the public’s expectations, their frowns of disapproval and their lack of sympathy whenever he had a meltdown.
I guess those memories apply to my whole life, really.
Luton Retail Centre felt much more pleasant nowadays. Ewan had the whole place to himself, except for one trustworthy friend by his side.
‘I hope you know your way around,’ Shannon said to him, ‘I spent my growing up years avoiding places like this, thanks to all the popular girls.’
‘You and me both,’ said Ewan. ‘Well, replace “popular girls” with “humans in general”. Okay, it’s round the next corner. I think.’
He was revealed to be right: the catalogue store had neither moved nor closed down since whenever his last visit had been, and hopefully it was still well-stocked. Other Takeover Day escapees would have looted it before the clones hunted them all down, but nobody would have thought to steal the GPS devices for hikers.
Whatever they stole, they wouldn’t have held onto it for long. We probably only survived the purges because of the thermal blocker my dad stole from his barracks, keeping our body heat off Grant’s scanning equipment.
Ewan entered the store and headed straight for the warehouse at the back. Shannon paused and grabbed the nearest catalogue.
‘No point in searching before you know its serial number, Ewan.’
Ewan saw her point, turned around and headed back to her. It was one of Shannon’s interesting abilities (and he was seeing more of them week by week): she could point out Ewan’s mistakes and misjudgements without him feeling uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure how she managed it: maybe it was some kind of unspoken empathy. With a father like Nicholas Grant, her own childhood may not have been much better than Ewan’s.
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