Ambergris by Jeff Vandermeer
Hardcover – Farrar, Straus & Giroux – Dec 2020 – 865 pages
More than twenty years ago, Jeff VanderMeer first introduced the world to the fictional city of Ambergris, a beautiful and sinister sprawling metropolis populated by artists and thieves, composers and murderers, geniuses and madmen. Ambergris bristles with intellectual fervor and religious rivalries; it thrives on cultural upheaval, and its politics are never short on intrigue, conspiracy, and even terror. There are stories within stories, mystery, mayhem, and a dark history that threatens to consume the city itself as the gray caps, the mysterious and deadly mushroom people who once ruled Ambergris and have since been driven underground, now threaten to rise again.
Ultimately, the fate of Ambergris comes to lie in the hands of John Finch, a beleaguered detective with a murder on to solve and too many loyalties for one man to bear. The city is bursting at its seams, seemingly held together only by the tense, fraying tendrils of his investigation.
The Ambergris trilogy is made up of three novels, each of which has become a cult classic in its own right: City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch. It is a marvelous, unparalleled feat of imagination. And yet the books themselves, as celebrated and influential as they have become, have a publishing history as arcane and elaborate as Ambergris itself. Over the years they have slipped in and out of print and have never before been available as a complete trilogy. Until now.