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The Scar (New Crobuzon 2) Paperback – 6 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330534319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330534314
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian).

Product Description

Amazon Review

The question was always: what would he do for an encore? China Mieville's third novel The Scar is set in the same world as his award-winning Perdido Street Station but is a very different book, set in a very different city. Where his New Crobuzon was an old metropolis of cruelty, oppression and glamour, the floating freebooter city Armada is a place of refuge even for those who experience it as a prison. Brilliant linguist Bellis Coldwine is on the run when she is press-ganged by pirates who turn out to be rather more; her abilities make her a valuable commodity and she finds herself intermittently useful to a project so ambitious that it takes her much of the book to comprehend fully. Mieville takes interesting chances by making Bellis his protagonist--she has an arrogant selfishness that at times makes one breathless--but her guts, determination and intermittent realism about herself gradually endear her to us. This is an intelligent book about how individuals and events influence each other and the meaning of freedom. Mieville has a sense of the sea as the place of a menace almost incomprehensibly huge; like Perdido Street Station, The Scar is full of breath-taking moments of wonder which are also moments of heart-stopping terror. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The reaction to China Mi ville's Perdido Street Station was remarkable: few books in the SF and fantasy field achieve the acclaim of this dark masterpiece. Its seaborne successor is rich with the same vaunting imagination and cannily wrought prose. A ship sets out on a voyage from New Crobuzon towards a new colony, its hold full of criminals to be used as slaves. It passes over inshore waters ruled by a race of human-lobster centaurs, is pursued by demonic mermen, and is captured by a floating pirate city tugged across the sea by a giant beast. This fantastical voyage of exploration and discovery coruscates with Mi ville's unstoppable imagination, and the inventiveness takes the breath away. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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It is only ten miles beyond the city that the river loses its momentum, drooling into the brackish estuary that feeds Iron Bay. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
My relationship with China Mieville's work is somewhat complicated. I detested Kraken with every fibre of my being, because it was an excellent idea poorly executed. Despite that, I still read the first of his Bas-Lag novels, Perdido Street Station, which I enjoyed much more, even though I still believed it had many of the same infuriating faults of Kraken and Mieville still rather struck me as someone I might want to punch. One of the things I did like about Perdido Street Station, however, was New Crobuzon, the huge, corrupt city state in which the station lies, and I wanted to explore it further. So I bought The Scar.

Which turned out not to be set in New Crobuzon at all.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter. I thoroughly enjoyed The Scar anyway.

The only real link to Perdido Street Station in The Scar is Bellis Coldwine, the lead character. A gifted linguist who works as a translator, she is apparently suspected of being somehow guilty by association in connection with some of the events of Perdido Street Station, and has been forced to flee New Crobuzon as a result on a ship that carries voluntary passengers hoping to make a new life for themselves, as well as convicts to be used as slave labour. Midway through the journey, the ship is attacked by pirates, and the surviving passengers, crew and slaves are taken to live in Armada, a floating city of countless plundered ships. Reluctantly trapped in a city she will never call home, Bellis becomes embroiled in a complex plan by the mysterious, disfigured Lovers, who largely rule Armada, to tap into the potential of 'The Scar', a fragile flaw in reality which could provide them with limitless power.

Armada itself is an outlandish creation, but nevertheless Mieville mostly manages not to show off about it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cotton on 14 Mar. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mieville recreates the world of Bas Lag for our entertainment. Amazing imagination. But isn't it all a bit for nothing? The characters are all wonderfully developed, the concepts brilliantly alien and leftfield, but in the end does the storyline deserve it?
I am left with the same feeling as when I read Perdido Street Station, the richness and creativity of the world is not backed up by a strong enough story. I was waiting to get the punchline that would reveal a powerful insight into the human condition, it never came.
So what I am left with is a fantastically painred fresco with immaculate detail, but the haymaker, the knockout blow, never comes.
Don't get me wrong I quite like the idea that the reader is not due anything, not every story should reveal some great truth, but you end up feeling a little cheated.
AND THAT MAKES ME LOVE IT MORE, where is the next mieville
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Craig on 24 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
From the author who gave us the brilliant and phantasmagoric 'Perdido Street Station' comes a new work similarly brimming with wit, inventiveness and interest.
The author's use of language to paint vivid and engaging pictures is just as evident as in 'Perdido Street Station'. Sights which could be comic if handled only slightly differently hold chilling and at times repellent fascination. Mieville's ability to capture the essence of s scene, person or thing within the space of a few words is one of the things which makes 'The Scar' a truly enjoyable read.
However, it's not one for the faint hearted. The author is certainly emergining as one of the finest current exponents of weird fiction. His books blur the boundary between fantasy, SF, horror and all manner of traditional genres, giving a sense of the truly new and innovative. Like any author, there's a certain amount of hat-tipping to favourite and inspirational writers, yet the book has a freshness of idea and place which marks it out from others. The story starts off simply, with the escape of one character from the sprawl of New Crobuzon, the transporting of prisoners across the sea, acts of piracy and the amazing appearance of familiar objects (you'll know what I mean when you come to them).
All in all, if you enjoyed 'King Rat' or 'Perdido Street Station', then you'll most certainly enjoy 'The Scar'. If you've not read the authors work before, then I'd heartily recommend this and all of his novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shah Chowdhury on 28 July 2006
Format: Paperback
The second book after the innocuously titled "Perdido Street Station" builds upon the wonderfully leftfield creation from Britain best fantasy writer China Mielville. Insanely descriptive and awash with strange creatures fathomed from a otherworldly conscience this book is brimming full of ideas. Mielville tells the story of a pirate nation searching for a well of power found within a fabled scar, a rent in the bottom of the ocean. This is a backdrop for a myriad of subplots and twists involving politics, war and people. Motivations are mapped out and charted in rich detail that bring you into the tale and help expand the world of Bas-Lag. There are wider horizons than New Crobuzon but the echoing desire to explore that city from the first book is felt by the central character well carved out but never overshadowing the numerous other players in the tale.
Miellville never disappoints in this weighty tome and leaves one wanting to find out more about what makes this world tick and what indeed fuels his mind.
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