The Water Knife

  • by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Narrated by Almarie Guerra
  • 14 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Paolo Bacigalupi, New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award finalist, dives once again into our uncertain future with his first thriller for adults since his multi-award-winning debut phenomenon The Windup Girl.
In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg breaker, assassin, and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel "cuts" water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet while the poor get nothing but dust.
When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with no love for Vegas and every reason to hate Angel, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas refugee who survives by her wits and street smarts in a city that despises everything she represents.
With bodies piling up, bullets flying, and Phoenix teetering on collapse, it seems like California is making a power play to monopolize the life-giving flow of a river. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria, time is running out, and their only hope for survival rests in each other's hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, May 2015 - The Water Knife is a dark, apocalyptic novel that takes place in the near-future and explores the impact of a shifting climate that causes permanent and debilitating drought conditions in the American Southwest. Author Paolo Bacigalupi proves himself as a master of world building by creating a distinct sense of place that feels completely plausible. The plot itself starts off slowly, dropping you into this world, familiarizing you with the state of affairs... and then the pace picks up and you are thrown head-first into the action. Those who control the water control everything and will do anything to keep it. By the end it's a free-for-all. Bacigalupi has created a futuristic, yet believable, Wild West I hope never becomes a reality. —Tricia, Audible Editor

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What the Critics Say

"[A]fresh, genre-bending thriller....Bacigalupi weaves an engrossing tale all his own, crackling with edgy style." (Los Angeles Times)
"An ambitious, genre-dissolving thriller and a timely cautionary tale....this epic, visionary novel should appeal to a wide audience." (Publishers Weekly)
"There is a savage beauty to the novel, which makes it one of the best books of 2015 I have read so far." (SFF World)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Worth your time and credit!

This book gets it right on so many levels.

The characters, their journeys and motivations are very clear. The story is engaging and intelligent without being self-important. AND, I can emphasis this enough, it actually has an interesting plot that propels action forward.

I've read so many books where plot is just a starting point for a lot of long winded prose and character development. Then somewhere towards the end you get a resolution that is completely unsatisfying or ridiculous. So actually reading a book that starts out good and continues to be good all the way through was such a breath of fresh air.
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- Najima Rainey

I think the world is big, and we broke it.

(My favorite quote from the book.) This was the first book of Bacigalupi's that I've read, and I think it's going to stick with me for a long time. At least for now—having just finished it—I feel like it has simultaneously renewed and destroyed my faith in mankind. Disaster inspires the most selfless acts of kindness in some people, and the worst kind of avarice in others. The key players struggle with which kind of person they're going to be. Bacigalupi tells the story in stark reality.

With the southwestern US currently suffering from a megadrought, this story could hit terribly close to home for the people who live there, and I almost want to caution them not to read it, because it could give them nightmares. I would also caution anyone sensitive to violence. But if you want to think deeply about some of the potential consequences of climate change and untangle a web of corporate and governmental lies and deceit at the same time, this is the book for you.
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- Pam "Science writer in America's heartland"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-26-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios