Dr. John Bart is Minister of Health in 1972 when Britain's fertility rate plummets. Soviets are blamed for lacing water supplies with ova killer PROLIX. Fearing anihilation, Britain drafts all fertile women into decades of artificially induced pregnancies. John's pregnant young wife Julia complies, moving into a highly secured Mothers Home - both from patriotic duty and from fear of jealous childless women - and comes to believe the propaganda that the "Homes" are safe havens (rather than breeding compounds) which honor mothers (rather than use them.)
Immersion in his work helps John escape his alarmed conscience as his government inflicts more dehumanizing policies, like penal camps for "traitors" who wish to skip the country. Children become wards of the state. Britain systematically isolates itself - withdrawing from NATO, restricting imorts and travel - and wields PROLIX as a threat against potential invaders. Subliminal television messages make it all seem normal.
John and Julia's daughter is born, but is soon taken and all but forgotten. Their marriage gradually atrophies as John's workload increases, and as Julia withdraws into her committees and pregnancies. Unknown to her, an affair blooms between John and her free sterile twin, Mary.
With PROLIX released to the world, the decimation spreads. White militants inflict it upon New York's Harlem; Hong Kong is hit... It goes too far to be contained, and the world's population begins to implode. Reality hits Julia when she overhears that other mothers have died from the wear and tear of extended ovulations and multiple births, and that her Home considers this an acceptable trade-off for the number of babies produced. She also learns that lashings are sanctioned for rebels. Terrified, she escapes in a delivery van. She isn't even sure what year it is - 1978? - but the world as she knew it has changed. Entire towns have shut down. Marriage is out of style. She lands on John's doorstep and discovers his and Mary's betrayal. They do hide her, but soon, one of them betrays her again.
The review of this Book prepared by vjm