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Publisher's Summary

Simon Ings' The Smoke is about love, loss and loneliness in an incomprehensible world.

Humanity has been split into three different species. Mutual incomprehension has fractured the globe. As humans race to be the first of their kind to reach the stars, another Great War looms. For you that means returning to Yorkshire and the town of your birth, where factories churn out the parts for gigantic spaceships.

You're done with the pretentions of the capital and its unfathomable architecture. You're done with the people of the Bund, their easy superiority and unstoppable spread throughout the city of London and beyond. You're done with Georgy Chernoy and his questionable defeat of death. You're done with his daughter, Fel, and losing all the time. You're done with love. But soon enough you will find yourself in the Smoke again, drawn back to the life you thought you'd left behind. You're done with love. But love's not done with you.

©2017 Simon Ings (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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  • Matthew willey
  • 06-15-18

Great first audible title for Simon Ings

This is a great book to have in your audible library. The story is captivating, and the narration is perfect for the characters and the place. I have read this author’s works for years; he strikes off in unexpected directions which keeps his output fresh and surprising. This book is no exception.
He has created a vision of humanity with a loss of control over itself and a speciation that seems a parable for our own fragmented times. The sense of hurtling towards a terrible outcome pervades the book, as it does our newspapers. It’s difficult to park this in any particular genre, steampunk perhaps? Science fiction? Romance? It is a novel that parallels Brexit and Trump, though different calamities have occurred in the world Ings has created.
The division of humanity into three species, each incomprehensible to each other, is at once alien and too close for comfort. That partition is set in a well-acquainted world of a fractured England and it highlights the foreboding. We even visit, briefly and in an alternate reality, my old neighbourhood park in Huddersfield. Vast forces are at work, the direction of history is revealed to be chaotic, yet love is central to how we define ourselves and Greenhead Park still stands.
The worth of people, what it means to be human, the universal need for love and our ever-present hubris are all themes. The narration is spot on. An earthy Yorkshire lilt telling tales of calamitous events on the other side of the world, and far away from the world. It is largely told in the second person and after a while the question arises about who is narrating, who is telling us what we did? It eventually becomes clear that this is not just a literary conceit but integral to the plot. Loose ends tie together neatly in a surprising conclusion.
So, add this to your library, and let Audible know that we look forward to seeing other Simon Ings titles. There are other great books by this author.