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Iron Council Hardcover – 17 Sep 2004
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China Miéville's novel Iron Council is the tumultuous story of the "Perpetual Train". Born from monopolists' greed and dispatched to tame the western lands beyond New Crobuzon, the train is itself the beginnings of an Iron Council formed in the fire of frontier revolt against the railroad's masters. From the wilderness, the legend of Iron Council becomes the spark uniting the oppressed and brings barricades to the streets of faraway New Crobuzon. The sprawling tale is told through the past-and-present eyes of three characters. The first is Cutter, a heartsick subversive who follows his lover, the messianic Judah Low, on a quest to return to the Iron Council hidden in the western wilds. The second is Judah himself, an erstwhile railroad scout who has become the iconic golem-wielding hero of Iron Council's uprising at the end of the tracks. And the third is Ori, a young revolutionary on the streets of New Crobuzon, whose anger leads him into a militant wing of the underground, plotting anarchy and mayhem.
Miéville (The Scar, Perdido Street Station) weaves his epic out of familiar and heavily political themes--imperialism, fascism, conquest and Marxism--all seen through a darkly cast funhouse mirror wherein even language is distorted and made beautifully grotesque. Improbably evoking Jack London and Victor Hugo, Iron Council is a twisted frontier fable cleverly combined with a powerful parable of Marxist revolution that continues Miéville's macabre remaking of the fantasy genre. --Jeremy Pugh, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
" Mie ville moves effortlessly into the first division of those who use the tools and weapons of the fantastic to define and create the fiction of the coming century." -- NEIL GAIMAN " Continuously fascinating . . . Mie ville creates a world of outrageous inventiveness." -- "The Denver Post" "From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The first book had New Crobuzon, The Scar was set on the floating city of Armarda and both of these were rich and vivid, full of life.
A lot of Iron Council is set out in the wide world, it's almost a wild west novel, and there is no strong sense of place that China Mieville normally does so well.
The journey across the landscape was interesting and eventful, and I loved the parts set in New Crobuzon. I also liked the descriptions of all the different races and the remade, and there's a lot of magic in this book, which is always a good thing!
I actually really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book, but after that it gets into the heavy subjects and it gets very serious, and maybe a bit bogged down in it. The right at the end, things start happening so fast it's hard to keep up with it all.
Iron Council is a very political novel, it's about imperialism, corporatism, terrorism and revolution, touching on prejudice and discrimination. It's interesting to read about and certainly made me think, but it was difficult to get through the end. I had to make myself go back to finish the last 40 pages.
In doing so he treats the English Language as a watch-maker who is forced to mend a watch with a plastic spatula - it is so inadequate for the task at hand that Mieville invents a vast new lexicon to help himself describe the weirdity he has invented. Absolutists beware - it is rarely worth reaching for the dictionary as he has moved English on a phase and the dictionary has yet to catch up.
This is not a book for the prudish - his characters are raw, mainly male and spend quality time with each other and aliens. They are made to suffer physically and emotionally, perhaps helping us to divine the author's world view - this book presents life as a bitter struggle against domination by others, the oppression lifted only by hope for the future and stolen moments with those you love.
If you are looking for an easy read - this isn't it. It is no surprise that in working the imagination and lexicon so hard, Mieville loses readers along the way. So many literary special effects detract from the characters who generate little affection, and the plot itself is quite simplistic - just follow the spirals.
Despite that, there is real joy to be had throughout this book. To share in the wonderful creations of its author - cactus men, smoke stone, the Remade and city-sized eyes is a privilege, and Mieville expertly evokes the revolutionary fervour of the late nineteenth century with his Marxist plots, trade unions and seditious pamphlets. It is an Arthur C Clarke prize winner, and if the prize is awarded for creativity then it is well merited. However I suspect that it is the readers themselves who will feel deserving of a prize for seeing this book through to the end.