China Mieville, Author . Del Rey $18.95 (656p) ISBN 978-0-345-44438-7

In this stand-alone novel set in the same monster-haunted universe as last year's much-praised Perdido Street Station, British author Miéville, one of the most talented new writers in the field, takes us on a gripping hunt to capture a magical sea-creature so large that it could snack on Moby Dick, and that's just for starters. Armada, a floating city made up of the hulls of thousands of captured vessels, travels slowly across the world of Bas-Lag, sending out its pirate ships to prey on the unwary, gradually assembling the supplies and captive personnel it needs to create a stupendous work of dark magic. Bellis Coldwine, an embittered, lonely woman, exiled from the great city of New Crobuzon, is merely one of a host of people accidentally trapped in Armada's far-flung net, but she soon finds herself playing a vital role in the byzantine plans of the city's half-mad rulers. The author creates a marvelously detailed floating civilization filled with dark, eccentric characters worthy of Mervyn Peake or Charles Dickens, including the aptly named Coldwine, a translator who has devoted much of her life to dead languages; Uther Doul, the superhuman soldier/scholar who refuses to do anything more than follow orders; and Silas Fennec, the secret agent whose perverse magic has made him something more and less than human. Together they sail through treacherous, magic-ridden seas, on a quest for the Scar, a place where reality mutates and all things become possible. This is state-of-the-art dark fantasy and a likely candidate for any number of award nominations. (July 2).

Forecast: Perdido Street Station won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award. A major publicity push including a six-city author tour should help win new readers in the U.S.

Reviewed on: 05/20/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 608 pages - 978-0-345-46001-1
Paperback - 603 pages - 978-0-333-78175-3
Ebook - 978-0-330-46699-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-330-46700-1
Hardcover - 978-0-345-44927-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 433 pages - 978-0-345-45489-8
Ebook - 800 pages - 978-0-330-46701-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0843-7
Hardcover - 603 pages - 978-0-333-78174-6
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