"About as close you can get to the perfect cerebral thriller: searingly smart, ridiculously funny, and fast as hell. Lexicon reads like Elmore Leonard high out of his mind on Snow Crash." —Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians and The Magician King
“Best thing I've read in a long time . . . a masterpiece.” —Hugh Howey, New York Times bestselling author of Wool
Stick and stones break bones. Words kill.
They recruited Emily Ruff from the streets. They said it was because she's good with words.
They'll live to regret it.
They said Wil Parke survived something he shouldn't have. But he doesn't remember.
Now they're after him and he doesn't know why.
There's a word, they say. A word that kills.
And they want it back . . .
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
For his electrifying fifth novel, Max Barry takes a detour from the droll corporate satire of his earlier work. He’s always been adept at writing entertaining narratives crafted with sharp wit, but he’s never before tackled a story as ambitious and action-packed as this. A clever and cerebral thriller about the power of language, Lexicon deftly juggles two parallel storylines before expertly weaving them together to stunning effect. From a pulse-pounding opening sequence of a seemingly innocent man being brutalized in an airport bathroom to the tale of a smart San Francisco street orphan recruited for an exclusive school where students are learn to weaponize words, Lexicon is a speedy, satisfying page-turner.
The fate of humanity is at stake in this ambitious satirical thriller from Australian author Barry (Machine Man). Picked off the streets of San Francisco after displaying a "natural aptitude" for persuasion, 16-year-old magician/hustler Emily Ruff joins a group of prodigies at "the Academy," where "poets" learn the magic of controlling others' minds with words. Meanwhile, hapless Wil Parke, the key player in an internal war between highly trained poets called Eliot and Woolf, is the only person known to survive the infamous "bareword" Woolf set loose in Broken Hill, Australia, two years before an event that killed thousands and wiped Wil's memory clean. Eliot believes Wil to be the only one capable of stopping this word that "can persist... like an echo," and is determined to use Wil in his quest to elucidate the word's elemental code. Emily's story and Wil's story converge in a violent denouement that amuses as much as it shocks.
Works on many levels
What a clever book! A love story. A book about the power of words and persuasion through history, through sorcery, through propaganda, through shysterism, politics and power. A book about what makes people tick. A sci-fi thriller. Engrossing. You can read it as a great way to pass time, or as a psychological study -- or anywhere in between. Have fun! I highly recommend.
So many original ideas wrapped in an adventure. Loved it!
Entertaining but unoriginal
Kept me nicely diverted while on a long plane flight. I don't regret the time spent reading it. But I often felt like it was a less-imaginative and less-ambitious retread of some material from Snow Crash. Read that first if you haven't yet.