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This has been driving me crazy for months! I hope someone remembers this.

It was probably but not definitely a YA book, though probably not called that at the time. It was Science Fiction. It was AT LEAST pre-1988, and read (and probably published) in the UK. It might have been from Penguin, not sure. It was not a very thick book, the paperback was maybe 1 centimeter thick.

The following details may have some mistakes - it's about 30 years since I read this.

It was set in a future Britain (not the UK, from what I recall).

The hero, a male, was either about to, or had just reached maturity, and was expected to start adulthood. He was part of the privileged elite who ran Britain an educated clique called the Ests or Ents (unless that name was for the revolutionaries), and his father was a significant member of that group/the government (perhaps even the leader), who expected great things from him (and obedience).

Instead he runs off and meets with the revolutionaries (who are losing), and perhaps falls in love with one, after overcoming their initial distrust. The revolutionaries were not part of the ruling group, though some may once have been. I think he tries to tell the revolutionaries that he can persuade his father to do something, perhaps go easy on them or make peace.

At some point the hero breaks into his parents' house (maybe through a skylight?), where I think he meets his father (unexpectedly sitting in a chair waiting for him?). I seem to recall he expects his mother to be there and wants to talk to her. I'm pretty sure the father tells him it's been a trick, they've been tracking him and he has betrayed the revolutionaries (and his mother is not in the house). His father expects him to rejoin the clique and forget all this nonsense. I think that at the end of that meeting guards move towards the house to catch him (and possibly any revolutionaries who came with him, I don't remember).

In the end the hero returns to some sort of camp or guard post, either under guard or to do something for the revolutionaries, and meets his father. I think the father pulls a pistol on the hero and threatens to shoot him, or maybe his revolutionary girlfriend, but somehow the hero ends up holding the pistol on his father, and I think he shoots him, to his father's surprise.

A few other details; I think the hero (and maybe the government) was based in Cambridge or Oxford. I think there was a wall or defensive perimeter around the city that the hero goes through, out into the wild countryside. I think the father's house was out in the countryside, though that seems unlikely, so maybe it's just in a wooded area within the perimeter.

Oh, and I think the cover had a futuristic car on it that looked a bit like the Lotus Esprit from James Bond (The Spy Who Loved Me).

I really hope someone can help identify that!

marked as duplicate by Otis, Valorum story-identification Mar 31 '18 at 0:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Might be Futuretrack 5? See scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/56831/… – Romans-8---31-39 Apr 21 '15 at 20:01
  • Might they have been called esps (referring to ability to use ESP)? – Ben Hocking Apr 21 '15 at 22:27
  • @Romans-8---31-39 - Well, bits of that certainly looks like it, and I remember the cover very well now I see it, though there are some bits that seem different from my memories; I'm wondering if I conflated two books. I tried to find a snippet of it online to verify but no joy, I'll have to see if I can track down a copy. You are a star, thanks so much! – James Carlyle-Clarke Apr 22 '15 at 1:02
  • Can anyone tell me, does the scene I recall, with him breaking into the house of what I guess was not his father but rather the head tech (see above), occur? If so, that's the book. – James Carlyle-Clarke Apr 22 '15 at 1:27
  • See comments below strongly suggesting that the OP considers the answer to be valid, even though it has not been formally accepted. – Otis Mar 31 '18 at 0:26
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Here's some more evidence to support Romans-8---31-39's suggestion, Futuretrack 5 by Robert Westall. According to the page on TV Tropes and this review:

It was set in a future Britain (not the UK, from what I recall).

"Set in a near-future Britain sometime after 1998"

The hero, a male, was either about to, or had just reached maturity, and was expected to start adulthood. He was part of the privileged elite who ran Britain an educated clique called the Ests or Ents (unless that name was for the revolutionaries), and his father was a significant member of that group/the government (perhaps even the leader), who expected great things from him (and obedience).

"The book follows the life of Henry Kitson from the day he managed to screw-up his future as an Established Person by doing too well at his final exam. Kitson initially ends up as a Tech; the people who run almost everything that keeps the world working from behind the scenes, but decides to rebel and sample the life of the Unmentionables; the disenfranchised non-Ests kept in the crumbling remains of big cities, separated from the Enclaves of the Ests by razor-wire fences and ever-watchful paramilitary police."

"Ests are the upperclass, Techs the middle-class artisans who keep everything working, and the workers have been replaced by robots; leaving them to become the Unnems and be herded onto the six Futuretracks to keep them busy and their numbers down."

Instead he runs off and meets with the revolutionaries (who are losing), and perhaps falls in love with one, after overcoming their initial distrust. The revolutionaries were not part of the ruling group, though some may once have been. I think he tries to tell the revolutionaries that he can persuade his father to do something, perhaps go easy on them or make peace.

"He comes into contact with the Futuretracks: six professional paths for the Unnems to follow. There's the Singers on Futuretrack One, the Fighters of Futuretrack Two, the Pinball Players of Three, the thieves and pickpockets on Four, the whores on Six. And then there's the Racers on Futuretrack Five. There, he meets the beautiful Keri Roberts and develops a relationship, promising to show her the world beyond the Wire and outside of the city. But Kitson soon finds that there's something, or someone, at work behind the whole set-up; forming and directing society for their own ends."

At some point the hero breaks into his parents' house (maybe through a skylight?), where I think he meets his father (unexpectedly sitting in a chair waiting for him?). I seem to recall he expects his mother to be there and wants to talk to her. I'm pretty sure the father tells him it's been a trick, they've been tracking him and he has betrayed the revolutionaries (and his mother is not in the house). His father expects him to rejoin the clique and forget all this nonsense. I think that at the end of that meeting guards move towards the house to catch him (and possibly any revolutionaries who came with him, I don't remember).

The summaries I've found mention that they do break into the Cambridge centre where the hero used to work - not sure if it's his house, however.

In the end the hero returns to some sort of camp or guard post, either under guard or to do something for the revolutionaries, and meets his father. I think the father pulls a pistol on the hero and threatens to shoot him, or maybe his revolutionary girlfriend, but somehow the hero ends up holding the pistol on his father, and I think he shoots him, to his father's surprise.

The TV Tropes page mentions a Mexican Standoff at the end, between the main characters and the Paramils, but doesn't specify much more.

A few other details; I think the hero (and maybe the government) was based in Cambridge or Oxford.

"Kitson and Keri gain access to the Cambridge Centre"

I think there was a wall or defensive perimeter around the city that the hero goes through, out into the wild countryside.

"Urban Segregation: Divided, literally, by the Wire into the Unnem Zones, the Est Enclaves and the open countryside."

"The countryside is being cleared and the unnems destroyed and drugged so reproduction rates drop. First they find Scotland to be completely empty of people and largely bulldozed. Glasgow, the last unnem ghetto, is all but self-destructed. Then they find a fenced community of 'pure' rural folk in the Cambridgeshire fens."

I think the father's house was out in the countryside, though that seems unlikely, so maybe it's just in a wooded area within the perimeter.

Not sure about this - the summaries I've found don't mention the father.

Oh, and I think the cover had a futuristic car on it that looked a bit like the Lotus Esprit from James Bond (The Spy Who Loved Me).

These are the two covers I've found:

Cover 1 Cover 2

  • I've tracked down a copy at my local library and will read it over the next few days, and then get back to you. I think I may have merged this book with another, because I agree parts of it look very much like what I remember! – James Carlyle-Clarke Apr 22 '15 at 18:04
  • Well I read it and Futuretrack 5 is definitely 70-80% of what I remember. The remaining amount is something else that I've mixed in in the intervening years, and I don't remember enough to track that down. – James Carlyle-Clarke May 19 '15 at 17:04
  • @JamesCarlyle-Clarke You could perhaps put the remaining parts in another question! :-) – Luna May 19 '15 at 17:30

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