The Crying Machine by Greg Chivers
(Harper Voyager, 2019)

The Crying Machine

by Greg Chivers

The Crying Machine is a thriller set in a near-future Jerusalem that has become a Casablanca-style refuge from a global conflict.

When Clementine arrives in the faded city, she appears to be just another refugee fleeing to the Middle East from the ruins of war-torn Europe. Poverty forces her to become involved in a high-tech heist to steal an artefact, the Antikythera Mechanism, from the city’s great museum. Her partner in the endeavour, a small time thief called Levi, quickly discovers her secret: Clementine is an artificial creation, a six year-old synthetic intelligence which struggles to understand the world it has escaped into. Soon the two of them are embroiled in a factional struggle between a machine-worshipping religious cult, a ruthless gangster, and one of the city’s most prominent politicians.

The Crying Machine is a political thriller and heist novel set in a stunningly well-realised future world. It’s high-concept, cross-over sci-fi in the vein of The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi, Lexicon by Max Barry, and The City and the City by China Mieville.