'I burned through it . . . Great book: Tinker Tailer Soldier Spook' Ian McDonald
Loss is a thing of the past. Murder is obsolete. Death is just the beginning.
How do you catch a spy who's already dead?
In 1938, death is no longer feared but exploited.
Since the discovery of the afterlife, the British Empire has extended its reach into Summerland, a metropolis for the recently deceased.
But Britain isn't the only contender for power in this life and the next. The Soviets have spies in Summerland, and the technology to build their own god.
When SIS agent Rachel White gets a lead on one of the Soviet moles, blowing the whistle puts her hard-earned career at risk. The spy has friends in high places, and she will have to go rogue to bring him in.
'Summerland: As if Alfred Hitchcock had made a movie with HP Lovecraft . . . A vision so original it deserves its own subgenre. And all worked out with the diamond-hard logic of a great SF writer. After Summerland, the thriller has a new geometry' Stephen Baxter
'Eerily plausible, beautifully pitched on the cusp between wonder and horror, and thoroughly engrossing from the first page to the last' Alastair Reynolds
'Clever, subtle and . . . has a rich emotional centre' SFX
'Summerland is in its own way as persuasive an example of Rajaniemi's disciplined inventiveness as his better-known hard SF' LOCUS
'Engaging writing, tight plotting and fantastic imagination' Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing
'A tense and twisting tale full of delightful allusions and ingeious' Ken MacLeod
'An intricate and vivid world of technological and spiritual wonder' Kirkus
'Hard to admit, but I think he's better at this stuff than I am' Charles Stross
In this adroit if tangled fantasy of the years between the world wars, set in an alternate world where Marconi learned to tune his radio to supernatural frequencies, great national powers can assign agents to the afterlife, but espionage still relies on the most human types of intelligence. Englishwoman Rachel White works for the Winter Court of living spies. While guarding a Soviet defector, she is set on the trail of a mole in the Summer Court, whose spies have transitioned to the afterlife, aka Summerland. Chasing the clues leads her to the highest political offices. The civil war in Spain has England's prime minister, H.B. West (a thinly veiled H.G. Wells), debating whether to continue supporting Franco or counter the Russians by backing their rebel, Stalin (who's frustrated in his ambitions by a perpetually presiding Lenin). Rajaniemi cleanly describes a world in which death loses some of its sting given that there are literal tickets to heaven, though he never really gets into the consequences of Europe colonizing the afterlife and leaders still ruling after they die. Rachel and her husband, Joe, face their failings in this life, providing the book with its emotional resolution, whatever may happen in sequels or worlds to come. Fans of Rajaniemi's Jean le Flambeur hypertech SF series need not be concerned; he smoothly transitions to this magical dieselpunk tale (airships battle "ectoflyers" in soul-powered flight suits) with all his technical skill in evidence.