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The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Drowned Cities cover
Limited Edition SOLD OUT
Lettered Edition SOLD OUT
  • ISBN: 978-1-59606-506-2
  • Length: 352 pages


Dust jacket and interior illustrations by Jon Foster

Collectors, please note: If you already own Ship Breaker, please send us an email to subpress@gmail.com letting us know which number or letter we need to match for The Drowned Cities.

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We're proud to announce the signed limited edition of Paolo Bacigalupi's third novel, The Drowned Cities, which will be printed in two colors throughout, on 80# Finch, with a full-color dust jacket and a pair of full-color interior illustrations by Jon Foster.

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In Ship Breaker, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi introduced readers to a bleak, dystopian future as convincing and vividly rendered as anything in recent popular fiction. Now, Bacigalupi returns to that world in The Drowned Cities, an independent narrative as memorable and viscerally exciting as its distinguished predecessor.

Two very different characters dominate the novel's war torn landscape. Tool, a figure familiar to Ship Breaker's many admirers, is an “augment,” a genetically altered creation—part animal, part human—designed to serve as the perfect killing machine. Mahlia is a “war maggot,” a crippled, castoff teenager left behind by the Peacekeepers, who tried—and failed—to impose some sort of order on the fragmented, increasingly violent society known as the Drowned Cities. Mahlia's relationship with her newly acquired “family”—a doctor who teaches her the art of healing and a young boy named Mouse who once saved her life—keeps her connected, however tenuously, to the world of human values. When devastation descends on her village and disrupts those fragile connections, Mahlia finds herself in an unlikely alliance with Tool, who may represent her last, best chance to save a friend—and preserve her own humanity.

The Drowned Cities is a story of love, war, loyalty, and survival. More importantly, it is an unforgettable portrait of a society that has lost its way, in which natural and man-made disasters have combined to leave chaos and destruction in their wake. Though aimed primarily at younger readers, this is a novel that virtually annihilates the distinction between YA and so-called “adult” fiction, offering a powerful, deeply affecting experience that will appeal to—and resonate with—adventurous readers of every age.

Limited: 300 signed numbered copies, fully bound in cloth
Lettered: 26 signed copies, leatherbound, housed in a custom traycase

From The Los Angeles Times:
The Drowned Cities is not for the faint of heart… It is far more violent even than “The Hunger Games” conclusion, “Mockingjay.” The action is oftentimes barbaric. Amputations are common. Even more bodies pile up as a result of atrocities committed with acid and, of course, guns. Many of the book's minor characters delight in torturing their victims, pouring flesh-eating chemicals down bare-skinned backs and smashing their faces into the dirt. At one point Mahlia notes that surviving only creates more killing.”

From The Verge:
The Drowned Cities stands out as one of the most brutal pieces of YA fiction in recent years… The Drowned Cities is a believable militaristic place, civilian life seeping in around the edges of the endless patriotic battles. Despite its reclamation by vines and animals, Mahlia's world is filled with vibrant and well-sketched people, even if they treat her with—at best—veiled hostility and suspicion… After all that, it feels almost odd to say that Drowned Cities is almost uplifting for a Bacigalupi novel. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think it may be because unlike some previous works, it offers the possibility of redemption as well as revenge. There's plenty of catharsis to be had, along with an assurance that not even the most powerful are immune from harm. But it also acknowledges that the villains are tragic as well as monstrous.”

From The Washington Post:
“A new Paolo Bacigalupi novel is reason to celebrate—no matter how old you are…Bacigalupi's latest, The Drowned Cities, is his second straight young adult release, but that shouldn't deter the writer's older fans from picking up the book (even if you have to do it on the sly).”

From Locus:
“...much of what follows is a headlong adventure of pursuit, capture, and escape, set almost entirely in the brilliantly realized and convincingly swamplike setting that most of the region has become.”