The Quantum Thief
Tor, 2011 (orig. Gollancz, 2010)
The Quantum Thief opens with the thief Jean le Flambeur trapped inside a prison, his personality fractured into its component parts and forced to endlessly take part in a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma. It isn’t long before he released by a beautiful woman. Of course that freedom comes at a price. He has a job to do but in order to do it he needs to recover the memories he stashed on Mars. What follows is a twisting tale that offers a strong foundation of classic thriller/mystery fare wrapped in the guise of a society full of technological wonders that we can barely imagine. It is on the one hand a personal journey (for multiple character) but one that hints at depths far deeper than our hapless thief can comprehend. For all that the one thing I wish that The Quantum Thief really had is a glossary. Now, I read an advanced copy of the US edition so I have no idea if the final edition will have one but debut author Hannu Rajaniemi throws a lot of new words out there with only contextual information present in order to grasp meaning. It is a level that perhaps eclipses even Gene Wolfe whose Book of the New Sun had similar tendencies to introduce words with little external context for understanding. The helpful wikipedia entry Glossary of Terms in the Quantum Thief is useful, though a part of me wants to recommend a “pure” reading experience.