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THE FALL OF KOLI by M.R. Carey Kirkus Star


by M.R. Carey

Pub Date: March 23rd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-316-45872-6
Publisher: Orbit

Carey concludes his post-apocalyptic Rampart trilogy, set in a future England ravaged by climate change and war.

Koli Faceless and his companions—healer Ursala-from-Elsewhere; Cup; and the snarky, self-aware AI Monono Aware—have finally found the Sword of Albion. They’ve been following the signal across the ocean in a leaky boat, and when they find its source, they discover that the Sword isn’t an actual sword at all. It’s a massive warship chock full of old tech, more than Koli has ever seen in one place. It’s inhabited by only three people: Lorraine and Paul Banner and their son, Stanley. Lorraine and Paul are keenly interested in Ursala’s vital medical diagnostic unit. But something is off about the trio, and Koli and his friends are under constant watch, making them feel more like prisoners than guests. Turns out there really is something to the stories of a boogeyman called Stannabanna, “the lord of all shunned men and monsters,” and nothing on the ship is quite what it seems. Folksy, lyrical storytelling and heartbreakingly complex characters have been a trademark of this rich trilogy. In off-kilter English (England is “Ingland,” diagnostic is “dagnostic,” etc.), Koli shares a narrative with Monono and with his childhood friend Spinner as she takes on a powerful new role and a fearsome enemy back in Koli’s home village of Mythen Rood. Themes of loyalty, friendship, compassion, and inclusion are tightly woven into an inventive and exciting whole, and there are strong echoes of the current state of the world, notably the dangers of building walls between people. Luckily, in Koli’s world at least, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s just a pinprick.

An epic and hopeful finale to an altogether splendid tale.