After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, with slums standing next to a walled city of elites. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling and shut away for decades, learning to write beautiful compositions for the chimes, played citywide morning and night, to mute memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance.
A young orphan named Simon arrives in London with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise to locate someone. What he finds is a new family - a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of the city looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and charismatic leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon forgets entirely what originally brought him to the place he has now made his home.
In this alternate London, the past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is considered "blasphony". But Simon has a unique gift - the gift of retaining memories - that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager life as a member of Lucien's gang. Before long he will be engaged in an epic struggle for justice, love, and freedom.
The Chimes is an impressive work of speculative fiction, an imaginative adventure elegantly told. The Chimes reveals the human capacity to create both beauty and terror, in art and in life.
"One of the top literary novels of the year. Set in a world where music has replaced the written word it's a lyrical, entrancing story which ramps up to a fast-paced finale." (Elle (UK)
"One of a kind, both in its dystopian landscape and use of gorgeous language throughout.... Fans of the eloquence and imagery of Jeff VanderMeer's 'Southern Reach' trilogy and the spare desolation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road will adore this original work." (Megan McArdle, Library Journal )
"The Chimes is a remarkable debut. It's inventive, beautifully written, and completely absorbing. I highly recommend it." (Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds)
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