These books were my return to grand-scale world-building after a few years away. They’re in a similar scale to Mortal Engines, but instead of a ramshackle retro-future they’re set among the glittering hi-tech cities and terraformed garden planets of the Network Empire, an interstellar society built around a vast system of hyperspace railways. Hired to pull of a heist far more dangerous than he expected, petty thief Zen Starling is plunged into an adventure involving sentient trains, secret stations, sensitive androids, fickle data-gods, chatty insect colonies - so many things, in fact, that the story spilled over into two more books, Black Light Express and Station Zero. I was aiming for the exotic fun of classic space opera, but with trains instead of spaceships...
Published in the UK by Oxford University Press, and in the US by Switch Press.
"Zen's world is hauntingly evoked in all its technological beauty. A futuristic vision that enthralls and chills." - The Financial Times.
"...the emotions of the characters (even the robot who wants freckles) draw you in wholeheartedly. Railhead is superb." - Martin Chilton, The Daily Telegraph.
Cover artwork by Ian McQue