Underdogs: Tooth and Nail
By Chris Bonnello
The teenagers from Oakenfold Special School return to the front line as dystopian war heroes.
Publication date: June 2020Buy
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The Underdogs have returned.
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
The Underdogs are back. The heroes of Oakenfold Special School return for a new mission: one which they are nearly certain to fail. But they have spent their whole lives being underestimated, and didn’t survive this long by respecting the odds.
Three weeks on from the events of Underdogs, the British population remains imprisoned in giant walled citadels, under the watchful eye of millions of cloned soldiers. Their last hope lies in the Underdogs, comprised mostly of Oakenfold students. With a wide range of conditions, disabilities and differences among them (autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Down’s Syndrome and numerous others), these young people were largely cast aside during society’s old days. Now their remaining soldiers must continue their fight to free the society that put them at the bottom of the social food chain.
Ewan, Kate, McCormick and the other survivors must recover from the losses in their previous mission, and face the horrors of military science once again. The result of their last outing has led Nicholas Grant – the architect of this dystopia –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 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.
Special needs representation doesn’t come any more pulse-racing than this. And 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.
Chris Bonnello is an award-winning writer and an international speaker, also a novelist and a special needs tutor. He is the author of the Underdogs series of neurodiverse war novels, and the writer behind autisticnotweird.com. His diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome came at the age of 25, after growing up believing himself to just have – as documented on official forms by a professional educational psychologist – a “slightly odd personality”.
Bonnello launched Autistic Not Weird in April 2015, a venture which has seen him attract over 125,000 Facebook followers and over 2.5 million website hits, and delivering speaking engagements as far away as India and Sydney Opera House. His first two Underdogs novels were crowdfunded through Unbound and was enthusiastically received by readers worldwide, especially in the special needs and disability communities.
Bonnello passed his master’s degree in Creative Writing with distinction, graduating in December 2017. He was also the winner of the Top Journalist and Online Social Media categories at the 2017 and 2018 Autism Hero Awards, and most recently received the award for Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum at the National Diversity Professionals Awards in 2019.
His personality remains slightly odd.
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.
- 2nd July 2020 What to do if you've not received your copy of Underdogs 2
So you may have gathered by now, but.... Underdogs: Tooth and Nail has been released!! And with the messages and reviews trickling in, I'm feeling rather happy with how it's been received so far. (I'm particularly relieved by those who have told me it's "even better than the first book", because honestly that's been my opinion for a long time.)
A quick update for those who…26th March 2020 Want to see something beautiful?
During these unexpectedly difficult times, I've been very, very encouraged that Unbound are continuing to work on publishing their books as normal (even if from their own homes). So there's no delay in the publication of Underdogs: Tooth and Nail.
In the meantime... take a look at this amazing cover they've designed for it!!
I don't know about you, but I utterly love it.…1st February 2020 Underdogs 2 pre-order deadline: midnight, Monday 3rd February
Well, it's been a huge journey once again.To the 403 people (at time of writing) who have turned the Underdogs novel into the Underdogs series, thank you so much.
The deadline for pre-orders - and the rewards associated with them - is midnight tonight (assuming Unbound emails this update out on Monday), and I'll be watching the final pre-orders come in with a huge sense of gratefulness…8th November 2019 Underdogs 1 is now an audiobook! (And Underdogs 2-related updates)
Good news everyone!
Ever since the original Underdogs (its Unbound page being here) was confirmed for publication, people have asked me whether an audiobook version would come out too. (After all, a book like Underdogs in particular needs to be accessible.) Originally I wasn't optimistic: after all, audiobooks cost a surprising amount to produce, and a producer would only pay for it if they believed…25th August 2019 We did it!!
As the title implies, there’s been some rather good news this weekend.
The Underdogs are guaranteed to return now!
Massive, massive thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered Underdogs: Tooth and Nail (also known as Underdogs 2) so far – now the countdown can begin to publication.
So what happens now?
Assuming the sequel goes through the process identically…16th August 2019 With Underdogs 2 hovering at 90%, I'm calling today...
With Underdogs 2 hovering at 90%, I'm calling today... "International Tell A Friend About Underdogs Day"!
The sequel may be doing extremely well (had it been given the same budget as the original, we'd be on 126% already), particularly given how many of the original novel's backers haven't had a moment to read it yet, but progress through the 90s is very slow. The difference could well be made…5th August 2019 Exclusive bonus content, as a thank you for your support.
Hi everyone- some of you may already have read this news from the update on the original Underdogs' crowdfunding page (or on its Facebook page too!), but here's some good news for those who haven't.
At time of writing, Underdogs: Tooth and Nail is almost exactly 80% funded. Can it reach 100% by Saturday's initial deadline? Honestly, I'd say it's 50:50. But Unbound have been very accommodating,…26th July 2019 Closer... closer... (oh, and a new reward level)
I am absolutely astonished at how fast Underdogs 2 has progressed lately. In the last week we've gone from having 54% of the necessary pre-orders to basically 70%!! Huge, huge thanks to everyone who has put this book on track to succeed- if the pattern continues we'll end up reaching 100% well in time.
Of course, I'm not taking anything for granted or celebrating too early. (The…19th June 2019 1/3 down, 2/3 to go...
Hi everyone, enormous thanks to everyone who has supported Underdogs: Tooth and Nail so far!
So, where does the novel stand right now? Well, we're just over a third of the way through the 90-day campaign, and as the title implies, 33% of the necessary pre-orders have been made before it can be published.
By sequel standards, this isn't bad at all! Bear in mind that whereas the whole world could…
These people are helping to fund Underdogs: Tooth and Nail.
Angeline B Adams