The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands: A Novel (Hardcover)

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The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands: A Novel (Hardcover)

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For fans of Piranesi and The Midnight Library, a stunning historical fantasy novel set on a grand express train, about a group of passengers on a dangerous journey across a magical landscape

“Breathtaking…Abounding with mysteries and marvels.” —Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

It is said there is a price that every passenger must pay. A price beyond the cost of a ticket.

There is only one way to travel across the Wastelands: on the Trans-Siberian Express, a train as famous for its luxury as for its danger. The train is never short of passengers, eager to catch sight of Wastelands creatures more miraculous and terrifying than anything they could imagine. But on the train's last journey, something went horribly wrong, though no one seems to remember what exactly happened. Not even Zhang Weiwei, who has spent her life onboard and thought she knew all of the train’s secrets.

Now, the train is about to embark again, with a new set of passengers. Among them are Marya Petrovna, a grieving woman with a borrowed name; Henry Grey, a disgraced naturalist looking for redemption; and Elena, a beguiling stowaway with a powerful connection to the Wastelands itself. Weiwei knows she should report Elena, but she can’t help but be drawn to her. As the girls begin a forbidden friendship, there are warning signs that the rules of the Wastelands are changing and the train might once again be imperiled. Can the passengers trust each other, as the wildness outside threatens to consume them all?

Sarah Brooks is a writer living in Leeds, England. She won the Lucy Cavendish Prize in 2019 and a Northern Debut Award from New Writing North in 2021. She works in East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds, where she helps run the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing. She is coeditor of Samovar, a bilingual online magazine for translated speculative fiction. The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands is her debut novel and will be published around the world.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250878618
ISBN-10: 1250878616
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English

A Most Anticipated Book (Publishers Weekly, CrimeReads, The Nerd Daily, FanFiAddict, Historical Novel Society)

“This book is steampunk perfection!…Brooks brings a Mieville-esque mentality to her novel, with some terrifying creepy-crawlies and an even more terrifying capitalist conglomerate.”
—CrimeReads

“If a luxury train raced through Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X, filled with the cast of Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, it would be something like the Trans-Siberian Express of this story…Ultimately, this journey through the unknown provides ample opportunity for musings about the power of travel to change people, while examining humans’ relationships to the environment, to capitalism, and to each other…A nerve-wracking but empathetic first-class read for lovers of the strange and uncanny.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Secrets abound…Brooks’ novel presents the reader with a late nineteenth-century Asia and Europe both familiar and bizarre…The true terrors are human greed, fear, and desire for power. This is ultimately a story about connection, friendship, and the importance of being unafraid of change. Highly recommended for its many mysteries, fascinating cast of characters, and beautifully strange Wastelands. An immersive fantasy with a complex and driven heroine.”
Booklist

“A journey both unnerving and powerful, which thunders along at breathtaking speed, abounding with mysteries and marvels. Be warned – once you step into The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands, you’ll never want to disembark.”
—Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

"I was completely transported by this book, lost in its world and mysteries, astounded by its beauty, and full of admiration for its humanity. I loved every second I spent with it, and urge everybody to pick up a copy. It’s an astonishing journey."
—Stuart Turton, bestselling author of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

“Richly imaginative, profoundly allegorical, and utterly propulsive, I loved The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands. With impeccable pacing and elegant storytelling, this novel is pure delight. Though all on the same train, each character takes a different journey and it is most marvellous to join in as they travel the Wastelands to reach their final destinations. Bravo! All aboard for a captivating and transformative adventure!”
—Melissa Fu, author of Peach Blossom Spring

“This is a wild and wonderful journey; gloriously imaginative and completely captivating. Rich in allure, intrigue and suspense, it's a ride that readers will never want to end.”
—Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne, Elektra, and Atalanta

“Vividly imagined and deftly paced, The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands asks us to reconsider our place within the natural world amid a backdrop of capitalism and empire. Brooks has penned an elegant novel that is at once thrilling and transcendent. Also, there is a really cool train.”
—Rita Chang-Eppig, author of Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea

“A spellbindingly original and totally engrossing book. I so much want to ride that train!”
—Sharon Bolton, author of The Pact

Railsea meets Annihilation but with so much more swagger: The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wasteland is mysterious and clever and brilliant.”
—Natasha Pulley, bestselling author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street