Monday, June 6, 2016

Lexicon by Max Barry

Emily is a street kid making money scanning tourists with three card monte when she is plucked out of her life and given an opportunity of a lifetime.  She is picked for training by a shadowy organization that knows how to control people by language.  The best of the school's graduates are known as poets for their mastery of language.  Emily is one of these.

Wil is kidnapped at the end of a flight at the airport by two men.  He has no idea what they want but soon he is caught in the middle of a frantic chase, gunfights and murder.  The remaining kidnapper is called Elliot, and he lets out enough information that Wil realizes that people think he has a secret buried in his brain and they are willing to do anything to get it.

Broken Hill, Australia, is a ghost town, barricaded and off-limits.  A former mining town, three years ago it was the scene of an industrial accident so bad that everyone in town died.  The government maintains a barricade that keeps everyone out as exposure will still kill.  At least that's the official word the poets have put out.  What's the reality?

Australian author Max Barry has written a highly original novel that explores the power of words while plumbing the depths an organization will go to for power and control.  The characters are former poets, Eliot, Wolff, Yeats, Plath and it is jarring to see such names do such horrendous deeds.  The pace is fast and the story is revealed in glimpses and flashbacks the reader must tie together.  It was released in 2013 to acclaim, garnering the Amazon Best Science And Fantasy Pick of 2013, a Kirkus Ten Best Novels For Summer Reading 2013 and a host of other awards.  This book is recommended for thriller readers.

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