Del Rey, July 2004, 24.95, 496 pp.
Although nobody knows why, the city-state of New Crobuzon has been at war with the Tesh for years; both sides use men and sorcery to gain an inch of land in a conflict that never ends. Within New Crobuzon, the militia keeps a tight control on the people, newspapers print all the party deems fit to print, workers have no right to appeal, and those deemed criminal by the state are killed or magically turned into part human, part something else to live as slaves until they die.
The war is not going well and all the restrictions from the central government fail to keep the news from the people. Everywhere underground groups spring up to fight the militia and topple the government. When the government finds the Iron Council, Judah and his followers travel to the north to warn the people that their train must leave the area. They decide to travel back to New Crobuzon, a symbol to the people to throw off the chains of their oppressors.
IRON COUNCIL takes place in the same world of PERDIDO STREET STATION and although there is a different set of characters, there is a sense of homecoming as readers revisit a world they have come to appreciate. There are two main sub-plots that tie seamlessly back into the main storyline, told from the viewpoint of different characters. With flashbacks, the audience comes to understand how New Crobuzon evolved into a fascist state and how the rebellion grew into a vast resistance movement. China Mieville is a great world builder who is on the brink of superstardom.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner