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'Debris from a comet drops a fabulously valuable new metal . . . turning it into a bloody, brawling boomtown. Great characters, fine writing, totally engrossing' - International bestselling author Stephen King on The Ninth Metal
Named a Most Anticipated SFF Fiction Book by New Scientist
It began with a comet. They called it Cain, a wandering star that passed by Earth, illuminating the night with a swampy green light and twinning the sky by day with two suns. A year later, Earth spun through the debris field the comet left behind. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of meteors plummeted into the atmosphere, destroying swaths of electrical grids, leaving shores of beaches filled with deceased sea life, and setting acres of land ablaze. It was then, they say, that the sky fell. It was then that Jack lost Mia.
Five years after the disappearance of his daughter, Jack has fallen. Once an accomplished professor of botany, he's now a shell of a man who has all but withdrawn from life. Nora, his ex-wife, has thrown herself into her investigative work. Separately, they have each bandaged over the hole Mia left behind.
Just as Jack is uncovering a new form of deadly parasitic fungus in his lab, Nora is assigned to investigate the cases of ritualistic murders dotting Seattle. The rituals consist of etchings - crosshatches are carved into bodies and eyes are scooped out of their sockets. The attackers appear to be possessed.
It only takes a moment - for a sickness to infect, for a person to be killed, for a child to be lost. When Nora enlists Jack to identify the cause of this string of vicious deaths, Jack is quick to help. Together, they fight to keep their moments - the unexpected laughter, the extraordinary discoveries, the chance that Mia could come back home - but they find that what they're up against defies all logic, and what they have to do to save the world will change every life forever.
PRAISE FOR THE COMET CYCLE
'When Benjamin Percy publishes a novel, I have got to read that novel. The Ninth Metal continues his streak of thrilling, incisive genre bending goodness. Audacious and intelligent and exactly what I was dying to read' Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling on The Ninth Metal
'Whether you choose to think of him as the Elmore Leonard of rural Minnesota or the Stephen King of Science Fiction, Percy-with his extraordinary and unrelenting eye-dishes up humanity like some kind of otherworldly blue plate special, at once deeply familiar and wildly new' Margaret Stohl, No. 1 New York Times Bestselling Author on The Ninth Metal
'Take one part dystopia, one part sci-fi, two parts apocalypse, then ride them roughshod through a bleak and bloody western, and it still wouldn't get close to what Ben Percy does here, which is blow open the core of humanity's dark heart' Marlon James, Booker Prize winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf on The Ninth Metal
'Masterful . . . Combines a missing-person case, romantic reconciliation, and a riveting sci-fi what-if . . . A thoroughly satisfying near-future glimpse of both disaster and salvation' Publishers Weekly
'Terrifying, entertaining, and thought-provoking. . . something for everyone, science fiction fans and mystery fans alike' Kirkus Reviews
Percy's masterful second Comet Cycle genre-bender (after The Ninth Metal) combines a missing-person case, romantic reconciliation, and a riveting sci-fi what-if imagining of a sentient fungi, spawned by debris from a passing comet, that symbiotically absorbs flora and fauna including human beings. On the day the comet swept Earth with a dramatic meteor shower, "fun dad" Jack, a mycologist, took his eight-year-old daughter, Mia, on a mushroom study trip through a dank forest outside Seattle where she vanished. This devastating loss breaks up Jack's marriage to Nora, a type A police detective. Now, five years later, Nora investigates a series of eerie, ritualistic Seattle homicides, while Jack boozily self-destructs his academic career. The pair gradually reconnect by probing into the ominous fungal invasion a line of inquiry that may lead them to Mia. Meanwhile, a sinister governmental operation attempts to militarize the fungus, developing it into a mind control serum. The juxtaposition of malignant military-industrial machinations and well-delineated human tension works wonderfully, and sci-fi fans will appreciate Percy's extraterrestrial biological lore. It's a thoroughly satisfying near-future glimpse of both disaster and salvation.