Synopses & Reviews
, mysterious underground inhabitants known as the gray caps have reconquered the failed fantasy state Ambergris and put it under martial law. They have disbanded House Hoegbotton and are controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human labor to build two strange towers.
Against this backdrop, John Finch, who lives alone with a cat and a lizard, must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels. Nothing is as it seems as Finch and his disintegrating partner Wyte negotiate their way through a landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. Trapped by his job and the city, Finch is about to come face to face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever.
"VanderMeer's third book set in the fungus-laden city of Ambergris is an engrossing recasting of the hard-boiled detective novel. Traditional tropes femmes fatales, double-crossing agents, underworld crime lords mix seamlessly with a world in which humans struggle to undermine the authority of sentient fungi a century after the events of 2006's Shriek: An Afterword. By the time titular detective Finch solves the double murder of a human and a fungus, he's been drawn into a conflict in which he's rarely sure who's manipulating him or why he's so important to their plans. VanderMeer's stark tone is brutally powerful at times, and his deft mix of genre-blurring style with a layered plot make this a joy to read. Though the book stands well on its own, fans of the earlier Ambergris novels will appreciate it even more." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With appeal both to noir and to fantasy fans, this dark, moody tale is sure to widen VanderMeer's readership. A good read-alike for urban fantasy fans, and especially for those who enjoyed China Mieville's The City and the City." Booklist
"Fungal noir. Steampunk delirium. Paranoid spy thriller....A clear signal, if one were ever needed, that [VanderMeer] remains one of modern fantasy's most original and fearless pioneers." Richard K. Morgan, author of Thirteen
"I can't remember ever reading a book like Finch. Audacious in technique, and extravagant in imagination. Jeff VanderMeer gives us deeply sympathetic characters — especially Finch himself — who inspire us to care about their flawed and tyrannized world. I'm impressed." New York Times-bestselling author Stephen R. Donaldson
Tasked with solving an impossible double murder, detective John Finch searches for the truth among the rubble of the once-mighty city of Ambergris. Under the rule of the mysterious gray caps, Ambergris is falling into anarchy. The remnants of a rebel force are demoralized and dispersed, their leader, the Lady in Blue, not seen for months. Partials — human traitors transformed by the gray caps — walk the streets brutalizing the city's inhabitants. Finch's partner Wyte, stricken with a fungal disease, is literally disintegrating. And strange forces are marshaling themselves against detective Finch even as he pursues his one clue: the elusive spymaster Ethan Bliss. How much time does Finch have before time itself runs out?
About the Author
Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning writer with fiction published in over 20 countries. His books, including the bestselling City of Saints and Madmen, have made the year's best lists of Publishers Weekly, LA Weekly, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. Considered one of the foremost SF/fantasy writers of his generation, he has worked with rock band The Church, 30 Days of Night creator Ben Templesmith, Dark Horse Comics, and Playstation Europe on various projects including music soundtracks and short films. His nonfiction appears regularly in the Washington Post and on the Amazon book blog. With his wife Ann (they have been cited by Boing Boing as a literary "power couple"), he is also an award-winning editor whose books include the iconic Steampunk anthology. Current projects include Booklife: Survival Tips for Twenty-First Century Writers.