Nicholas Shakespeare

The Sandpit

""...certainly a thought provoking read." "


John Dyer, erstwhile journalist and now historical researcher and writer, has returned to the Oxford of his youth from South America. He has brought his son with him and he now attends the same prep school that Dyer did as a boy. The pair of them are taking time to settle, particularly the boy, Leandro, who comes up against the rough and tumble of young boys as well as more severe bullying. Many of the children at the school are from wealthy foreign families.

Dyer and Leandro find friendship with an Iranian boy at the school and his father, Rustum Marvar, a scientist working at the prestigious Cavendish laboratory. When Marvar makes an amazing breakthrough in his work, there is huge interest from both the Iranian authorities and various financial and political authorities who see power and wealth in developing from the innovation. But Marvar has been secretive and not told anyone about his discovery. When he disappears, he leaves a subtle clue for Dyer and lets him decide how to deal with the implications and aftermath of releasing the knowledge Marvar has found.

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This story develops from the question that many people might ask themselves. What would you do if you were handed a life changing piece of information that would change the world for good or ill? Do you risk all in the search for a better and greener world with the possibility that in the wrong hands this information could lead to untold misery, or do you bury the information and pretend it had all never happened? It is only slowly that the story builds up to Dyer having to make this choice. Cleverly plotted, several strands of his life intertwine giving him a little bit more information to work on. His relationships both with his son and with the new people that he meets are delicately described. The ending is intriguing but I leave you to make your own judgement on the morality of his decision. 'The Sandpit' is certainly a thought provoking read.

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