When James hid in the Nothing Shop he didn't expect to find anyone there. And he didn't expect to find himself buying a box of nothing, a bit of the original nothing which was there before the universe began. But from that adventure flowed James's whole adventure on the Dump, his meeting with the odd but friendly creature that called itself the Burra, with the terrible rat-general and with the alarming gull people, until the final race across the desert to the beginning (or the end) of everything.
Take a medieval Arab kingdom, add a ruler who wants to update the kingdom’s educational facilities, include a somewhat reserved English research psycholinguist (an Oxford classmate of the ruler) invited to pursue his work on animal communication, and then add a touch of chaos in the person of Dinah: a chimpanzee who has begun to learn to form coherent sentences with plastic symbols.
Mabs Millett is the reluctant heiress to Cheadle Abbey, one of Vanbrugh's monstrous piles. At a deb dance in the early fifties, she meets a financier who offers her a job as an assistant to the editor of the social diary on a magazine he has just bought.
In 1926 the British government was worried about revolution. Two million people are about to go on strike and class warfare is about to erupt. Tom Hankey is caught between his love for Judy, a bright young thing, and Kate, a fireball agitator. Brought home from Oxford by his father, Tom volunteers to drive a train in the General Strike. When the train is ambushed, Tom is thrust into the darkest and most threatening regions of English politics.
Chuck is a whippet. A very nervous whippet, who's scared of almost everything; paper bags, pigeons and of course cats (even the little fluffy ones). Some people say Chuck's a wimpet, not a whippet, and Mum keeps pretending she's going to give her away, but Danielle knows better.
Grandad is the most important person in Gavin’s life. The two understand each other perfectly. Grandad teaches Gavin to fish in Stonehaven harbour, and is making him a beautiful model boat for his birthday. Gavin names her Selkie, after the mythical seal-people, who will help you if you're in trouble.
The Kins have been scattered and the old, good ways are gone forever. Only Suth's skill and courage can save his little band of orphans as he leads them on a desperate journey out of the desert. The discovery of a mysterious, green valley seems to promise safety. But Suth suspects that the unknown Kin who live there could be the most dangerous enemy of all...