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The Unfamiliar Garden

On sale

13th January 2022

Price: £19.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399705684

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From award-winning author Benjamin Percy comes the second novel in his grippingly original sci-fi series, The Comet Cycle, in which a passing comet has caused irreversible change to the growth of fungi, spawning a dangerous, invasive species in the Pacific Northwest that threatens to control the lives of humans and animals alike.

It began with a comet. They called it Cain, a wandering star that passed by Earth, illuminating the night with a swampy green light and twinning the sky by day with two suns. A year later, Earth spun through the debris field the comet left behind. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of meteors plummeted into the atmosphere, destroying swaths of electrical grids, leaving shores of beaches filled with deceased sea life, and setting acres of land ablaze. It was then, they say, that the sky fell. It was then that Jack lost Mia.

Five years after the disappearance of his daughter, Jack has fallen. Once an accomplished professor of botany, he’s now a shell of a man who has all but withdrawn from life. Nora, his ex-wife, has thrown herself into her investigative work. Separately, they have each bandaged over the hole Mia left behind.

Just as Jack is uncovering a new form of deadly parasitic fungus in his lab, Nora is assigned to investigate the cases of ritualistic murders dotting Seattle. The rituals consist of etchings – crosshatches are carved into bodies and eyes are scooped out of their sockets. The attackers appear to be possessed.

It only takes a moment – for a sickness to infect, for a person to be killed, for a child to be lost. When Nora enlists Jack to identify the cause of this string of vicious deaths, Jack is quick to help. Together, they fight to keep their moments – the unexpected laughter, the extraordinary discoveries, the chance that Mia could come back home – but they find that what they’re up against defies all logic, and what they have to do to save the world will change every life forever.

(P) 2022 HarperCollins Publishers

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Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Masterful . . . Combines a missing-person case, romantic reconciliation, and a riveting sci-fi what-if . . . A thoroughly satisfying near-future glimpse of both disaster and salvation
Kirkus Reviews
Terrifying, entertaining, and thought-provoking. . . There's a spattering of gore, a connection to a psychopathic serial killer, and a secret government agenda to introduce alien matter into human genes-in other words, a little something for everyone, science fiction fans and mystery fans alike.
Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling on The Ninth Metal
When Benjamin Percy publishes a novel, I have got to read that novel. THE NINTH METAL continues his streak of thrilling, incisive genre bending goodness. It's a sci-fi novel, a crime novel and a super-hero novel, too. Audacious and intelligent and exactly what I was dying to read
Margaret Stohl, No. 1 New York Times Bestselling Author on The Ninth Metal
Ben Percy will serve you the impossible-and by the end of every chapter, you will believe it and feel it as truth. Whether you choose to think of him as the Elmore Leonard of rural Minnesota or the Stephen King of Science Fiction, Percy-with his extraordinary and unrelenting eye-dishes up humanity like some kind of otherworldly blue plate special, at once deeply familiar and wildly new
Marlon James, Booker Prize winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf on The Ninth Metal
Take one part dystopia, one part sci-fi, two parts apocalypse, then ride them roughshod through a bleak and bloody western, and it still wouldn't get close to what Ben Percy does here, which is blow open the core of humanity's dark heart
Booklist on The Ninth Metal
The plot is dynamic, featuring multiple viewpoints as well as corporate malfeasance, spooky cults, and family drama. This sounds complicated, and it is, but all of these moving parts work together due to strong characterization, especially the cheery rookie police officer Stacie Toal. The action is vivid without being too graphic, contributing to an overall cinematic feel. While the novel comes to a satisfying conclusion, this is the first book in an anticipated trilogy
International bestselling author Stephen King on The Ninth Metal
Debris from a comet drops a fabulously valuable new metal . . . turning it into a bloody, brawling boomtown. Great characters, fine writing, totally engrossing
Concatenation
Tense, entertaining and unexpectedly educational too