Publication info

November 1, 2009 · Underland Press
320 pages · Trade paperback · 6″ × 9″
$14.99 · ISBN 978-0980226010

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Publisher: Victoria Blake
Author: Jeff VanderMeer

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Press Kit Files

Press Release (PDF) · About Ambergris (PDF) · Author Bio (PDF)


An exciting noir thriller set in the fantastical city of Ambergris. The final, stand-alone installment of the critically acclaimed Ambergris Cycle:

“Tasked with solving an impossible double murder, detective John Finch searches for the truth in a metropolis unlike any other in or out of history. Under the rule of the gray cap masters, Ambergris is crumbling into anarchy and rebellion. The remnants of a rebel force are demoralized and dispersed. Partials—human traitors transformed by the gray caps—walk the streets brutalizing the city’s human inhabitants. In this powerful and poignant novel, the past and the future, the cosmic and the gritty, collide. What will happen if Finch uncovers the truth? What will happen if he doesn’t? And will Ambergris ever be the same?”

Read an extended excerpt! (PDF)


Listen to the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack to the novel by rock band Murder by Death.


“Fungal noir. Steampunk delirium. Paranoid spy thriller, quite literally, on ‘shrooms. Look, you don’t send just anyone to write something like that—you send Jeff Vandermeer. Because you know that come Hell or Highwater (and both are right here in this book), VanderMeer will Get The Job Done. There’s enough nightmare and grit in Finch to stock any urban fantasy fan’s darkest imaginings for years to come. But Vandermeer makes most so-called dark fantasy look like chick-lit, and his visionary brand of imagining is closing on Burroughs at his best. Devastated post-war cityscapes, desperate temporary allegiances of the soul, and creatures dragged up out of the worst withdrawal hallucination you can possibly imagine—like something Len Deighton might have written at the top of his game, if he’d dropped a tab or six beforehand. This is VanderMeer’s best book since Veniss Underground, and a clear signal, if one were ever needed, that he remains one of modern fantasy’s most original and fearless pioneers.” Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Richard K. Morgan

“I can’t remember ever reading a book like Finch. Audacious in technique, and extravagant in imagination, it has the rare quality of making the macabre poignant. In the midst of a disturbed and disturbing narrative landscape, Jeff VanderMeer gives us deeply sympathetic characters—especially Finch himself—who inspire us to care about their flawed and tyrannized world. I’m impressed.” Stephen R. Donaldson

Finch just blew me to hell and gone. I would have sworn you can’t unite noir and fantasy, and oh how gloriously wrong Jeff VanderMeer proved me to be. Finch is a detective unlike any you’ve encountered and is utterly compelling. I loved the meeting of the grime and the sublime and oh so beautifully crafted. Rarely has a novel got it all. Think Cormac McCarthy, via David Goodis, with an amazing nod to Lovecraft and still that doesn’t quite capture the spell this novel casts from the off.” Ken Bruen

“Finch is a head-trip of the highest order—rich, complex, thoughtful and deeply intriguing. The novel’s twisting alleys echo with the vibes of Kafka and Peake, Chandler and Borges, Orwell and Burroughs, but VanderMeer is an original. This haunting story is an unsettling mystery about, I’d argue, evolution, mutation, identity, control and rebellion, and dissolution. In Ambergris, Mr. V has created a hauntingly alien world that—for all its viral, fungal darkness—sometimes feels like a visit to the darkest corners of our contemporary reality. VanderMeer is a visionary and Finch is a riveting work of profound imagination.” Jack O’Connell

“Wow, what a cool novel. Heavy with shadows and dark as sin, detective, fantasy... Hell, I loved it. In fact, I’m a little jealous.” Joe R. Lansdale

Chinatown meets Naked Lunch with a sprinkling of Tetsuo II: The Bodyhammer. A must for fans of fantasy, noir, great writing, or, of course, fungus.” Joe Abercrombie

“Told in a pitch-perfect voice and steeped in the unrelenting menace authentic to the best works of noir, Finch is a wonderful, sad, brutal, and beautiful book. A tour de force.” Paul Tremblay, author of The Little Sleep

“Jeff VanderMeer’s hardboiled detective novel plunges readers into vividly realized world of invasion, betrayal, and intrigue. A noir tale with flashes of Chandler and The Thing, Finch is gripping from the first page to the last. Stark and moving—it’s amazing.” Meg Gardiner, Edgar-winning author of The Memory Collector

Finch is a police procedural unlike anything you’ve read. Like Ed McBain on acid, the story flows with wild images, sharp dialog and energy that keeps you turning the pages. Jeff VanderMeer shines as he creates a world and crime in Finch, that will enthrall any reader.” James O. Born, author of Burn Zone and Field of Fire

About the author

Jeff VanderMeer has had novels published in fifteen languages, won multiple awards, and made the best-of-year lists of Publishers Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, the LA Weekly, and many others. His award-winning short fiction has been featured on’s GeekDad and, as well as in many anthologies and magazines, including Conjunctions, Black Clock, and in American Fantastic Tales (Library of America). His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and hundreds of others. In addition, he has edited or co-edited more than a dozen influential fiction anthologies for, among others, Bantam Books and Pan Macmillan. On the pop culture front, VanderMeer’s work has been turned into short films for PlayStation Europe and videos featuring music by The Church. With his wife Ann, he has lectured, conducted master classes, and given workshops all over the world, including at the Brisbane Arts Center in Australia, the University of California at San Diego, and Wofford College, in South Carolina. He is a frequent guest of honor at conferences around the world, including such events as Utopiales in France, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, the Brisbane Writers Festival in Australia, Finncon in Helsinki, and the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. For more information, visit or contact

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