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“Other names besides [Herman] Melville’s will surely come to mind as you read this thrilling tale—there’s Dune’s Frank Herbert. . . . But in this, as in all of his works, Miéville has that special knack for evoking other writers even while making the story wholly his own.”—Los Angeles Times
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death & the other’s glory. Spectacular as it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than the endless rails of the railsea—even if his captain thinks only of hunting the ivory-colored mole that took her arm years ago. But when they come across a wrecked train, Sham finds something—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—that leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters & salvage-scrabblers. & it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
“[Miéville] gives all readers a lot to dig into here, be it emotional drama, Godzilla-esque monster carnage, or the high adventure that comes only with riding the rails.”—USA Today
“Superb . . . massively imaginative.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Riveting . . . a great adventure.”—NPR
“Wildly inventive . . . Every sentence is packed with wit.”—The Guardian (London)

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 09, 2012 – Miéville (Un Lun Dun) returns to YA fiction with a superb, swashbuckling tale of adventure on the railsea, a vast prairie densely crisscrossed by train tracks: “Tracks & ties, in the random meanders of geography & ages, in all directions. Extending forever.” Sham, an orphan, has gone to railsea as apprentice to a train’s doctor. That train, the Medes, is a moletrain that plies the railsea hunting the great moldywarpes (giant moles) that live beneath the dirt, harpooning the subterranean creatures when they surface and rendering them down for meat, fat, and fur to be sold on the mainland. The train’s captain, Naphi, is a strange, charismatic woman who lost her arm to an enormous ivory mole, Mocker-Jack; obsessed with killing the creature, she’s willing to sail to the mythical ends of the railsea to catch him. Working variations on such classics as Moby-Dick, Robinson Crusoe, and A Wizard of Earthsea, this massively imaginative and frequently playful novel features eccentric characters, amazing monsters, and, at its heart, an intense sense of wonder. Ages 12–up.

Customer Reviews

Like putting your mind into a meat grinder!

I only made it through 25 pages. I've got to remember to use the "Sample" button before I actually buy a book but it is so rare that I find a book that I can't bring myself to read! This author seems to think that you can paint an image of a world far removed from our own by simply throwing nonsense onto the page. And the incessant use of the ampersand instead of the word "and" is maddening. It is even used to start sentences. I'm not usually a nit picker for "proper English" but this was just too much!

Don't let me mislead into thinking there is nothing of value here. The concept of hunting huge moles from trains "whaler" style is imaginative. But that's the only good thing I can say about the few pages I forced myself to finish. Who knows. You may like it. But do yourself the favor of sampling it before you buy. Otherwise, don't say I didn't warn you.


Smart and well written. Hunting Moby Mole from a train... What could be more fun to read? Oh, that's right; sailing trains, corporate greed, environmental mishaps.

Well worth the time & I'm sure that those of a literary bent could invest even more and move beyond mere escapism to intellectual & philosophical analysis.

At a loss for words.

Quite Simply, the most inspiring, philosophical book I have ever read.

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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Adventure
  • Published: May 15, 2012
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings