The adult thriller Mandrake is set in the then-future of 1980. It depicts a Britain which, under the influence of the mysterious and charismatic Minister of Planning, Arthur Mandrake, has become tribal and fiercely territorial. The walls of ancient cities have been rebuilt, foreign immigration has been banned, and even people who have moved from their birthplace within the country are being forcibly returned to their town or city of origin. Cooper is a woman with a strong attachment to place, but she is aware of the intolerance often implicit in the rhetoric of place-loyalty, and Mandrake pursues the implications of that intolerance in a particularly unblinking way. Against the madness that has overtaken Britain Cooper sets Mandrake’s protagonist, the rootless David Queston. Born into an army family that was moved from posting to posting, he feels no particular link with any one place and has spent most of his adult life travelling the world as an anthropologist. Both a quester and a questioner, Queston is a man whose lack of commitment gives him immunity from the place-psychosis afflicting the country; although his own life, solitary and emotionally stunted, does not seem a particularly desirable alternative.
My remark on the website about ‘later covers’ was not meant to be a reference to all covers after 1977, but following David Pelham’s departure I do think they took a downturn. However, Peter Lord’s covers for 10 John Wyndham reprints in 1979-80 are attractive, and I may add a page on these in due course. I’d also like to have a page on Penguin sf titles currently in print, like the three you’ve shown, but I’ve not yet requested permission for that.
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