The Secret People

The Secret People

: "For the Audrey Hepburn film of the same title, see The Secret People (film)."

Infobox Book |
name = The Secret People
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = John Beynon
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Science fiction novel
publisher = George Newnes
release_date = 1935
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback)
pages = 256 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Secret People" (1935) is a science fiction novel by John Wyndham. It is set in 1964, and features a British couple who find themselves held captive by an ancient race of pygmies dwelling beneath the Sahara desert. The novel was written under Wyndham's early pen name, John Beynon.

Plot summary

In the story the Sahara is being flooded as a feat of engineering when the protagonist of the novel, Mark Sunnet, crashes his private rocket plane into the newly formed lake. He soon finds himself and his female companion sucked into an underground cavern where they are promptly captured by the mysterious pygmies.

The diet of little people is centred around large fungi; the captives speculate that stories which reached the surface of the little people and their giant mushrooms may have led to the myth of gnomes.


The central premise of the novel is that the little people were once much more common but had been pushed to the fringes of the world by their larger counterparts until they were finally forced underground. The theory partly presaged the 2004 discovery of the remains of "Homo floresiensis", a small hominid, in a cave in Flores, Indonesia.

Set in the year 1964, the novel correctly identifies Queen Elizabeth II as the reigning monarch of England, although when the novel was published in 1935, she was not in the line of succession.


*cite book | last=Bleiler | first=Everett | authorlink=Everett F. Bleiler | title=The Checklist of Fantastic Literature | location=Chicago | publisher=Shasta Publishers | pages=50 | date=1948

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