On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory are extraordinary. But no matter how spectacular it is, travelling the endless rails of the railsea, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life. Even if his philosophy-seeking captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing – ever since it took her arm all those years ago.
When they come across a wrecked train, at first it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds in the derelict leads to considerably more than he'd bargained for. Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters, and salvage - scrabblers.
And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
“What kind of novel might someone produce if he had been influenced by writers such as Joan Aiken, the Awdrys, Daniel Defoe, Ursula Le Guin, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Spike Milligan? The answer is Railsea, a wildly inventive crossover/young adult fantasy with elements of SF and trains, lots of trains.” (Guardian)
”Huge fun, a book that plays intellectual games without ever letting them overpower the sense of rip-roaring adventure gradually unfolding.” (SFX)
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Not up to his usual standards
Plenty of imagination as you might expect but I found I couldn't engage with the characters.
The setting, a 'sea' of rails was difficult to relate to: a clue that the story wasn't particularly engaging is that rather than pay full attention to the story, I found myself trying to work out how a rail-sea might actually work (it's never really explained in a satisfactory way).
Something for a rail-voyage