In a post-industrial age, the last 'free' humans cower in hiding from the mysterious Masters and struggle for life in merciless marshlands. The Masters - human or alien - are never seen but rule the crumbling cities they dominate with fiendishly-trained dogs. The ferocious mastiffs are also the near-feral police force that raids pitiful villages and herds their occupants like sheep into inhuman city slavery and mindlessness. But city slave Scummo finds his latent humanity stirred when an orphaned child comes into his care. The two are quick to go on the run into the boggy wastelands, living rough, starving but skirting scattered tiny villages in constant fear of 'the herdings' by packs of pitiless hunting dogs, electronically programmed by the Masters to enslave or cull village-dwellers. Scummo and his young charge, Kelpin, re-learn long-forgotten survival skills from Bethyl, the fiercely independent female leader of one Marsh People group. But in the bloody struggle to survive against desperately competing wandering human bands, can Scummo and Kelpin avoid a return to primitive brutality, dehumanizing ignorance and even cannibalism or hope to replace the building blocks of civilization before it's too late? And are the mysterious Masters secretly monitoring their every move, ready and able to destroy the last ragged vestiges of human liberty by unleashing the dogs of final war? In Scummo and Kelpin's hair-raising odyssey of life as outcasts in a terrifying marshland, alive with both human and unworldly predators, Valentine Williams prompts us to ponder just how thin the veneer of civilization and humanity might be. Would mankind band together against a common enemy or would it turn on its own, just as the dogs so quickly became man's worst enemy?
Apart from slight corner bumps the book is in almost fine condition.