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Words are weapons, and one man is immune, in this dazzlingly original thriller from the author of Jennifer Government.

Promotional Information

Words are weapons, and one man is immune, in this dazzlingly original thriller from the author of Jennifer Government.

About the Author

Max Barry is the author of four previous novels, including New York Times Notable Book Jennifer Government and Syrup, soon to be a major film. He is also the creator of the internet mini-phenomenon NationStates, an online political simulation game. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. He is a cat person.Visit Max Barry's website at maxbarry.com, find him at facebook.com/maxbarry or follow him on twitter.com/maxbarry.


The fate of humanity is at stake in this ambitious satirical thriller from Australian author Barry (Machine Man). Picked off the streets of San Francisco after displaying a "natural aptitude" for persuasion, 16-year-old magician/hustler Emily Ruff joins a group of prodigies at "the Academy," where "poets" learn the magic of controlling others' minds with words. Meanwhile, hapless Wil Parke, the key player in an internal war between highly trained poets called Eliot and Woolf, is the only person known to survive the infamous "bareword" Woolf set loose in Broken Hill, Australia, two years before-an event that killed thousands and wiped Wil's memory clean. Eliot believes Wil to be the only one capable of stopping this word that "can persist... like an echo," and is determined to use Wil in his quest to elucidate the word's elemental code. Emily's story and Wil's story converge in a violent denouement that amuses as much as it shocks. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

What if there was a word that could compel anyone to do anything? That's the premise of Barry's new novel (after Machine Man), which posits a secret society of "poets" who collect and wield special words to control others. Emily Ruff, a teenager living on the street, has been recruited by the organization but leaves in seeming disgrace. Years later, Wil Parke is caught in a firefight between the factions-over him. He is the only survivor of a horrifying event unleashed by an ultimate word of power. But there is a deeper connection between Wil and Emily and the organization that comes between them. While that link isn't hard to figure out, Barry keeps the tension high as another poet, Eliot, tries to stop the unfolding destruction. Barry's fear of conspiracies and the corporatization of society are in play here, along with a new focus on his exploration of power and corruption-religion. VERDICT Lexicon isn't as satirical as Barry's other works, but it is a scary and satisfying blend of thriller, dystopia, and horror.-Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The entire town of Broken Hill has been killed off by a deadly weapon: a word. And it seems as though the word is still in there. Only one man survived the attack on Broken Hill, but he doesn't remember a thing. All Wil knows is that he's suddenly being forced into violent situations, and that he's supposed to believe there's a ‘poet' on the loose who is out to get him. This is a ‘high concept' action-packed narrative, somewhere between Andrew McGahan's Underground or Lev Grossman's The Magicians, and a Hollywood thriller like Inception. There are layers of social commentary regarding privacy, surveillance, user-targeted content, and more; and there's an overriding theme of persuasion. Words can persuade, but there are also invisible forces working behind the scenes, creating, shaping and teaching this language of persuasion. They ‘test' words, like a company would test products or government weapons. Barry is careful, in his books, not to make the satire heavy-handed; Lexicon is a fast-paced read. It's difficult to guess what's going to happen, and the reader is particularly invested in a young character called Emily, who (in an almost Harry Potter- like way) is learning just how powerful the world of words can be. (See interview, page 25.) Angela Meyer is a writer, reviewer and former acting editor of Books+Publishing

Brilliantly realised... strikingly relevant... a resounding success - SFXHighly entertaining and engrossing... characters that are both complicated and likeable - SciFi NowGripping... a pitch-perfect thriller, a jetpack of a plot that rocketed me from page one to page 400 in a single afternoon - BoingBoing - Cory DoctorowTruly original... a crack-paced thriller... smart and tons of fun - AustralianBarry's smartest dystopia yet - io9.comSophisticated and laden with subtext... clearly reaffirms Barry's status as a gifted purveyor of suspense - Time Out New YorkBest thing I've read in a long, long time... a masterpiece - Hugh Howey, bestselling author of WoolWonderfully crafted, dark yet humourous, fast-paced and tragic in turn - National

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