novelist, born in Hertfordshire. In the late 1960s he worked as a teacher in Botswana, and a television producer in the Sudan. His first book, Continent (1986), is a collection of linked stories, set in an imaginary sixth continent, on the theme of ‘trade and superstition’, subjects to which he frequently returns. The Gift of Stones (1988), ostensibly a novel about Stone Age Britain, can also be read as a bracingly modern allegory of free market economics, as can Arcadia (1992), despite its setting in a timeless future and a nameless city. Signals of Distress (1994) describes the human and economic consequences of a shipwreck off the English coast in the 19th cent. Quarantine (1997) is an alternative version of 1st‐cent. desert life, where Christ fails to survive his forty days in the wilderness. Being Dead (1999) also explores the subject of mortality, decay, and decomposition.