The Water Knife: Book summary and reviews of The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Water Knife

A novel

by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi X
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

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Book Summary

The American Southwest has been decimated by drought. Nevada and Arizona skirmish over dwindling shares of the Colorado River, while California watches, deciding if it should just take the whole river all for itself. Into the fray steps Las Vegas water knife Angel Velasquez. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel "cuts" water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and its boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert and that anyone who challenges her is left in the gutted-suburban dust.

When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. With a wallet full of identities and a tricked-out Tesla, Angel arrows south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, Angel encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist, who knows far more about Phoenix's water secrets than she admits, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north to those places where water still falls from the sky.

As bodies begin to pile up and bullets start flying, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger, more corrupt, and dirtier than any of them could have imagined. With Phoenix teetering on the verge of collapse and time running out for Angel, Lucy, and Maria, their only hope for survival rests in one another's hands.  But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. With elements of Philip K. Dick and Charles Bowden, this epic, visionary novel should appeal to a wide audience." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A fresh cautionary tale classic, depicting an America newly shaped by scarcity of our most vital resource. The pages practically turn themselves in a tense, taut plot of crosses and double-crosses, given added depth by riveting characters. This brutal near-future thriller seems so plausible in the world it depicts that you will want to stock up on bottled water."- Library Journal

"An absorbing, if sometimes ideologically overbearing, thriller full of violent action and depressing visions of a bleakly imagined future." - Kirkus Reviews

These days are coming, and as always fiction explains them better than fact. This is a spectacular thriller, wonderfully imagined and written, and racing through it will make you think—and make you thirsty." - Lee Child, author of Personal

"An intense thriller and a deeply insightful vision of the coming century, laid out in all its pain and glory. It's a water knife indeed, right to the heart." - Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Aurora

"Anyone can write about the future. Paolo Bacigalupi writes about the future that we're making today, if we keep going the way we are. It makes his writing beautiful ... and terrifying." - John Scalzi, author of Lock In

"The Water Knife is an noir-tinged, apocalyptic vision of the near-future: What will the world be like, and how will we live in it? Bacigalupi already seems to live there. Once I started, I couldn't put it down." - Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

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More Information

Paola Bacigalupi is a Hugo, Nebula, and Michael L. Printz Award winner, as well as a National Book Award finalist. He is also a winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, the John W. Campbell Award, and a three-time winner of the Locus Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and High Country News. He lives with his wife and son in western Colorado, where he is working on a new novel.

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