The King of Spain by Robert Ford

Sam takes up the offer of a job in Edge Hill, a retirement home in Sussex, where the residents have reached well beyond the usual lifespan. He leaves behind a life of caring for his Mother in their regulation bungalow set amongst endless identical bungalows on The Estate.

But his new life is not what he imagined, bringing him into contact with the oddly youthful looking residents, the weirdly institutionalised “handlers” and “The King of Spain”.

Set in the future, there are hints of Orwell’s ‘1984’, with characters and relationships which bring to mind Withnail and Marwood.

There are plots which come out of left field and those, like this one, which aren’t even in the ball park. I’m not sure if this book is inventively futuristic or disturbingly realistic. Maybe both, although I hope it’s the former.

Verdict: Darkly atmospheric, clever and quite scary (although regular readers of my reviews will know it doesn’t take much to scare me), well written and absorbing. Give it a go.****

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