An Anatomy

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Del Rey, c2010
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780345497499
Branch Call Number: FIC Mievi 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 509 p


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Sep 30, 2016

Read Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" and loved it. Really wanted to like this book too, but, honestly, found it to be derivative of, and less well-done than, "Neverwhere".

Aug 14, 2016

A very long fantasy voyage through a London populated with a plethora of bizarre competing cults, on of which is trying to bring about the world's end. Over the top, even for China Miéville.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 20, 2014

This is an incoherent hodgepodge of apocalyptic fantasy set in an alternate London, somewhat redeemed by Mieville's prolific imagining of odd and startling concepts overlaid on mundane urban life. But his most compelling characters are derived from a pair of sociopaths in Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere." Your time might be better spent in re-reading that classic of an "other London."

ColemanRidge Feb 07, 2013

This is huge fun. Mieville walks over into Neil Gaiman's territory with a story of gods and sorcerers warring in a hidden London. One value of this book is that it serves notice to Gaiman that if he wants to hold his place, he had better stop fooling around with children's stories and write something of stature. There is a lot of solid thinking about the nature and use of religion going on in the background of the story, mostly as invisibly as Tolkien's work on the Silmarillon in the Trilogy, but giving the work the same feeling of hidden depth. The bits of thought that do peek through are well worth reading. Mieville is a smart, well-educated Marxist, and Marxist critique of religion is much more sympathetic and subtle than recent popular efforts along the same line. Almost every story Mieville has ever written is set in some version of London, and in this one, he gets very close to the real London. The work gets life from the near presence of his beloved. As always, his imagery is disturbingly different from the usual fantasy menagerie. The Angels of Memory, guardian spirits coalesced from the innate magic of the city's museums and libraries, are an example. The Museum of Natural History's angel is a huge specimen jar of formaldehyde and bits of tissue, topped by a skull and ringed by sharp bone arms around its neck. Also, hidden streets, secret doors, running up and down walls, fighting, shooting, magic, a striking and effective allusion to the children's picture book Zoom at Sea, and an oddly sexy, moderately bad police witch.

Aug 18, 2012

One of Mieville's finest and most entertaining books. Readers of The City & The City will recognize familiar themes in the magical side of London that exists for cultists and magicians, that most of its citizens are never aware of. This book contains a huge mash-up of magic, fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. It's a big book that rewards the time that it takes to read it. Clever and fast-paced fun.

Jun 03, 2012

Although I liked "The City and The City", this book is written in what is to me a very confusing and garbled style. I abandoned the book at page 255. Enough is enough.

GManBruce May 04, 2012

If Mr. Mieville were the unlikely spawn of Harlen Ellison, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny and Anne Rice then one woudn't be surprised by the imagination and sheer complexity of this book! It's got everything and finally, London is no longer a boring place.

Dec 11, 2011

Excellent book. For fans of Neil Gaiman, and Tim Powers.
Love the length, pacing, and characters.

Sep 26, 2011

Land of much weirdness in a convoluted fantasy of giant squid and extreme origami. Got about half way through and just couldn't get through to the end.

Feb 01, 2011

Unfortunately, I just couldn't finish this one. I loved "The City and the City" but couldn't get into this one. The actual plot, setting and characters were actually quite interesting and I liked the whole magic underworld in London. Kind of reminded me of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell sort of. But the way the book was written just turned me off. The author goes a bit too far out of his way to write in an odd metaphysical sort of way with what seems like a mix of made up or mish-mash words. I'm sure if I forced myself to finsh I'd probably would have liked it more so I feel a bit bad, but I guess this one wasn't for me.

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Mar 01, 2011

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