NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A "fresh, genre-bending thriller” (Los Angeles Times) set in the near future when water is scarce and a spy, a hardened journalist and a young Texas migrant find themselves pawns in a corrupt game.
"Think Chinatown meets Mad Max." NPR, All Things Considered
In the near future, the Colorado River has dwindled to a trickle. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel Velasquez “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ensuring that its lush arcology developments can bloom in Las Vegas. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with her own agenda, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north. As bodies begin to pile up, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger and more corrupt than they could have imagined, and when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.
Hugo Award winner Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) delivers an ambitious, genre-dissolving thriller and a timely cautionary tale. In an indeterminate near future, extreme water shortages have made the Southwestern United States a dystopia, with the privileged few living in elite "arcologies" with self-generating water recycling systems. The depleted Colorado River has become one of the last lifelines and the object of armed conflict among the residents of Arizona, California, and Nevada. Angel Velasquez is a "water knife," a sort of mercenary factotum, whose job is to secure as much water as possible for his Las Vegas boss, arcology developer Catherine Case. Sent to investigate a possible water source near drought-stricken Phoenix, Angel soon crosses paths with an idealistic journalist, Lucy Monroe, whose underground dispatches put her in constant danger. As vigilante bloodshed and desperation threaten to consume Phoenix, whispers of a 150-year-old document surface that may settle the water rights dispute and bring life back to the desert metropolis. With elements of Philip K. Dick and Charles Bowden, this epic, visionary novel should appeal to a wide audience. Seven-city author tour; 150,000-copy first printing.
In his near-future novel, Bacigalupi writes about the changes society takes in a society full of high rises, Arcologies, contrasted with collapsed buildings. The novel is suspenseful and full of action as characters embark on a mission to find out who has the key to survival. Enjoyed this book from beginning to end; it exposes the reader to new ways of approaching ideas of religion, politics, and human interaction.
This story started out in a very disturbing way. He paints the future of what could happen to the south west, and frankly our whole country… if we don’t pay attention to the data that we have now. In and from this dismal backdrop, a tremendous mystery is woven. It was a most excellent story and I highly recommend it.
Not only a great who-dunnit adventure, but a chilling look into a near-future of dystopian proportions that hits very close to home. Highly recommended.