Joint-second place in The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2020
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.