Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson Bloomsbury, $116 It's not hard to suspend disbelief when reading Divided Kingdom, a dystopian fantasy set in the brave new world of crime-wrecked Britain. Here, in a government attempt at reform called the Rearrangement, people and land have been sorted into four groups: the melancholic (who occupy Scotland and the east), choleric (Midlands and the north), phlegmatic (Wales and the west) and sanguine (the privileged southeast). The protagonist/narrator, who at eight is taken away from his family and given a new life, falls into the last group. In his adult role at the ministry overseeing the division, he comes into contact with people outside his own charmed Red Quarters. Where previously he had been sequestered among people expected to lead carefree lives, he now is haunted by memories of what used to be. Rupert Thomson should be commended for coming up with this haunting version of reality, the effect of which is magnified by his ability to shock, disorientate and amuse. The Independent's Boyd Tonkin described the novel best when he mused: 'The book ... joins the mood of Little Britain to Nineteen Eighty-Four.'