Like most people, I had read other books by the author before getting to this, his debut novel.While lacking the excellent world building in his later books, this first effort by China Miéville is still way better than most fantasy on the market and a must for his fans.The protagonist here is one Saul Garamond and he isn’t quite what he appears to be. And thus begins a most imaginative trip through a world within a world populated with all sorts of interesting characters. A typically dark urban story by the author, once again he the displays his mastery of language and combines mystical elements using a backdrop of modern day London.There are two minor antagonists in this book that I would’ve liked to have heard more about. I think if China Miéville had written this later in his career he would have featured them more. It’s not a pun to call the main antagonist a dirty rat, and his connection with Saul is curious indeed.Slightly lacking in the depth of his more recent books, this is still a most impressive novel that occasionally displays flashes of brilliance. If you haven’t read any of his books I would suggest you start with either The Scar, the first in the Bas-Lag series or Perdido Street Station.