Mark Cantrell, Author

For an eclectic mix of science fiction, fantasy and a touch of horror...


Media: Indie Lit Fest Launch For Citizen Zero

Posted by Mark Cantrell on July 31, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Novel question: Is this the future we made? 

All hell breaks loose in August 2017 when a plot to unseat the British Prime Minister will throw the country into chaos – fictionally speaking, of course.

NEXT month, Inspired Quill releases Citizen Zero, the second title published from author Mark Cantrell, following the success of his previous work, Silas Morlock.

The novel is officially released on 25 August 2017, just a day ahead of the author's appearance in Bradford, West Yorkshire, at the UK Indie Lit Fest, where the novel will be launched to the book-loving public.

Once again, Mark uses his powerful storytelling to ask: “Is survival the same as freedom?” It’s a question that goes beyond us as individuals to consider whether society itself can survive without meaningful freedom for all its citizens.

This time, he presents a frighteningly familiar – yet subtly altered – world. In Citizen Zero, he offers a powerful combination of contemporary themes, each one playing on our fears and hopes for the future.

Told with an uncompromising voice through the eyes of characters from wildly different social strata, Citizen Zero tells the story of one man's desperate efforts to avoid falling between society's cracks. It's a tall order, when all the odds seem stacked against him.

Fifty years from now, Britain is a prosperous consumer society under the strong and stable leadership of Prime Minister Alex Carlisle. But appearances can be deceiving. Discontent bubbles beneath the surface; a political conspiracy is reaching fruition. It’s a powder keg.

This is a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) has decimated jobs. Society is bitterly divided between rich and poor; an excluded underclass known as ‘zeros’ eke out an existence any way they can. The threats of crime and terrorism are used to justify an authoritarian system of high-tech surveillance. What remains of the Welfare State has become an integral part of policing tomorrow’s losers.

That’s where protagonist David Mills comes in. He’s unemployed, on the verge of becoming a zero himself, but then he’s ordered to take part in the government JobNet recruitment scheme. Within its advanced virtual reality world, David is offered the chance to build a worthwhile future and rejoin society. Of course, you know it’s just too good to be true.

David is in the wrong place at the wrong time. An unwitting pawn in a conspiracy to topple the Government, he’s used to infiltrate an intelligent virus into the system. JobNet is the weakest link, David the ideal carrier, for an attack intended to unravel the AI networks that underpin the powerful surveillance machine and set the zeros free.

When the virus strikes, chaos ensues. The zeros rise. Britain falls into anarchy as the Government begins to lose control. The Prime Minister’s grip on power comes to depend on the life or death of one single zero – that would be David.

So begins a desperate manhunt across two worlds – the real and the virtual – to find him before it’s too late.

David, meanwhile, is trapped inside a corrupted reality. Tormented, alone, he searches a nightmare landscape for a means to escape back into the real world. It seems hopeless, but there’s something waiting for him in the heart of JobNet: something that will change everything.

AI masks an inhuman secret. If the revelation doesn’t shatter his already fragile mind, then David will no longer be a pawn in somebody else’s game – he can reset the rules.

With Citizen Zero, Mark Cantrell gives us a thought-provoking story; a terrifying warning from a burning tomorrow. The novel invites us to wonder – just where the hell are we going? The future is what we make it.

Main themes

  • Surveillance Society and the Welfare State
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Security versus civil liberty
  • Inequality and social exclusion
  • Survival and freedom


Title: Citizen Zero

Publisher: Inspired Quill

Pages: 482 (paperback)

Dimensions 5” x 8”

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

Release Date: August 2017

Paperback Price: £9.99

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-908600-51-6

eBook Price: £3.49

eBook ISBN: 978-1-908600-52-3

Find out more at

Or visit the publisher's website at




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