In this breathtaking debut novel, one man embarks on a thrilling and treacherous quest for his people’s lost god—in a labyrinthine Dickensian city that is either blessed . . . or haunted.
Arjun arrives in Ararat just as a magnificent winged creature sails over the city. It is the day of the return of that long-awaited mystical creature: the great Bird. As it soars across the land, as the city’s mapless streets are transformed, as the great river changes its course, as the territories of the city’s avian life are redrawn, crowds cheer and guns salute. Then comes the time for the Bird’s power to be trapped—within the hull of the floating warship Thunderer, now a living temple to the Bird, and a terrible new weapon to be used, allegedly, in the interests of all of Ararat.
Hurtled into this convulsing world is Arjun, who will unwittingly unleash a dark power beyond his imagining—and dare to test Ararat’s moving boundaries. For in this city of gods, he has come to search among them, not to hide.
In this breathtaking debut novel by Felix Gilman, one man embarks on a thrilling and treacherous quest for his people’s lost god—in an elaborate Dickensian city that is either blessed …or haunted.
Arjun arrives in Ararat just as a magnificent winged creature swoops and sails over the city. For it is the day of the return of that long-awaited, unpredictable mystical creature: the great Bird. But does it come for good or ill? And in the service of what god? Whatever its purpose, for one inhabitant the Bird sparks a long-dormant idea: to map the mapless city and liberate its masses with the power of knowledge.
As the creature soars across the land, shifting topography, changing the course of the river, and redrawing the territories of the city’s avian life, crowds cheer and guns salute in a mix of science and worship. Then comes the time for the Bird’s power to be trapped—within the hull of a floating warship called Thunderer, an astounding and unprecedented weapon. The ship is now a living temple to the Bird, a gift to be used, allegedly, in the interests of all of Ararat.
Hurtled into this convulsing world is Arjun, an innocent who will unwittingly unleash a dark power beyond his imagining—and become entangled in a dangerous underground movement that will forever transform Ararat. As havoc overtakes the streets, Arjun dares to test the city’s moving boundaries. In this city of gods, he has come to search among them, not to hide.
A tour de force of the imagination, and a brilliant tale of rebellion, Thunderer heralds the arrival of a truly gifted fantasy writer who has created a tale as rich, wondrous, and captivating as the world in which it is set.
"Gilman takes his readers on a journey through a world of deep and wondrous impossibilities where marvels lurk around every corner. His infinite city and the lives of its people quickly become an irresistible compulsion— I imagine an evening where Dickens, Miyazaki, and Jules Verne sat down to dream up a metropolis and its wrangling multitudes. Thunderer will leave you wide eyed, breathless and hoping for more."—David Keck, author of In the Eye of Heaven
“Memorably inventive, with intriguing characters … impressive.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Gilman is far above average for a first novelist."—Booklist
“Entrancing. A subtle mix of magic realism and epic fantasy, with the beauty of the former and the worldbuilding of the latter. Recommended for any who want to sit back for a spell and just dream.” —Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn
“Incredibly imaginative—a brilliant new author.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of Shriek
“Carries the day with panache and boldness and ingenuity…What Gilman has achieved here is something exotic and Borgesian, a novel that never stumbles or disappoints.”—SciFi.com, Grade: A