The Marsh People

£10.00 £7.50

The Marsh People by M. Valentine Williams
Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2019 International Book Awards

In the battle between the authoritarian, all-powerful State and its imprisoned slaves, whose lives are controlled by The Masters, there are a few winners.


The Marsh People by M. Valentine Williams
Award-Winning Finalist in the Young Adult category of the 2019 International Book Awards

In the battle between the authoritarian, all-powerful State and its imprisoned slaves, whose lives are controlled by The Masters, there are a few winners.

People have been rounded up from the villages by dogs controlled by the Masters and forced to live and work in decaying, inhuman conditions. Provided with basic food and shelter, they have little else, but like automatons, rarely do they rebel.

Scummo meets Kelpin. Her mother is dead. Scummo is moved to pity by this child, knowing that if she‘s taken to the Orphanage, she‘ll be killed.  Risking all, he leaves the City taking her with him.  They escape not knowing how they‘ll survive in the alien landscape outside. The invisible Masters watch their progress with interest.

The pair travel through marshy, giant eel-infested lands, eventually meeting others living as outsiders, with Bethyl as their leader. Life is uncomfortable and unpredictable, but they learn about freedom, co-operation and compassion and must fight for their survival at times when rival groups try to take over. The Masters watch them.

A dystopian novel pitting outsiders against inhuman tyrants.

Who will win?

‘There was a lot of great imagination on show – Scummo and Kelpin’s world was horribly realised, and the psychology behind the apathy of the city dwellers to do anything to change their lot all too believable. I loved the vicious eel creatures that dwelled in the water, ready to pick off any unsuspecting swimmers, and all the time there were little details that suggest the author knows a lot more about the world than she felt the need to let on. Another thing I really like in a dystopian novel.’

Liberty Gilmore, book reviewer, writer and blogger

M. Valentine Williams

Additional information

Weight 600 g
Dimensions 19.8 × 13 × 2.3 cm

The Author

Mary V Williams was born in a Hampshire village and spent most of her early childhood playing outside with mud, sticks and a dog, before being captured and made to go to school, where she discovered books, poetry and art, which was a small consolation.

With an artistic, loving, but deaf mother, and a father who was an eccentric engineer and inventor, life was never dull.  After school, she devoured poetry and novels and began writing her own.

A nice safe job in a bank was proposed when she left school. Hating it, she found herself working with a charity caring for Polish and Tibetan refugees instead. Later, she studied at Manresa College in Roehampton, accompanied, she feels, by the ghost of Gerard Manley Hopkins who had been a Jesuit novitiate there, and met her husband, Peter. Together they made the most of Sixties London and travelled around Europe and North Africa before getting married and settling in Stoke Newington, a melting pot of radical political activity in those days.  Mary continued to write poetry and teach but missed green spaces and outdoor life.

After the birth of their two sons they decided reluctantly to seek quieter surroundings outside London and when Peter was offered a job in Lancashire the family moved Up North. Once the culture shock had worn off, the friendliness, scenery and the prospect of a larger house, made this a good move, despite the precipitation. She loved the humour and down to earth attitude of the people. She kept on writing and teaching.

As a family, they swapped houses with a Danish family, travelled by coach to Moscow and Estonia, camped on the Belgium coast, shared a house in Holland and had annual camping holidays with other families. The addition of another son soon after moving north and then a foster son three years later entailed a lot of cooking and mucking out of rooms. Odd socks and raids on the fridge were repeating motifs. Mary felt she needed a different career, and psychotherapy training and an MA in English led to a commission to write self-help books. Later she worked in child mental health, and for the NSPCC, until the war between Psychiatry and Psychology got in the way, then for seven happy years as a staff counsellor in a University.

Left with a huge, empty house once the children had left home, they sold up and moved south to Shropshire, where Peter had embarked on a career as an art therapist. Mary now had time and space to write. A series of books followed: The Poison Garden of Dorelia Jones,  A Far Cry,  Losing It, and recently The Marsh People (recently republished by Victorina Press).  She won the Hippocrates Prize for poetry and the Ware Prize. Her poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, and her published collected short stories, Unconfirmed Reports From Out There, is available as an e-book. She also founded the Drayton Writers’ Group.

She and her husband presently live in an old cottage and try to keep the garden at bay, though there’s a well under the living room floor and anything could be lurking in that.

M. Valentine Willaims

1 review for The Marsh People

  1. Mina Sammie ayad

    This is a very good fantasy book! Not necessarily because of the storyline or the main characters, but because Valentine Williams has written this in quite an intriguing way. It started slowly, but after the first four chapters, I was hooked. I like her writing style.

    The characters are good, the plotting, the sets and the scenes are all good, and it exposes some really sad reflections of humanity’s foibles. There’s some very interesting parallels /good descriptions of humankind

    The horrible new world thrives on strained conflicts that bubble under the surface… Overall, there’s a constant feeling of cold, sterile, heartless evil, which lacks total emotion. It sends shivers down your spine. It’s quite scary!

    I don’t want to give too much away, so I will refrain from describing too much punch. The fictional framework can be transferred to some situations we do face in the real world.
    The characters, Scummo and Kelpin are well developed.

    This book is good! It starts slow, but starts gripping from chapter 4.
    Don’t give up on it.

    P.S: Well worth a read if you like dark fantasy

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