Words are weapons, and one man is immune, in this dazzlingly original thriller from the author of Jennifer Government.
Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town called Broken Hill. Thousands died.
Few people know what really happened.
Emily Ruff is one of them. She belongs to an elite organisation of 'poets': masters of manipulation who use language to warp others to their will. She was one of their most promising recruits until she made a catastrophic mistake: she fell in love.
Wil Parke knows the truth too, only he doesn't remember it. And he doesn't know why he's immune to the poets' powers. But he knows he needs to run.
As their stories converge, the past is revealed, and the race is on for a deadly weapon: a word.
Because the poets know that words can kill...
Visit Max Barry's website at maxbarry.com, find him at facebook.com/maxbarry or follow him on twitter.com/maxbarry.
Brilliantly realised... strikingly relevant... a resounding success — SFX
Highly entertaining and engrossing... characters that are both complicated and likeable — SciFi Now
Gripping... a pitch-perfect thriller, a jetpack of a plot that rocketed me from page one to page 400 in a single afternoon — Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
Truly original... a crack-paced thriller... smart and tons of fun — Australian
Barry's smartest dystopia yet — io9
Sophisticated and laden with subtext... clearly reaffirms Barry's status as a gifted purveyor of suspense — Time Out New York
Best thing I've read in a long, long time... a masterpiece — Hugh Howey, bestselling author of Wool
Wonderfully crafted, dark yet humourous, fast-paced and tragic in turn — National
An extraordinarily fast, funny, cerebral thriller — Lev Grossman, Time
Delightfully high-concept...think Noam Chomsky meets Christopher Nolan — Vogue
Insanely good. Dark and twisted and sweet and humane all at once — Lauren Beukes, author of Zoo City and The Shining Girls
Dazzling and spectacularly inventive. A novel that jams itself sideways into your brain and
— Mike Carey, author of The Devil You Know
The perfect mix of philosophical play and shotgun-inflected chase scenes. Like someone let Grant Morrison loose on the Bourne identity franchise. — Austin Grossman, author of You and Soon I Will Be Invincible
LEXICON grabbed me with the opening lines, and never let go. An absolutely thrilling story, featuring an array of compelling characters in an eerily credible parallel society, punctuated by bouts of laugh-out-loud humor. — Chris Pavone, author of The Expats
A spellbinding, intelligent read...a freewheeling plot intermeshed with linguistic theory and some genuinely creepy horror set-pieces — Guardian