This is an excellent first novel.
I'm not someone who would normally enthuse over a book, but Palmer has created a vivid vision of a future city, very different from our own society. His style and ideas are original and impressive, and his tale is told with an imaginative writing style.
The City is the last remaining outpost of "civilisation", on a world completely over-run with rampant vegetation.
Have you ever looked at a ruined building - how quickly nature takes it over, breaking down concrete with it roots and branches, eating walls with moss, bringing down roofs with ivy? This book turns this into a swift and horrific scenario.
The city is slowly being choked to death by the products of Mankind's tampering with genetics. Greenery is becoming a deadly plague, squeezing humans into ever smaller parts of the city.
As the book progresses, I truly felt the panic of the population, the steady descent into decay, anarchy and death, as a civilisation is silently strangled to death by creeping vines (though so much more real and sinister than Day of the Triffids!).
Read together with "Glass" - the partner rather than sequel to this novel - each book shows a different version of the same city (or is it...), separated in time and space.
This book is a must for anyone interested in new and original modern science fiction.