In the Well-Built City, the Master, Drachton Below, rules with total power and his justice is partially determined by Physiognomy, the pseudo-science of judging a person by his physical features. Physiognomist First Class Cley is dispatched to a mining town to determine the identity of a thief and the disappearance of a sacred fruit; he is well-versed in such justice, as he has found criminals well before they commit their crime. Arrogant and subjective, disdainful of all he sees, critical and abusive, Cley finds himself enamored of a local beauty. When the young-but-wise woman rejects him, his faith in his ability fails him, and in a drug-induced frenzy he “remakes” her features. The subsequent horror of what he has done, what he represents, and the shallow life he leads forces him to seek atonement and true justice, risking the Master’s wrath, which, if merciful, would only entail death by head explosion.
More than just an alternate history or Earth, the world of the Well-Built City is Ford at his finest, with bizarre creatures, trees, foods, drinks, customs—nothing is mundane in the writings of Ford. From the hallucinations of the drug, Beauty, to the destruction of buildings from a headache, the reader will find nothing like he has ever read before.
The cover art is the first panel of award-winning John Picacio’s triptych of the Well-Built City trilogy.
Trade Paperback, ISBN 978-1-930846-54-8
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