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The Grand Dark
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The Grand Dark
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"A stand-alone heavy hitter that's more in line with recent deviants like Chuck Wendig's upcoming Wanderers (2019) and Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty (2017). Tonally, this lush novel is...
"A stand-alone heavy hitter that's more in line with recent deviants like Chuck Wendig's upcoming Wanderers (2019) and Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty (2017). Tonally, this lush novel is...
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  • "A stand-alone heavy hitter that's more in line with recent deviants like Chuck Wendig's upcoming Wanderers (2019) and Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty (2017). Tonally, this lush novel is closer to Scott Lynch's pirate fantasy The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006), but technologically it resembles the near-future dystopias of Cory Doctorow or China Miéville [...] Wildly ambitious and inventive fantasy from an author who's punching above his weight in terms of worldbuilding—and winning."

    — Kirkus (starred review)

    From the bestselling author of the Sandman Slim series, a lush, dark, stand-alone fantasy built off the insurgent tradition of China Mieville and M. John Harrison—a subversive tale that immerses us in a world where the extremes of bleakness and beauty exist together in dangerous harmony in a city on the edge of civility and chaos.
    The Great War is over. The city of Lower Proszawa celebrates the peace with a decadence and carefree spirit as intense as the war's horrifying despair. But this newfound hedonism—drugs and sex and endless parties—distracts from strange realities of everyday life: Intelligent automata taking jobs. Genetically engineered creatures that serve as pets and beasts of war. A theater where gruesome murders happen twice a day. And a new plague that even the ceaseless euphoria can't mask.

    Unlike others who live strictly for fun, Largo is an addict with ambitions. A bike messenger who grew up in the slums, he knows the city's streets and its secrets intimately. His life seems set. He has a beautiful girlfriend, drugs, a chance at a promotion—and maybe, an opportunity for complete transformation: a contact among the elite who will set him on the course to lift himself up out of the streets.

    But dreams can be a dangerous thing in a city whose mood is turning dark and inward. Others have a vision of life very different from Largo's, and they will use any methods to secure control. And in behind it all, beyond the frivolity and chaos, the threat of new war always looms.

About the Author-

  • Richard Kadrey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim supernatural noir books. Sandman Slim was included in Amazon's "100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime," and is in development as a feature film. Some of his other books include The Wrong Dead Guy, The Everything Box, Metrophage, and Butcher Bird. He also writes the Vertigo comic Lucifer.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 15, 2019
    In this complex standalone, Kadrey (the Sandman Slim series) introduces a sooty world where a Great War is newly won but unrest, hedonism, and the certainty of a new war to come are driving people “a little mad.” Largo Moorden only wants to advance in his courier job and make a life with his girlfriend, Remy, a rising actress at the Grand Dark Theater. But he inadvertently attracts the notice of his city’s puppet masters, who pull him into intrigues that are both feeding and fighting a rising tide of doom. Kadrey’s initial slow pace lulls readers into a false belief that the obvious dangers of Largo’s life are the only ones. When the hammer crashes on Largo and Remy, it comes from plot elements assembled with such devious cunning that they seem obvious only after Largo is trapped. A constant underlying tension makes the city’s powder-keg agitation visceral, and the individual neighborhoods and their residents are well wrought. Any fan of convoluted science fiction will appreciate the sharp twists Largo has to navigate if he and those he loves are going to survive. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown Ltd.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from May 15, 2019
    A dope-addicted bike messenger tries to change his stars in a futuristic war-torn republic that reflects some of the best fantasy fiction. Kadrey (Hollywood Dead, 2018, etc.) is a trip most of the time anyway, but here he's deviated from his signature Hellblazer-esque Sandman Slim books and supernatural humor novels to deliver a stand-alone heavy hitter that's more in line with recent deviants like Chuck Wendig's upcoming Wanderers (2019) and Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty (2017). Tonally, this lush novel is closer to Scott Lynch's pirate fantasy The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006), but technologically it resembles the near-future dystopias of Cory Doctorow or China Miéville. The nominal hero is Largo Moorden, a bike messenger and junkie trying to make his way through the fictional community of Lower Proszawa, which is just emerging from "The Great War" with its northern neighbor. Largo has a girl he loves and a rather mysterious boss in Herr Branca, for whom he delivers anonymous packages. In Blade Runner-esque fashion, there's everything but the kitchen sink in Largo's environment, including a murky dust called the "city silver" that coats the city, a plague that threatens to decimate the population, and "The Drops," a mystery illness that causes citizens to, well, drop dead. Interstitial interludes from fictional histories and documents build out the mythology. Kadrey has also infused his saga with a terrific cast of characters that includes a traumatized soldier; the cast of a bizarre, hedonistic theater that takes its name from the book's title; and Baron Hellswarth, the influential and elite customer who could help lift Largo out of his wretched life or ruin it forever. Throw in radicals using eugenics to create creatures that should never have existed, and the automata--sentient robots whose purposes are probably worse than you imagine--and the odd mix of debauchery and desperation starts to gel into a stark and compelling vision. Wildly ambitious and inventive fantasy from an author who's punching above his weight in terms of worldbuilding--and winning.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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