The first in a series of novels set in one of the most extraordinary fantasy settings since Gormenghast -- the vertical city of Thaiburley. From its towering palatial heights to the dregs who dwell in The City Below, it's an incredible creation. When Tom, a teenage street thief from the depths, ventures into the uppermost levels to impress a girl, the last thing he expects to do is witness a murder. Accused of the crime, he must use all of his knowledge of the ancient city to flee certain death.
I originally heard of Ian when John Jarrold (a saint amongst Sci-Fi/Fantasy Agents who’s renowned for representing the cream of the crop talent wise) announced the successful sale of Ian’s novel to Angry Robot. What didn’t help however was the long wait between that and the actual release. Yet I’ve kept an eye out and when it was finally available made sure that I managed to obtain a copy pretty soon after printing. But what can a reader expect from this first time novelist?
Firstly, you really are going to get one hell of a curve ball as it is not like anything else out there currently. I suppose some would say that it partly has a feel of the Immortal series by Piers Anthony but above all it’s the sense of pace, wonder backed up with more twists and turns than a labyrinth. Its beautifully written, the characterisation is strong with people that you really do become goggle eyed in wonderment before long. There is just so many great characters to thrill, tease and perhaps even frighten you a little in this world of wonder that could, just as easily escaped from the mind of Terry Gilliam.
Whilst I could wax lyrical about this title the best thing I can say is just read it. There’s so much in here backed up with top-notch mystery and a pace to break anyone’s neck that you really won’t put this title down.