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On ritual occasions Plato, the orator, summons the citizens of London to impart the ancient history of their city, dwelling particularly on the unhappy era of Mouldwarp (AD 1500-2300). He lectures on The Origin of Species by the nineteenth-century velist Charles Dickens and on Sigmund Freud; whilst providing a glossary of twentieth century terms, and explaining such early myths of creation as 'super-string theory' and 'relativity'. But then he has a dream, or vision, or he goes on a real journey - opinions are divided - and enters a vast underground cavern, where citizens of Mouldwarp London still live. On his return, Plato shares his stories of this lost world, but his words spread consternation among his fellow citizens and they quickly put him on trial for corrupting the youth with his lies and fables.
Peter Ackroyd has written acclaimed biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, Shakespeare and Thomas More, as well as short books about Chaucer, J.M.W. Turner, Isaac Newton and most recently, Edgar Allan Poe. A bestselling biographer, historian, novelist and broadcaster, he holds a CBE for services to literature. He is the author of the London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River, and lives in London.