Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Iron Council (New Crobuzon, #3)” as Want to Read:
Iron Council (New Crobuzon, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Iron Council

(New Crobuzon #3)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  12,423 ratings  ·  817 reviews
Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Miéville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and fantastical band of characters, he carries us back to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon—this time, decades later.

It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from
Paperback, 576 pages
Published July 26th 2005 by Del Rey (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Iron Council, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Owen Iron Council's story is set roughly two decades after the events in Perdido Street Station and The Scar (themselves both distinct from one another)…moreIron Council's story is set roughly two decades after the events in Perdido Street Station and The Scar (themselves both distinct from one another) and makes only brief passing references to them. The main thing you may miss out on is descriptive details of the world of Bas-Lag that emerged through the other novels. Having said that, Mieville still gives enough detail throughout Iron Council for it to stand on it's own, so if you want to jump right in then feel free to do so and don't worry about missing anything mission critical.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've known *about* Mieville for a long time. But I don't know if I've ever read one of his books before. Generally speaking though, people I respect enjoy his books, and that's the best way I know to find new things to read.

Simply said? I really enjoyed it. Strange enough to be wondrous, but not so bizarre that it's nonsensical. Good story. Good use of language. Good characters.

Perhaps more than anything else, I was impressed by the moral ambiguity of the book. And I'm not talking about cheap
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Overtly political, teasingly intricate, and deeply intertextual, China Miéville's Iron Council is everything I expect to love in great speculative fiction, and nearly everything I know I love in Miéville's work.

Yet, since its publication, I have only read it once, and I still find myself ranking it third of Miéville's Bas-Lag books. I've been baffled by my restraint with Iron Council. My admiration of Miéville's other books is boundless, bordering on madness, and I haven't understood how a book
Iron Council is China Miéville's most overtly political fiction work, but don't pigeonhole it.

Between the revolutionary fervor, fantasy, trains, and Western-like parts runs a common theme of love and the painful, desperate, doomed human longing.

I loved this book. It was not the insta-love like it was with "The Scar" but a long, careful, slow-to-build-up affair that by the end of the story fully blossomed. This book is fascinating, passionate, brutal at times, thought-provoking and deliberately
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Dear China,

It’s not you, it’s me.

I wanted to like Iron Council more, and there were parts of it I really did like, but the old magic was just not there.

I remember first meeting you on the pages of Kraken, and your fantastic images, scenes and people made me want to spend more time with you.

Then we spent some time together stepping in between Besźel and Ul Qoma and I realized the depth and virtuosity was more than a flash in the pan, you were on to some heady stuff, THE NEW WEIRD. I was hooked.

Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I gave this four stars, but I also gave Mieville's "The Scar" four stars.

But they aren't equal. (This highlights the difficulty with the Goodreads rating system).

"The Scar" probably deserved a 4.5 (nearly perfect), where this rates more like a 3.5.

This is the third book in the New Crobuzon/Bas Lag series.

The first two were "Perdido Street Station" and "The Scar".

"The Iron Council" takes place in the same universe but many years later, in the nineteenth century (where the earlier two books were i
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
December 2008

Gods and Jabber, I don't know why I love this one the most. It's not necessarily better than the other Bas-Lag Books (don't you dare call them a trilogy, don't you dare. Old China says he'll always come back to this; there's more to come), and it's nowhere near the worst. There's just something about this that feels so radically different, so alien, so apart from the others. Perdido Street Station was new and fresh and amazing, yeah, but it felt familiar enough--while still being st
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review to come at some point in future hopefully.

For now like the rest of the series, combination of very weird but very well written steampunk and real world politics with ambiguous sides and no truly right answer.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I love the first two Bas-Lag books but it took me ages to get around to this third volume due to the relatively high number of less than enthusiastic reviews on Goodreads and elsewhere. Yes, I can be swayed by reviews if the consensus opinion leans towards the negative. At the end of the day though I could not resist picking this book up as it is the last Bas-Lag volume for the foreseeable future (Miéville may come back to it but he seems to have no plan to do so at the moment). Another thing in ...more
We live in a culture that desires fragmented stories; stories that are told quickly and compellingly, so we can move on to the next tale. It is why we love visual forms so much. It is why YA fiction is increasingly popular with older crowds. It is why graphic novels are on the rise as a literary form. But where are the novellas? Where are books like One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Old Man and the Sea, Heart of Darkness, The Awakening, A Clockwork Orange?

I have been looking, waiting,
Ben Babcock
Recall in my review of The Scar how I was whining about my opinion of China Miéville and his novels remaining relatively constant? How I wanted to read something different, something I could say didn't rank equally with the other three novels by him that I have read?

This is the story of why I should have been more careful with my wishing.

I knew something was wrong—perhaps I should say off—almost from the beginning of this book. The opening was grandiose in Miéville's usual style (which, if you'v
‘El Consejo de Hierro’ es una novela ambientada en el fantástico mundo de Bas-lag, donde también transcurrían esas obras maestras que son ‘La estación de la Calle Perdido’ y ‘La cicatriz’. No cabe duda de que China Miéville es un escritor único, del que a duras penas puede ser comparado con ningún otro. Su visión de la fantasía, de naturaleza New Weird, oscura y pesadillesca, se aleja de todo lo conocido hasta el momento.

En ‘El Consejo de Hierro’, de nuevo volvemos a Nueva Crobuzon, esa ciudad m
So, here we are in Bas Lag again. According to interviews, Mieville sounds like he has every intention of returning to the world of Bas Lag in the future, so I won't refer to this as "the last Bas Lag novel." But, as of 2009, it's the most recent.

I found the experience of reading Iron Council markedly different from the first two books set in this world. For one, in this book the story isn't as localised. We have met the city of New Crobuzon in Perdido Street Station and the pirate collective of
I wanted very much to like Iron Council, considering how much I was drawn into the worlds of Perdido Street Station and The Scar, but despite my best efforts, I couldn't do it. Without question, it's my least favorite of Mieville's three Bas-Lag books, and I am conceding defeat at page 287. Judging from many of the positive (though qualified) reviews of other GR readers, the story is difficult but rewarding, but I think if I don't care what happens by the mid-way point, then it's not going to ha ...more
Camille Stein

Handlinger / Manecro - &

No escogemos lo que recordamos, piensa Judah, las historias que llevamos con nosotros.

Eran jardineros de quitina. Tenían rebaños formados por millones de insectos, arácnidos y artrópodos, cuya evolución iban dirigiendo en la acelerada sucesión de las generaciones hasta que contaban con cantidades colosales de arañas del tamaño de alfileres, ciempiés de un pie de largo e incontables especies de avispas reptantes. Empleando extraña
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Enough imagination for eighty favorite of Mieville's anti-trilogy for some reason...seems like you walked into a Bosch painting for most of the book.The most dismissed of Mieville’s books maybe because the first hundred pages are a little confusing and the structure strains a little bit more than usual. While all his books have flaws his enormous imagination and stunning vocabulary (rivaling Wolfe and McCarthy) pave over any hesitations I have. This one focuses on a tragic and costly c ...more
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A beautiful novel, perhaps the best speculative fiction that I've read, but likewise certainly enriched by reference to its close companion text, The Scar, which parallels it in important ways, as well as to Perdido Street Station, which introduces its setting.

As in The Scar, the narrative here involves a group of outcasts who travel on a more or less traditional quest to find something in particular. Both books involve a renegade, mobile city that interacts weirdly with a bizarre breach in the
I don't think I'll ever read a trilogy like New Crobuzon (NC) again. It is hard to pinpoint what I felt when reading the book, but it surely an overwhelming mix of emotions. Iron Council to me is the most emotional of them all. Maybe, because of the point of views of its characters. Perdido Street Station (PDS) was NC seen from the eyes of the elite, the scientist and the artist, the mob boss and the privileged. In The Scar, there was a shift to the vagrants, pirates, the runaways with unseen ye ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Leída la última novela de China Miéville ambientada en su onírico y delirante universo de "Bas Lag" y la conclusión es cristalina: obra magna de la literatura y la imaginación. Auténtico triunfo de lo poético, lo arcano y lo irreal.

La novela, desde mi óptica, es un 4 estrellas de cajón. Otorgo las 5 estrellas desde el entusiasmo y el fanatismo militante que profeso hacia la obra de un autor visionario. Único e incalificable, que defeca sobre la convención, la petrificación e inmutabilidad de gén
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: radical-politics
Wow, what a rich novel! China Mieville does with fantasy what I love about radical science fiction: sets a revolution in an imagined world to create an engaging, complex, deep story and character and speak to the real world, the present. I highly recommend the Iron Council to folks who like feminist/leftist science fiction that want to read a fantasy novel that doesn't celebrate the aristocracy. Iron Council is a novel about class struggle and the people in it, and it happens to be fantasy.

I'm d
Certainly the weakest of the Bas-Lag novels, although in some ways it was probably the most creative. I enjoyed Iron Council enough not to give up halfway through, though were it written by anyone else I probably would have.

As per usual, China Mieville's incredible creativity and world-building were in full force, exploring the wide world of the continent of Rohagi, from New Crobuzon to Myrshock to the Torque-spewing Cacotopic Stain. Endless neat new beasts and characters on display, and the nea
Ian "Marvin" Graye
To the Riverskin Station

Like Tsarist Russia in 1917, New Crobuzon is at war with a neighbouring city-state, Tesh. As in St Petersburg, the local insurrectionists, a random collective of variegated runaways (the Collectivists), seize the opportunity to stage a revolutionary overthrow of the oppressive Urban Unity Government. Meanwhile, the Iron Council (which might be analogous to the Central Committee of the Communist/Bolshevik Party) learns of these events and decides, like Lenin, to return fro
Jun 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like Bas Lag
Shelves: fantasy, uk, fiction
After reading this, the last of Mieville's trio of Bas Lag novels, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Iron Council is definitely my least favorite of the three, despite (or perhaps because of) being the most overtly political. Perhaps because of the focus on revolution, I felt the characters of this novel were much less interesting then the previous two. Unlike Isaac or Bellis, I never really connected with or identified with Cutter, Ori, Ann Hari or any other person or felt drawn into thei ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic. I picked it up with some hesitation because of reviews I'd read, which said that Iron Council was "the weakest" of the series, that the plot and setting were a far cry from the complex, violently magical and Victorian-inspired backdrops of the previous two books. Other reviews simply said the book was too slow.

And to some extent it is all true. Iron Council takes the reader much farther from the brilliant magics, sciences, and mythologies depicted in Perdido Street Stati
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
[after second reading]
Yeah, I'm sticking with the two stars. Is it about preserving history? Is it about the inaccuracy of monuments? Is it about the sources of inspiration being stronger for what they inspire than for their truth? I'm not sure, and I don't care.

As other reviewers have said, the reason Iron Council is less satisfying that Perdido Street Station or The Scar is because it's mostly endless description of conflicts and fights and there's very little character development. Ultimately
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: pretentious marxists
Shelves: fictive
I absolutely raced through Mieville's previous efforts, but this one was a slog. There were too many battles for my taste, and the characters had no depth whatsoever. Instead of trying to create depth, Mieville just repeats the same information over and over. Cutter loves Judah. Oh he loves him so much. Judah is unable to love, or is just priest-like. Why should I care? I never managed to care through the whole almost-600 pages. He also commits the literary crime of describing other fantasy race ...more
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Soffiano venti di rivoluzione e di decadenza, di romanticismo e fatalismo, di speranza di tradimento. È tempo di sangue, sudore e lacrime. Il clima politico di New Crobuzon non è mai stato così rovente. Sono passati più di 10 anni dagli Incubi di Mezza Estate e la più grande e potente metropoli del Bas-Lag è l'incarnazione del detto "più le cose cambiano, più restano le stesse". Una lunga e sanguinosa guerra con l'arcana e misteriosa città-stato di Tesh sta esasperando le classi più povere della ...more
Althea Ann
I had eagerly anticipated reading Mieville's latest - but while I certainly enjoyed returning to the world of New Crobuzon, I have to admit that I did not like this book nearly as much as either 'The Scar' or 'Perdido Street Station.' Of course, I love both of those books, so my expectations for this one were very high. Still, I felt that the concepts in this book overwhelmed the story - the characters and events were secondary to Mieville's thoughts about repressive societies, social economics, ...more
Megan Baxter
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Iron Council is one of those books that you don't so much read as tussle with. It's an adventure, a quest, and I often feel like there are underlying themes deeper than the obvious ones, ones that make me wish Perdido Street Station, in particular, was more recent in my memory. I feel that the three New Crobuzon books I've read hang together as a commentary about revolution and rebellion.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
The earthy Miéville, the more subdued of the Bas Lag universe... until the final climax when he sticks it to the critical world and goes all Perdido on our asses, ostentatiously. That's what we get for making fun of his words. He don't need no rules. The resistance must go on. Struggle golem.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Etched City
  • Veniss Underground
  • The Light Ages (The Aether Universe, #1)
  • Brittle Innings
  • The Year of Our War (Fourlands, #1)
  • Viriconium
  • Thunderer (Thunderer, #1)
  • The Grand Ellipse
  • The New Weird
  • Drowning Towers
  • Fairyland
  • The Inexplicables (The Clockwork Century, #4)
  • Desolation Road (Desolation Road Universe, #1)
  • Sword & Citadel (The Book of the New Sun #3-4)
  • The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian, #2)
  • The Land Leviathan: A New Scientific Romance (Oswald Bastable, #2)
  • Dreaming in Smoke
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter
A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist W ...more

Other books in the series

New Crobuzon (3 books)
  • Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)
  • The Scar (New Crobuzon, #2)
“When the rich grow afraid, they get nasty.” 8 likes
“Imagine if one of them were turned. Imagine if one could be bought.'
'But they're chosen just so's they can't be bought...'
'History...' Jacobs spoke with terse authority. Brought Ori to a hush. 'Is all full. And dripping. With the corpses. Of them who trusted the incorruptible.”
More quotes…