The landscape in which The Outcast is set plays a large role in the overall feel of the novel. Much of the story takes place in the county of Surrey, just south of London. Most of Surrey lies in the "Green Belt" (a ring of rural land around London protected from excess development), making it a popular place of residence for those commuting into London who can afford the high house prices. With a population of about 1.1 million, Surrey is the most populated rural country in England, but there is still plentiful open space and large areas of woodland. In fact, Surrey is the most wooded county in England, with over 1/5th of the land covered by woodland including some of the oldest woods in England. Foot and bridle paths wind their way through much of the terrain, making walking and horseback riding popular pastimes, both with locals and those seeking a break from London.
The region has been featured in many prominent books and films. H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds was set in Surrey, as was much of Aldus Huxley's Brave New World. Recent films shot in the area include The Omen (1976 version) as well as the opening battle scenes of Gladiator. In the 2006 film The Holiday, Kate Winslet's character, Iris, lived in a cottage in Surrey, and many of the scenes were shot in the Surrey countryside.
Sadie Jones sets her stage in the west of Surrey, near the towns of Camberley and Farnham, popular with both commuters and military families, due to the various local military camps and the military college of Sandhurst (the British Army's equivalent of West Point).
This article was originally published in April 2008, and has been updated for the
April 2009 paperback release.
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