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The Water Knife by [Paolo Bacigalupi]
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The Water Knife Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 786 ratings

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Length: 378 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] fresh, genre-bending thriller. . . .  Reading Paolo Bacigalupi's richly imagined novel The Water Knife brings to mind the movie Chinatown. Although one is set in the past and the other in a dystopian future, both are neo-noir tales with jaded antiheroes and ruthless kingpins who wield water as lethal weapons to control life—and mete out death. . . . Bacigalupi weaves page-turning action with zeitgeisty themes. . . . His use of water as sacred currency evokes Frank Herbert's Dune. The casual violence and slang may bring to mind A Clockwork Orange. The book's nervous energy recalls William Gibson at his cyberpunk best. Its visual imagery evokes Dust Bowl Okies in the Great Depression and the catastrophic 1928 failure of the St. Francis Dam that killed 600 people and haunted its builder, Mulholland, into the grave. . . . Reading the novel in 93-degree March weather while L.A. newscasts warned of water rationing and extended drought, I felt the hot panting breath of the desert on my nape and I shivered, hoping that Bacigalupi's vision of the future won't be ours.” —Denise Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

“Bacigalupi's characters are engagingly unpredictable, and his story blasts along like a twin-battery Tesla. The Water Knife is splendid near-future fiction, a compelling thriller–and inordinately fun.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“A noir-ish, cinematic thriller set in the midst of a water war between Las Vegas and Phoenix. . . . Think Chinatown meets Mad Max.”—NPR, All Things Considered

"These days are coming, and as always fiction explains them better than fact.  This is a spectacular thriller, wonderfully imagined and written, and racing through it will make you think—and make you thirsty.” —Lee Child, author of Personal

"An intense thriller and a deeply insightful vision of the coming century, laid out in all its pain and glory. It's a water knife indeed, right to the heart." —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Aurora
 
"Anyone can write about the future. Paolo Bacigalupi writes about the future that we're making today, if we keep going the way we are. It makes his writing beautiful . . . and terrifying."—John Scalzi, author of Lock In

"The Water Knife is an noir-tinged, apocalyptic vision of the near-future: What will the world be like, and how will we live in it? Bacigalupi already seems to live there. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.” —Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“A fresh cautionary tale classic, depicting an America newly shaped by scarcity of our most vital resource. The pages practically turn themselves in a tense, taut plot of crosses and double-crosses, given added depth by riveting characters. This brutal near-future thriller seems so plausible in the world it depicts that you will want to stock up on bottled water.”—Library Journal, starred review

"The frightening details of how the world might suffer from catastrophic drought are vividly imagined. The way the novel's environmental nightmare affects society, as individuals and larger entities—both official and criminal—vie for a limited and essential resource, feels solid, plausible, and disturbingly believable. The dust storms, Texan refugees, skyrocketing murder rate, and momentary hysteria of a public ravenous for quick hits of sensational news seem like logical extensions of our current reality. An absorbing . . . thriller full of violent action."--Kirkus 

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of June 2015: Three very different characters—an orphaned Texan teen marooned in Phoenix; the “water knife” Angel from Las Vegas who will break any law he needs to in order to pave the way for his boss to gain the water rights she wants; and journalist Lucy Monroe, who has adopted drought-decimated Phoenix as her own—thrust Bacigalupi’s near-future tale through violence and betrayal toward a blockbuster conclusion that could well be one of the best endings of the year. Murder and torture are everyday events in dusty Phoenix, which is loosely controlled by a sociopathic crime lord, a Chinese construction company that’s offering the only jobs in town, Californian interests, and Las Vegas’ shadowy water knives—former criminals and ex-military who enforce the water rights bought or extorted by their powerful boss. When a rumor surfaces of water rights so senior that they would trump all existing rights and give Phoenix a chance to bloom instead of continue its rampant slide into death by drought, the race is on to find the rights, and no one will survive unharmed. Bleak, troubling, and at the same time deeply hopeful as Bacigalupi’s complex characters define and defend their loyalties, The Water Knife delivers a final scene as unexpected as it is satisfying. --Adrian Liang

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
786 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2015
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Top international reviews

Jezza
4.0 out of 5 stars Good dystopian novel set in a fragmenting water-starved US
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2017
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bibliovore
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2015
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johnh
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting premise
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2015
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Cullen
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2017
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Tomo London
3.0 out of 5 stars Pacy and very readable but short and ultimately uninspired
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2016
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Roland
5.0 out of 5 stars My god this guy can write"
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2015
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Mr. C. S. K. Walls
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping post-apocalyptic thriller from the superb author of The Windup Girl.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 21, 2017
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacy near-future dystopia with nuanced characters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2015
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PazInLondon
5.0 out of 5 stars When the water runs out...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 12, 2016
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Sandy A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2018
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Philippa
4.0 out of 5 stars A well researched and uncomfortably plausible sci fi thriller.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2015
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James Trimble
3.0 out of 5 stars As with a lot of books I can see it as the basis of a movie more than as a great book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2015
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Selene Doros
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb near future sci fi
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 8, 2015
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Pessimistic view on the near future
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2016
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Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars A thriller for the thinking person -- not just fun
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2016
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