The Islanders: Book summary and reviews of The Islanders by Christopher Priest

The Islanders

All men are islands

By Christopher Priest

The Islanders
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2012,
    342 pages.

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Book Summary

A tale of murder, artistic rivalry, and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you.

The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands; an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder; and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates his undiminished power to dazzle.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [W]onderfully fascinating, if occasionally frustrating, and entirely unforgettable." - Publishers Weekly

"Priest demonstrates once more his ability to surprise and dazzle with this twisty novel in which nothing is ever as straightforward as it appears." - Library Journal

"Christopher Priest has long been the sort of author critics tend to whip out the serious descriptors for... Judging only on the basis of this mesmeric travel guide to 'an endless sprawl of lovely islands,' I would not for a second hesitate to declare Priest a giant of the genre." - Strange Horizons

"One of the most complex, challenging and satisfying fictions from one of our finest novelists." - The Telegraph (UK)

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Christopher Priest's novels have built him an inimitable dual reputation as a contemporary novelist and a leading figure in modern SF and fantasy. His novel The Prestige is unique in winning both a major literary prize, The James Tait Black Award, and a major genre prize, The World Fantasy Award. It was also made into a 2006 Academy Award-nominated film directed by Christopher Nolan. His other awards have included the Arthur C. Clarke Award and four Hugo nominations.

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