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Publisher's Summary

Offering a freshly imagined world of bizarre creatures and strange customs, this unique and sardonic allegory explores the power and price of science and the ambiguity of morality.

Humorless and drug addicted, physiognomist Cley is ordered by the Master of the Well-Built City to investigate a theft in a remote mining town. Well-versed in serving justice, arrogant Cley sets out to determine the identity of the thief using the pseudo-science of judging people by their features, but becomes distracted from his task by a beautiful girl from town. When the young-but-wise woman rejects him, he loses faith in his abilities, and in a drug-induced frenzy he remakes her features. The subsequent horror of what he has done, what he represents, and the shallow life he leads forces him to seek atonement and true justice, risking the Masters wrath, which may entail death by head explosion.

©1997 Jeffrey Ford (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cathy
  • 31-03-11

An interesting alternate reality

I love this book, especially the anti-hero narrator. His drug addled brain and belief in the pseudoscience of judging character on looks alone makes me think of him as a very Victorian scientist. It creates lots of questions as you read it which i hope will be answered in the next two books but I love a book that makes me think and leaves me desperate for my next audible credits so I can read the sequel.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 03-03-11

Had me hooked

This was a story that swept me along from first to last. Very well read, the story had pace and colour. A fascinating world created by the author. There are a lot of unanswered questions in the latter stages of the book which the other reviewers mention so I won't repeat, but for me they did not in any way detract from the central narrative. If anything, it makes me want to read more of this series. This purchase was worth every penny. Absolutely delighted.