Ararat is vast, unknowable, unmappable, home to many living gods who make their presence felt. Arjun comes from his far-distant home, seeking the Voice, the god that abandoned his people. He arrives as the Bird sweeps through the great city, transforming it by its passage, only to be captured in the warship Thunderer. A boy, Jack, also captures part of the Bird’s power as he flees the workhouse.
Gilman has created a city reminiscent of China Miéville’s New Crubuzon, a vast baroque tapestry of neighborhoods, ruled by heavy-handed oligarchs squabbling to enlarge their fiefdoms. Miéville is a better writer, but this is a fine debut novel from Felix Gilman.