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by Geoff Ryman

A wonderfully inventive and somewhat terrifying view of a world where the internet links directly to the brain - yet an old-fashioned tale of the peasants' struggle to survive and succeed - and Mae is the shrewdest of heroines. I loved every minute of it!

Extract

The two women looked at each other. The money was between them. Mae looked at it, considering its power. 'But,' Mae sighed, 'he makes you rich. That is why you married him. And therefore you cannot question the way he makes his money. As you say: It pays for fashion.' She put it back into her dress. Sunni's face had crumpled, her mouth working. She wanted revenge now - revenge for being so coldly, clearly described. 'Fashion expert. Who will need you ah? Who will want your advice, servant, when your friend Wing's TV gives us all advice, and better advice than you ever gave. Peasant. Farmer's wife!'

Parallels

The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman
Theirs is the Kingdom by R F Delderfield
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
 

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