cover image Tool of War

Tool of War

Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-22083-5

Bacigalupi’s intense and violent follow-up to Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities finds Tool—a powerful “augment” made from animal and human DNA—finally in control of the Drowned Cities (the onetime District of Columbia) after years of battle. Before he can take in his victory, he’s attacked by a missile strike and barely survives. He makes his way to the small ship that belongs to Mahlia, who—along with former soldier boy Ocho and his crew—is running her own operation, smuggling art and other artifacts out of the Drowned Cities. Meanwhile, Tool’s creator, General Caroa, is determined to end his existence—after all, Tool has found a way to overcome his programming, and he answers to no master. Bacigalupi’s environmentally ravaged world remains both richly described and terrifying, his characters diverse and complex. Through Tool, he explores free will and the consequences of humans playing at being gods. Not unlike the previous books, this amounts to a bloody, brutal race to survive, and is well worth the wait. Ages 15–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Oct.)