Synopses & Reviews
With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this — or any other — year. The London that comes to life in Kraken
is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about — or prevent — the End of All Things.
In the Darwin Centre at London's Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre's prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux — better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy's tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.
As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens — human and otherwise — are adept in magic and murder.
There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity — and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC — the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit — a branch of London's finest that fights sorcery with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city's entrails. There is Grisamentum, London's greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying — yet darkly charismatic — demonic duo.
All of them — and others — are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.
"British fantasist Miéville mashes up cop drama, cults, popular culture, magic, and gods in a Lovecraftian New Weird caper sure to delight fans of Perdido Street Station and The City & the City. When a nine-meter-long dead squid is stolen, tank and all, from a London museum, curator Billy Harrow finds himself swept up in a world he didn't know existed: one of worshippers of the giant squid, animated golems, talking tattoos, and animal familiars on strike. Forced on the lam with a renegade kraken cultist and stalked by cops and crazies, Billy finds his quest to recover the squid sidelined by questions as to what force may now be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Even Miéville's eloquent prose can't conceal the meandering, bewildering plot, but his fans will happily swap linearity for this dizzying whirl of outrageous details and fantastic characters. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Miéville, never predictable, lobs a grenade into the urban-fantasy genre, remaking it into wild comedy....Miéville tears through the story with an almost manic energy, bulldozing past the few places where the plot falters. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Miéville's fantasy is a rich literary work, full of wordplay and imagery that will appeal to literary-fiction fans as much as to fantasy readers. It is a very dense read, however, and lacks the thrills of City and the City, but Miéville's dedicated readership will be willing to persevere to the end." Booklist
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times-bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.