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Authority (The Southern Reach Trilogy, Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Jeff VanderMeer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In the second volume of the Southern Reach Trilogy, questions are answered, stakes are raised, and mysteries are deepened …

Following the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in ‘Annihilation’, the second book of the Southern Reach trilogy introduces John Rodriguez, the new head of the government agency responsible for the safeguarding of Area X. His first day is spent grappling with the fall-out from the last expedition. Area X itself remains a mystery. But, as instructed by a higher authority known only as The Voice, the self-styled Control must battle to ‘put his house in order’.

From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the mysteries of Area X begin to reveal themselves—and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he’s promised to serve.

Undermined and under pressure to make sense of everything, Rodriguez retreats into his past in a labyrinthine search for answers. Yet the more he uncovers, the more he risks, for the secrets of the Southern Reach are more sinister than anyone could have known.

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Product Description



‘I’m loving the Southern Reach Trilogy … Creepy and fascinating’ Stephen King

‘Hauntingly weird and brilliantly new … These are contemporary masterpieces and career-defining novels’ Adam Robert, Books of the Year, Guardian

‘This trilogy is a modern mycological masterpiece … Remarkable … Tense, eerie and unsettling … VanderMeer writes much better prose than Poe ever did … This is genuinely potent and dream-haunting writing. VanderMeer has arrived.’ Guardian

‘A teeming science fiction that draws on Conrad and Lovecraft alike … “Annihilation” shows signs of being the novel that will allow VanderMeer to break through to a new and larger audience’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A lasting monument to the uncanny … You find yourself afraid to turn the page’ Guardian

‘VanderMeer’s novel is a psycho-geographical tour de force, channelling Ballard and Lovecraft to instil the reader with a deep, delicious unease’ Financial Times

‘What a haunting book this is, lodging deep in the memory in similar fashion to otherworldly classics such as David Lindsay’s “A Voyage To Arcturus” … “Annihilation” is so disquietingly strange as to defy summarisation. Read it’ Daily Mail

‘Astonishing, frightening, spectacular … The imaginative daring and reach with which VanderMeer has invented and executed a concept such as Area X is breathtaking … Powerful and echoing … I hope the trilogy will come to be seen not only as the instant sci-fi classic it is, but also as Literature’ New Statesman

‘Immersive, insightful and often deeply bloody creepy, this is a startlingly good novel … A major work’ ***** SFX Magazine

‘A tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unravelling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot of Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterwards. I loved it’ Lauren Beukes

‘Original and beautiful, maddening and magnificent’ Warren Ellis

About the Author

Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning novelist and editor. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America’s American Fantastic Tales and in multiple year’s-best anthologies. He writes non-fiction for the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, among others. He grew up in Fiji and now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 898 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (6 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This centre cannot hold 15 May 2014
This is a terrific book (in both meanings) but tricky to review. In a sense it's so pared down, so allusive, so... full of meaning that trying to describe why it is good almost seems pointless. Only the book VanderMeer has written can convey what it is, and you need to read it to really understand. But the book is so good, I want you to read it and do that, so here goes:

If you've read Annihilation, the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, I don't think you'll need much persuading. This book is, if anything, better. In the first book we saw an expedition into the mysterious Area X fall apart, its nameless members dropping away as the narrative circled and circled round a lighthouse and a tower. Now we learn more of the Southern Reach Authority, the mysterious body that organised that (and previous) expeditions.

The Southern Reach is in crisis. Its Director is absent. Years of research on Area X have yielded little insight into its nature. The organisation is hollow, going through the motions, dying from the inside. So a young man ("Control") is assigned by Central to take over and to get a grip. We see him try to "control" the decayed, baroque organisation. (The Southern Reach resembles what you might get if Mulder and Scully from the X-files operated out of Gormenghast Castle: ' secret no-one remembered its purpose even as they continued to re-enact its rituals'.)

"Control" interviews a prisoner, the enigmatic Ghost Bird, who may know more than she is saying. He spars with the Assistant Director, Grace.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authority 21 Jun. 2014
By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER
"But Control had never been good at remaining aloof. He liked to burrow in, try to find a level where the details illuminated without overwhelming him."

If the first book in this trilogy, Annihilation was astonishing, then it's hard to think of the right word to describe this book, the second in the trilogy - maybe astounding is the right word. In the first book, we are right in the middle of the twelfth expedition to Area X - the biologist, the psychologist, the anthropologist and the surveyor are unsure of who they are, but they know what they must achieve; or do they? At the end of the first book, more questions than answers remain for the reader. Will they be answered in the second book Authority? Well, yes and no.

Here, we follow the narrative through the actions and thoughts of Control, a man sent by Central, and who reports to The Voice, who has been sent to the Southern Reach facility, who are supposed to be monitoring and following the expeditions to Area X. What is Area X is the biggest question of all, and the experts at the Southern Reach facility don't even seem to be able to answer that question. What Control finds when he's at Southern Reach confirms all his worst fears, and creates a whole lot of new ones. When he realises, somewhat belatedly, that he doesn't even know for sure who he can trust, is it too late?

This is an absolute gobsmacker of a book; the first book was tantalising, this book is utterly mind-boggling; I can't wait (yet am terrified) to find out what the third book (Acceptance) will bring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Note: Some sequels read well as standalone novels. However, I would not say this is one of them, and I highly recommend reading Annihilation before reading Authority.

And Spoiler: Don't read this review if you haven't already read Annihilation.

The adventure in Area X continues... where we find out more about what has *really* happened in Area X, as well as with the members of its exploratory missions.

I expected the name "Control" to be a function of the protagonist's professional role. Interestingly... it's not. A new director has taken over the Southern Reach facility after the disappearance of the previous director -- who chose to be part of, and never returned from, the last exploratory mission.

Control is not only faced with taking over responsibility for the unit responsible for investigating the strange, perhaps otherworldly, occurrences, in Area X -- he must also engage in a power struggle with the Assistant Director, who may, or may not, have more information about what happened on the last expedition which included his predecessor.

What's more, he must attempt to elicit information from the only intellectually-aware survivor of the last expedition, the biologist -- who seems both strangely inclined and disinclined to cooperate with his investigations.

But the new director bears his own secret baggage: repeated failure at past assignments, an apparent inability at self-awareness, a highly-controlling maternal figure who may or may not be directing his actions.

All is not as it seems... and, what's more, it seems we may not yet truly understand the scope of what is actually happening in Area X...

This is intellectual horror for those who are not interested in the typical blood-and-gore of basic, everyday horror novels -- crossed with an incredibly interesting mystery.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
lost interest half way thru.
Published 2 months ago by Graham Noble
3.0 out of 5 stars Much weaker than Annihilation
'Annihilation', the predecessor to this novel, was a fantastic book that had me riveted to the page and unable to put it down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by BookWorm
2.0 out of 5 stars A hard read.
I found this hard going, with not enough revelation about what had occurred. I am not sure I will read book three.
Published 3 months ago by Richard A. Brocklebank
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by WtW
5.0 out of 5 stars He says they are very good
I brought the trilogy for my partner & he couldn't put them down. He says they are very good
Published 5 months ago by Ms. K. S. Watson
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 6 months ago by Diana Lumsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this book
Published 6 months ago by Miss Allyssa Syme
3.0 out of 5 stars Strung out and still waiting for answers
If you didn't already know how dangerous a place Area X is from Annihilation, the first of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, by the time you start reading Authority and get... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Keris Nine
3.0 out of 5 stars Long winded but with good story
I was really hopeful when I finished reading Annihilation; the writing style worked with the characters and the plot, and the description was lengthy but relevant. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Evan Caton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent trilogy and I can't believe it hasn't been made into a film or TV series yet.
Published 7 months ago by Fitzy
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