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Lexicon [Hardcover]

Max Barry
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
Price: £10.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Jun 2013

Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died.

Few people know what really happened.

Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love.

Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it. And he doesn't know why he's immune to the poets' powers. But he knows he needs to run.

As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word.

Because the poets know that words can kill...


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (20 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444764659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444764659
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Brilliantly realised... strikingly relevant... a resounding success (SFX)

Highly entertaining and engrossing... characters that are both complicated and likeable (SciFi Now)

Gripping... a pitch-perfect thriller, a jetpack of a plot that rocketed me from page one to page 400 in a single afternoon (Cory Doctorow BoingBoing)

Truly original... a crack-paced thriller... smart and tons of fun (Australian)

Barry's smartest dystopia yet (io9)

Sophisticated and laden with subtext... clearly reaffirms Barry's status as a gifted purveyor of suspense (Time Out New York)

Best thing I've read in a long, long time... a masterpiece (Hugh Howey, bestselling author of Wool)

Wonderfully crafted, dark yet humourous, fast-paced and tragic in turn (National)

An extraordinarily fast, funny, cerebral thriller (Lev Grossman Time)

Delightfully high-concept...think Noam Chomsky meets Christopher Nolan (Vogue)

Insanely good. Dark and twisted and sweet and humane all at once (Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls)

Dazzling and spectacularly inventive. A novel that jams itself sideways into your brain and

stays there.

(Mike Carey, author of The Devil You Know)

The perfect mix of philosophical play and shotgun-inflected chase scenes. Like someone let Grant Morrison loose on the Bourne identity franchise. (Austin Grossman, author of You and Soon I Will Be Invincible)

LEXICON grabbed me with the opening lines, and never let go. An absolutely thrilling story, featuring an array of compelling characters in an eerily credible parallel society, punctuated by bouts of laugh-out-loud humor. (Chris Pavone, author of The Expats)

A spellbinding, intelligent read...a freewheeling plot intermeshed with linguistic theory and some genuinely creepy horror set-pieces (Guardian)

Book Description

Words are weapons, and one man is immune, in this dazzlingly original thriller from the author of Jennifer Government.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rip-roaring psy-thriller romp 8 Sep 2013
By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lexicon leaps off the page in the opening chapter, grabs you by the brain stem and compels you, wide-eyed and heart-racing, to experience one of the best action sequences it's ever been my pleasure to read. Thankfully, the pace slows down as the plot unfolds, otherwise I'd've had a coronary before hitting halfway...

Lexicon blends a nifty core concept, that people can be manipulated by language and some scary specific words suited to their personality, with some of the favourite themes of psy-thrillers and paranormal fantasy. So a spiky street kid demonstrates a special aptitude and is admitted to a strange kind of academy to learn weird skills - not unlike the plot of The Magicians.
But Lexicon gets darker faster than The Magician series, and the plot is told in flashback format, disguising the developments so that the twists catch you unawares. It has a similar feel to some of Michael Crichton's early novels - believable psy-sci advances, a fast-paced plot and a world-killing weapon - but establishes a distinct and enjoyable style and cast of intriguing characters. The heroine (well, sort-of) particularly stands out as a 'proper person'. She is sassy and good company, but she's also insecure, devious, courageous, victorious and defeated - all at once. The supporting cast are similarly well-defined and frequently ambiguous, so it's kinda tricky to tell where the boundaries of 'good' and 'bad' overlap.
I also really enjoyed that the action is split between the USA and Australia -- the trek through the scorching outback is brilliantly written. My mouth dried out just reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable read! 11 Sep 2013
By DaisyDaisy VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first page really confused me, I couldn't work out what was going on and who was doing what to who. Once it became clear the story really took off.

I became so engrossed in Emily's back story and Wil's current predicament that I couldn't wait to get back to the book when reality got in the way! It is so fast paced that I found it a thrilling and intruiging read. I loved the characters and the relationships that developed between them.

*** Spoiler ***

I was expecting a spectacular word battle between Yeats and Woolf and felt a little disappointed when he just put her to sleep. I did think that the end of the book was quite weak and let the preceeding story down slightly, but it is written that well it still can not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book and take my star ratings down.

I would highly recomend this book, it is a thrller with a brain!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of words... 15 Aug 2013
By Ca55idy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An elite underground organisation devoted to training super spy's who are able to control people's actions through words alone - sound far fetched?  Yes and no.  As I thought more and more about this book it's hard not to look back on the films that made me laugh or cry; the books that kept me up all night reading; the joy as the women I love turned to me and said 'I do'.  And what was behind all these emotions, what caused the palm sweating, heart fluttering emotions?  Words.  Spoken or read.  The same things that religions are built upon, politicians wield and have driven so many people to so many atrocities over the years.  Words really are powerful and can influence each and every one of us at the most base level.  So all of a sudden, this concept, this book, didn't seem as far-fetched as I originally thought.

And that's the crux of it really.  Lexicon is an out and out thriller.  A non-stop, roller coaster chase across  the globe.  There's guns, girls, guys and there may even be a kangaroo in there somewhere.  But actually, it's a bit more.  There's something beyond the thrills: an intelligence, a thought, a concept that niggles away and stays with you after the pages close (or power button switches off if you're so inclined).  The closest analogy I can give it is a Chris Nolan movie.  You know it's a Hollywood blockbuster summer movie, its exciting, thrilling and squeezes you to the edge of your seat.  But most importantly it makes you think.  Not just during it, but that night, the next day, the next week, your still looking and wondering how he did it.  That's how I feel about this book and that's why I'm writing about it now.  With words.  Hoping to influence you to buy this book.  Read it.  Then remember this review and the power of words to influence us all.....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original Concept and an Absorbing Story 2 Nov 2013
By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
So many books are published these days that it is extremely difficult for an author to come up with a completely original plot. However with Lexicon Max Barry has achieved just that. Not only is it highly original, but it is an absorbing read, which, if anything, gathers strength as it goes along. However it does not hit the ground running. Initially it is disjointed and confusing. The first chapter is, frankly, all over the place. The story switches between Emily and Wil for a while and in due course it all makes perfect sense and is well worth persevering with.

The basic premise is that everyone, or nearly everyone, is susceptible to certain power words, which will take away free will and compel one to follow commands. There is an organisation, known as The Poets, who appreciate this and use it to train suitable practitioners and to exploit its potential. The truly powerful words or Barewords, have the potential to create mayhem, destroy civilisations or even to bring down the legendary Tower of Babel. Whilst this a struggle of good against evil, it is fairly clear which side is evil, but it is not at all clear which is good. The boundaries are rather blurred.

This is a really interesting book and one in which the outcome is not signposted in advance and keeps you guessing until the end. Initially less than compelling it is a story which will reward if you stick with it. This tale is not obviously the basis for a series of books but the concept is so compelling that it must have further potential. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Derren Browns ideal world.
Max Barry hits another one out the ball park.
It's been a number of years since I read anything by Mr Barry. Read more
Published 1 month ago by bang
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is Max Barry hidden away in SF!!!!!!
Fantastic read with a compelling premise. The first of Barry's novels and will not be the last. Read this! Trust me it's a great read.
Published 1 month ago by edo
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what this novel is trying to be...
I was taken in by some of the reviews on the book that were printed in the book itself, but now having ploughed my way through it I found the plot to be very thin and a bit... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve Wakeland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed this book.
Published 1 month ago by mr
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
definitely by far one of the best books I have ever read and believe me I've read a lot of books
Published 3 months ago by Miss E L Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Everyone! Brilliant, beautiful, book.
Regardless of your usual preference for particular genres, this is a book anyone who enjoys good books will like. I didn't set out to buy Lexicon. Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. Garland
5.0 out of 5 stars Snaptakingly fresh writing
Snaptakingly fresh writing with more levels than an open-cut-mine and the plot swinging plausibility of free verse. Reason over rhyme. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Myra King
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic start - long, average middle - good ending
I loved the first 50-70 pages of this book; it was engaging, different, confusing, entertaining and interesting, but then came a long slug with too much conversation (unfortunately... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
I loved this book - brilliant - couldn't stop reading, would highly recommend - a real page turner - edge of my seat
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars You say the sweetest things
Max Barry is an ideas man. He has previously written of a kind of government/corporate interface full of conspiracies and rules. His works have a Brave New World feel to them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MisterHobgoblin
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