In the idyllic village of Touchstone, the birds are singing and everyone is happy. But Ethan knows it’s not real. England may be ruined and plagued with riots, but Touchstone is more dangerous still.
"Looking again at Machineries of Mercy now, I see traces of so much that I loved when I was growing up and continue to love now: theme parks, open-world video games, cosy catastrophes, fictional havoc in idyllic locations. And it’s no coincidence that the virtual village in the novel is named Touchstone. The novel draws upon films that meant a lot to me: Tron, Battle Royale, Existenz and, particularly, Westworld."