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The Islanders

Written by Christopher Priest

Average Score: 83(6)

A tale of murder, artistic rivalry and literary trickery; a chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands, an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator. It shows Christopher Priest at the height of his powers and illustrates why he has remained one of the country's most prized novelists.

Book Details

Hardcover, 432 Pages
Published by Gollancz on September 22, 2011
ISBN-10 0575070048
ISBN-13 978-0575070042


Fantasy Book Critic | Liviu Suciu
Review Rating: 100
...a masterpiece of modern sff and I expect to be enchanted by it again and again across the years.
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SFX | Jonathan Wright
Review Rating: 100
...giddying, fascinating, a hugely accomplished slipstream novel.
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The Wertzone | Adam Whitehead
Review Rating: 100
The only thing I can say with certainty about it is that it is about islands and the people who live on them, and if there is a better, more thought-provoking and rewarding novel published this year I will be surprised.
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Strange Horizons | Niall Alexander
Review Rating: 80
If you will, consider The Islanders a loose but beautiful arrangement of [Christopher Priest's] incomparable annotations.
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The Science Fact & Science Fiction Concatenation | Ian Hunter
Review Rating: 80
The Islanders could be likened to Nabokov's masterpiece Pale Fire where the real story is revealed through a series of footnotes to the epic poem which makes up the book.
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SF Site | Christopher DeFilippis
Review Rating: 40
...while the book eventually becomes more engaging, and Priest's writing is often very humorous and effective, he never brings it all together.
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