Finch: Third Book in the Ambergris Cycle

A blunt sharp shock to the system…

Cover: By the amazing John Coulthart. For a larger version, click here. An interesting fact–John tells me the cobblestones in the picture are from a photo he took while we were walking through Paris together; er, sans blood. (This design is semi-final, in that a blurb will probably occupy the space under my name.)

Publisher: Underland Press, October 31, 2009, trade paper

Description: A noir thriller/visionary fantasy set in the failed state of Ambergris, 100 years after Shriek: An Afterword. The gray caps, mysterious underground inhabitants, have re-conquered Ambergris and put the city under martial law, disbanding House Hoegbotton, and controlling the human inhabitants with strange addictive drugs, internment in camps, and random acts of terror. The rebel resistance is scattered, and the gray caps are using human labor to build two strange towers. Against this backdrop, John Finch, who lives alone with a cat and a lizard, must solve an impossible double murder for his gray cap masters while trying to make contact with the rebels.

Nothing is as it seems as Finch and his disintegrating partner Wyte negotiate their way through a landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. Trapped by his job and the city, Finch is about to come face to face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever.

The cat and the lizard watch intently. Something is about to happen. And they both want to know: who is Finch, really?

45 comments on “Finch: Third Book in the Ambergris Cycle

  1. Zephid Bebex says:


    Although, as I understand it, in Paris there is always blood on streets.

  2. Rajan says:

    Jeff, that is a beautiful and striking cover. Really great. Congrats.

  3. Derek says:

    Gorgeous. That cover pops.

  4. Dominik Petr says:

    This cover is really brilliant. I like it. Very few covers are high quality like this in our country (Czech republic). I think science fiction books production. Commercial covers dominate.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Dominik, all–Thanks. The brief was to create something textured and lush that still said “noir” as well as fantasy. I think John has done a great job of fusing these ideas in a synergistic way. The cover perfectly reflects the vision of the novel in my head, and I think it will attract a lot of readers. (In fact, for the first time ever, an element in a cover has led to a revision on my part of a description within the text.)


  6. Rick Klaw says:

    WOW! I can’t wait to read it.

  7. That is a sweet bean of a cover, yo.

  8. Will says:

    Whoa. How beautiful is that?!

  9. Desirina says:

    Wow. That cover is dead gorgeous.

  10. My favorite cover in a long time. So awesome, I would frame it. Congratulations on the amazing cover.

  11. James says:

    Adding to the chorus: Really, really good looking cover.

    So what was the detail that changed a description? Finch is now depicted as “resembling the Avengers’ John Steed,” I suppose.

  12. The fungal golden thingee is useful to me.

  13. There’s something similar in the book, but this helps me sharpen it.

  14. Gorgeous cover, and an intriguing story… definitely looking forward to this one, man.

  15. Neil Clarke says:

    Very nice! Looking forward to it.

    Any word on that ultra-limited you mentioned they’d be doing? Will it have the same cover art?

  16. That cover is gorgeous.

  17. Alex D M says:

    Amazing. (And interesting timing, as I’d just finished reading Shriek when I saw this.)

  18. Transfiguring Roar says:

    That looks awesome. A fair bit better than the first cover design you showed us. The coloring is beautiful.

  19. Hey, thanks everyone. I was really pleased with the way this piece worked out as well.

    BTW, the Parisian cobbles are from a narrow street between two streets in the Latin Quarter whose name I never discovered. A very Ambergris-like place filled with tiny shops and restaurants. I was searching for it earlier on Google maps but, as is often the way with these things, it seems to have vanished…

  20. Anne S says:

    Fantastic cover! Love it

  21. Terry says:

    That is a truly wonderful cover. Absolutely gorgeous. Even if I knew nothing about this book, I’d pick it up based on the cover alone.

  22. Thanks, all. I really love the textures and the quality of light in it, even though it’s got a bold aspect that should make it stand out in a bookstore, too. I’ve been truly blessed in having so many talented artists/designers work on covers for my books, but I think this is one of my all-time favorites. But, it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches, when you consider the Shriek limited recently, too–also by John. John’s been involved in so many of the best covers/design for my books–the fake disease guide, the interior title pages for City of Saints, etc.

    Neil–I don’t know what the limited will have yet. I believe it’ll be a deluxe 100 to 150 copy edition. One thing that is certain–each one will be personalized in a very unique way. I will be writing a different paragraph cut during my editing of the novel into a special place on the back of the dustjacket, or the signing page–not sure which.


  23. Larry says:

    Very cool cover, like everyone else said. And the ultra-limiteds, they’d be about $100 or so, right? Any chance of there being some special fungus implanted into the cover for those? :P

  24. jere7my says:

    Halloween? We have to wait until Halloween?

    *narrows eyes*

  25. David Moles says:

    I hope the fungal golden thing is also a military decoration. Or can be used as one.

  26. Sir Tessa says:

    I was searching for it earlier on Google maps but, as is often the way with these things, it seems to have vanished…

    It only existed in order for that one photograph to exist in order for this cover to exist, and now, having fulfilled its purpose, has had an existential crisis and retired to live by the sea.

  27. Larry–special fungi are already in the book. heh.

  28. Larry says:

    Good, but is it too much to hope for some that’ll make me glow in the dark when I’m reading the book at night?

  29. Don’t you already glow in the dark?

  30. Larry says:

    Not really. I sometimes think I might sparkle, though.

  31. mark says:

    and who is finch really? asks the blurb.

    well. oi reckons that that thar mr finch is really none other than …mr x! you see, mr finch, after rubbin’ the mystical amulet and downin a heroic dose of magic mushrooms has a Dallas-style epiphany and awakens, as if from a dream, to the fact that he is none other than the magical creator of all that is about him and that Ambergris has been nothing other than a figment of his imagination all along, and after realising that the post-modern butler did it, they walk hand in hand into the sunset where they leak personal pronouns all over the place, or something like that.
    lovely lovely cover like the underside of a beetle.

  32. Um, no. But thanks for the comment!

  33. Todd says:

    To borrow from Derek Zoolander, that cover is ridiculously good looking.

  34. I’ll echo everyone else and say that this is goddamn gorgeous. It simultaneously fits in with your previous books, and looks different and new. The noir/crime elements, with the gun in particular, make this especially intriguing.

    Don’t know if you still need first readers, Jeff, but as before, I’d be happy to volunteer my services.

  35. Jason:

    That’s right–you did read Shriek. I’d forget except you keep reminding me. Thanks, but I think my agent and editor have it covered.


  36. mark says:

    well if it ain’t that, then it must be…

    i look forward to reading it.

  37. World News says:

    is first in my thoughts this morning.

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