Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells

In stories which start with the end of the world, the protagonist is usually a person who escapes the cataclysm by some unusual twist of fate. However, this novel dares to break the pattern – teenage boy Danny Lodge, around whom this story is centred, is forced to live in the direct aftermath of a nuclear war, with a band of fellow survivors from his town, right in the middle of the devastation … and the radiation.

The book packs plenty of punches. We read about the loss of loved ones, ever-increasing hunger, radiation sickness leading to death, man’s inhumanity to man in the fight to survive, and worst of all, fears about mutation – whether mankind will be able to give birth to normal human beings again.

On the brighter side, there’s a love story that runs through the book. Also, an interesting sub-plot involving a second surviving community, one dressed in anti-radiation suits and carrying guns.

Swindell succeeds in painting a very gloomy picture, and I found myself wondering how this book was going to come up with an ending that would make the telling of the story worthwhile. It does manage to, but only just. Make no mistake, this is bleak stuff, almost disturbing stuff, and I don’t think I’ll ever read it twice. However, I am glad I read it once, and Swindells is to be admired for daring to write something of such depth for a teenage audience.

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6 thoughts on “Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells

  1. nolly via says:

    summary should be given of every scene but after all i really enjoy reading the script n it was 2 interesting n emotional 2!!!!!!!!!!

  2. momo says:

    i study in bss… liberty campus lahore… I need it’s summary too for my exams!

  3. Ayesha says:

    Hey i hav red the play script…..i luv this story…..so tarragic and sad as my life…..<3luv from Pakistan

  4. cherryxx says:

    there should be summary and why you enjoyed it. Beside that its a great book review.

  5. cherryxx says:

    can any one give a few more ideas of what to write for my book review of brother in the land

  6. Salar says:

    Character sketch of Danny

    The story of the play script ‘Brother in the Land’ revolves around a protagonist Daniel lodger. A fifteen year old teenager who lives in a small town named Skipley with his parents and his younger brother named Ben .Danny is a strong and a muscular boy who was invited by Charlie for badger hunting.
    Before the nuclear attack, Danny was unaware of the significance of his younger brother in his life ,after the attack ,and his parents ,death his personality had a sudden change .He not only became caring but protective towards Ben as he gave his coat to Ben when he was feeling cold. In addition , when Barnwell inquired Danny about Ben he warned Branwell to stay away from his brother. Moreover when Danny’s mother passed away, he bursted in to tears as well as when he felt like crying due to singing on Christmas day. Hence, Danny is a sensitive and an emotional person. Furthermore, when he was taken as a prisoner by the civil defense team during the ambush and when they interrogated him about MASADA he instantly acted as if he was mentally sick and he was successful to trick them this proves that Danny is ingenious and diplomatic and possesses a persuasive speech. Moreover, he was observant as he observed the inner map of the Kershaw’s farm even through he was badly beaten up by Griffiths.
    Besides this, Danny proves to be a courageous boy who participated in the ambush even through he knew he could be killed .In addition, he learned how to handle such situations like the ambush, with determination and bravery. He is a merciful boy who not only saved Chris when Kim was about to kill him but also saved Sophie’s father from getting killed by Charlie during badger hunting .Shyness and meekness are one of the attributes of Danny’s personality which can be proved when he could not ask Kim out and could not express his feelings towards her which shows that he has a composed personality .He has an affection for Kim as he comforted her when she was depressed by the thought that they would never be rescued. Even through he had a good relationship with others members of MASADA therefore, he had a mutual repulsion with Rhodes, as he was rude and strict towards him all the time and along with this he killed his father unintentionally.
    Robert Swindells also introduced Danny as the Shadow man, a history teacher who conveys his expression through his speeches to the young generation. This character has inspired me throughout the play script through his impressive behavior who tactfully handled the adverse situations and his experiences made him more confident.
    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 3:55 AM 3 comments:
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    Character Sketch of Kim

    ‘Brother in the Land’ a praiseworthy manuscript by the conspicuous pen pusher ‘Robert Swindles’ presents Kim Cowley, a rebel yet one of the conventional youth of Skipley. Cherished Alliance to Danny, though not much outlived the Brutal war, Kim and Danny’s friendship survived it all. For this duration, Kim presented herself as a diligent and supportive character.

    Valiant is Kim’s middle name, this ability is promised by her great motivation, enabling her to confront the crucial time period. Adept with the art of outliving, Kim was self reliant by virtue of relying only on herself during the ambush. Well aware with her rights, Kim possessed great agility; this depends on how she refused to accept purples as her food. Perceptive yet down to Earth, Kim was able to analyze even the most bizarre situations, for example, as Danny was captivated by the CDT.

    ”Its better to die fighting than sitting around in this dump”. This saying by Kim clearly proves how she was spiritual, and her words give a sneak peak as to how she was overambitious. It wasn’t that Kim was selfish or self centered, but just that she now seemed to be driven by a fearful compulsion that left there no room and no time for her to show how pleasant she was at heart. This also forced her to leave no time for consideration of her alliances. However, she did consider Danny, though not Maureen and Mike.

    Alert and straightforward, Kim wasn’t a bit feint hearted by virtue of answering back to her sister Maureen and Mike, regarding her sensations for Danny. Kim’s style is rather tomboyish, not that of a typical girl. Simultaneously, she appeared to be a diligent girl since she shared her food with Ben. Kim seemed quite affectionate towards Danny.
    According to me, Kim was far and away the most valiant character, the most brilliantly constructed act by Robert Swindells. Serving an exemplary role for her younger ones, Kim is not only an exceptionally provoking character, but also an ethically and morally amazing role.
    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 3:54 AM 1 comment:
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    RHODES

    Character Sketch of Rhodes

    Rhodes is one of the protagonists in the play script “Brother in the Land” by Robert Swindells. As a villain he plays an important role in the story. Initially he was a P.E teacher at Danny’s school, later he became a member of MASADA. However, in the end he betrayed his companions and showed his true colors.
    Rhodes is cold and harsh seeing as he killed Ben heartlessly even though he was just an innocent child. He was also responsible for the death of Alec Booth and Richard (Danny’s father). After Richard’s demise he did not even bother to apologize to Danny or Ben but instead defended himself saying that it was not his fault, this also shows us that he is selfish. Another evidence of his self conceited personality is when he stored a large amount of food for himself and did not share it with the others this along with his betrayal tells us that he is disloyal.
    Another one of Rhodes highlighted traits in his negative thinking which is shown during the assembly presentation and during his time with the MASADA. Through the conferences held before ambushes we find out that he is impatient and rude as he either ignored or curtly answered most of Danny’s questions. Rhodes is shown to be sarcastic on several occasions. The quote below shows his usual mannerism:

    “Lucky we arrived when we did or this
    “hero” of yours would’ve been rat food”
    ~ Rhodes (Act 4 Scene 1)

    Despite being a flawed character we see that Rhodes was trusted by most of the members of MASADA. As he led most of their ambushes, we can conclude that he has good leadership qualities and is authoritative. We can also say that he is a capable strategist and has certain analytical skills. Rhodes is logical and realistic as he reminded Branwell of their decreasing supplies.
    Because of being a reserved person, Rhodes did not have any strong relationships with the other characters. As a teacher he was hated by most of the students including Danny. Most of the MASADA members agreed that he was violent but they did not expect him to be as greedy and ruthless as he was towards the end of the story.
    “This is Rhodes. He likes killing people”
    ~ Danny (Act 4 Scene 1)
    A sadistic and much disliked personality, Rhodes allows the reader a deeper insight into the cruelty of wartime. He is an exceptional symbol of how war brings out the worse in people. I think that Rhodes plays a very vital role in the play script and adds more suspense to the story.
    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 3:53 AM No comments:
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    Kim Cowley’s Character Sketch

    Character Sketch of Kim
    Kim portrays a feisty, fifteen year old girl who lives in Skipley with her sister and is one of the protagonists of the play script “The Brother in the Land” by Robert Swindells. Her tomboyish personality makes her skillful to join the MASADA which is an acronym for Movement to Arm Skipley against Dictatorial Authority.
    After the nuclear attack there were abrupt changes in her personality which arose the chances of her survival. Kim struggles to survive on her own and does not hesitate in fighting with Chris and Tracey for her right which proves that she’s tough and muscular. The apprehensive conditions made her strong hearted as she did not care much for others. Exceptionally, she offered food to Ben which reflects her kindness. Kim’s operative and dynamic participation in the ambush leads her to a brave and sturdy character. A gamine, who was strong hearted, later had feelings for Danny but her ego did not let her thoughts and feelings out. However, having feelings for Danny of attraction affects her personality, making her becomes more sensitive than before. The feelings were later exposed. Kim strived hard to survive the critical conditions which prove that she believed in doing things realistically and independently. The way she talked sarcastically and being straight forward makes Kim one solid personality. Kim was well aware of the difficult times and acted according to it.
    In my opinion Kim has a stouthearted and enduring personality which inspires me throughout the play script with her charisma.
    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 3:51 AM No comments:
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    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012
    DANNY’S CHARACTER SKETCH
    Character sketch of Danny
    A fun and energetic, fifteen year old Danny plays a role of a protagonist in the play script “Brother in the land” by Robert Swindells. He was victimized by a nuclear attack in his hometown Skipley.
    Danny’s immaturity was greatly effected by the nuclear attack as he became more practical in handling all kinds of critical situation. After the death of his parents, Richard and Mary, he became more considerate about his brother, Ben’s comfort and protection. He accepted the proposal of joining the MASADA, which was an organization to rebel against the Civil Defense Team. During his stay in MADASA, he got closer to Kim and had a growing feeling of love and fondness for her. Although Danny took a lot of time to express his feeling to Kim due to his timidity. His protective attitude towards her, by not letting her participate in the ambush also shows his care and concern for her. Mr. Rhodes caused Danny a tough time throughout this period as there was mutual repulsion in their relationship. There was an ambush held to confine the weapons of the Civil Defense Team in which Danny was taken captive. During the interrogation, he was quizzed over to reveal the secrets of the MASADA but he was intelligent enough to trick them into thinking that he was mentally ill and thus he was handed over to the executioner who turned out being a school mate Alec and saved his life. He being observant by memorizing the routes of the Kershaw’s farm turned to be very informative for the next ambush on the Civil Defense Team.
    Robert Swindell’s very successfully keeps the role of the Shadow Man as a mystery and draws the curtain of revealing the character to be Danny, who was a history teacher, telling his experiences to his students and side by side acting as a mentor for the audience. His messages were a great guide to tell that life is for living, and wars are useless that just create hatred amongst people and that people and that people should live life to the fullest and not desire for death.
    By the end of the story ,we get to know that Danny is an ideal guide to tell people how to act in the crucial times of life, and how to gain self assurance. He, with his great determination and bravery inspires the youth of all times and is a perfect example for today’s generation.

    GROUP MEMBERS:
    Shannel Tahir
    Javeria Farrukh
    Ansa Sabeen
    Rabia Imtiaz
    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 6:14 AM 3 comments:
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    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2012
    Ben Lodge’s Character Sketch

    Character Sketch of Ben

    Jolly and lively, Ben is one of the significant characters of Robert Swindells’ ‘Brother in the Land’. The writer has portrayed him as the youngest member of the Lodge family.
    Before the first known nuclear attack in Skipley, Ben was perceived by his brother Danny, as a careless imp, who was nothing more than a mere accident. This perception is contrary to him being adored b his parents and seen as the apple of their eye. He was fun and energetic, which can be observed when he unintentionally breaks the Gameboy and plays with Craig, his best friend, free spiritedly. Following the nuclear attack in Skipley, he dealt with all the turmoil with courage, and optimism and by being supportive of his brother, and accompanying him on every step of their journey. He is extremely valiant for a child his age. Due to his young age, he is curious and inquisitive and at times, blunt which can be detected when he inquires Danny about his relationship with Kim quite frankly. He suffered the traumatic experience of his parents death, which left the innocent lad orphaned. Ben proves his innocence when he is seen conversing with his deceased mother’s body, and inquiring about Craig, who died due to the wars. This also shows that he was shocked and he could not cope with the current situations. During the face-off with Rhodes in the café, he authenticates his quick-wittedness, when he knocks out Rhodes using limited resources; a tin of beans. In his attempt to defend Kim and Danny, he sacrifices his life, and dies peacefully in his brothers arms. This substantiates his selflessness. He gave up his life, for Danny, who criticized him. Even though Danny behaved rudely with Ben, he still idolized and adored him. These are evidences of him being doting and warmhearted. Simultaneously, he was sensitive and had a fragile heart which is detected when he was talking to his mother’s corpse.
    In my humble opinion, Ben has remained an inspiration throughout the whole reading of the play script and is the true epitome of selflessness. He has exceptionally good morals, thus setting an example for the entire youth.

    Group Members: Minahil Tufail
    Sameen Abid
    Abeera Ishtiaq
    Farheen Talat

    Posted by Warisha Tahir at 5:47 AM 6 comments:
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    SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2012
    Character Sketch of Mr. Rhodes

    BROTHER IN THE LAND
    Character Sketch of Rhodes

    In the play script “Brother in the Land” by Robert Swindells and adapted by Joe Standerline, Rhodes is portrayed as a sadistic P.E. teacher who is an active member of the MASADA and participates voluntarily in tasks which are set up, in order to overthrow the Civil Defense Team. Unfortunately at the end he turns out to be a selfish person who deceives the MASADA.

    Rhodes proves to be a good strategist as he prepares the students and tells them about how to act in different chaotic situations and face problems which arise during the war. A good leader, Rhodes possesses great commanding qualities, as he successfully led an ambush against the Civil Defense Team and made them surrender. However, Rhodes’ impressive attributes go under cover when he betrays the MASADA, by storing resources which rightfully did not belong to him. Rhodes, a sarcastic person responded ironically when Danny asked him questions regarding the siege operation. Although Rhodes played a part in the death of Danny’s dad, he did not feel sorry for him. Instead, he behaved rudely with him and did not even comfort on such a great loss. His cruel personality is proved when he ruthlessly killed Ben and Alec Booth, even though they were completely innocent. He did not show his willingness in taking in more people in the MASADA, by declaring the new comers as a threat to their survival. This action demonstrates his inhuman personality. Instead of comforting the students and hoping for good, while telling them about the precautions which were supposed to be taken in times of war, Rhodes, a pessimistic and realistic person, started to scare them by putting in the picture the consequences of war and the likely effects of it on the people and their surroundings.

    In my opinion Rhodes is the villain of the story who believes in the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ as, when he was caught red handed in the act of storing food, he was not ashamed and did not feel guilty. Instead, he declared his act, only a mere survival of the fittest.

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