The second volume in the Bas-Lag fantasy series. Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.
For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remades live as equals to humans, Cactae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.
Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada’s agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the waters—terrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission.
I told you when I was talking about the first book in the series, Perdido Street Station, that each was a stand alone book. Our protagonist in this book, Bellis Coldwine, was mentioned VERY briefly in Perdido Street Station, and in this book, the explanation for her having to leave the city is her tenuous association with Isaac Dan de Grimmebulin, who is the protagonist of that book.
The Scar is a place in the deeps of the ocean where there is tremendous energy source. When the ship Bellis is on is taken by pirates, and she and the remaining crew, passengers and slaves are transported to the floating city, I just about went into raptures. The city is comprised of hundreds of ships of all types and sizes lashed and fastened together, and it covers miles. I was so taken with this notion!
Armada is ruled by a coupled referred to as the Lovers, and they have matching facial scars, which change almost daily. Many creatures on this city have scars, both physical and psychological. It is a great title, with so many layers.
Lots of action, lots of intrigue, lots of lying and betrayal. You know, all the everyday stuff of Real Life. And vampires. Armada has a sub city of vampires. Just in case the remades, the Cactae and the Cray aren’t weird and fantastical enough for you.
The imagination of the man is just astounding, and his ability to convey what he sees in his mind is well, mind-boggling.