Del Rey, May 15 2012, $18.00
Sham Yes ap Soorap the orphan has obtained an apprentice position working for a doctor on the Medes moletrain that rides the railsea with hunters seeking the giant moldywarpes that live beneath the dirt as these beasts are worth a fortune on the mainland. Sham appreciates the contests between the harpoonists and the moles, but wonders if riding the railsea for a lifetime is what he wants to do. He quickly realizes to never mention his doubts to Medes Captain Naphi as she obsesses over killing Mocker Jack the ivory mole who took her arm.
The Mede comes across the wreckage of a train. Amidst the mess, Sham finds several pictures of something that could not be. As he follows the clues; his captain, other train mates, pirates, monsters and salvagers pursue him.
This is a superb young adult fantasy that pays homage to Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The story line is fast-paced and exciting with a strong cast including the prairie as a metamorphic ocean of land with monsters under the “sea.” China Mieville provides a wonderful refreshing coming of age allegorical adventure.