The Electric Kingdom

by Arnold, David
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Arnold, David The Electric Kingdom
Arnold, David - The Electric Kingdom

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New York Times bestseller David Arnold's most ambitious novel to date; Station Eleven meets The 5th Wave in a genre-smashing story of survival, hope, and love amid a ravaged earth.

When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are eighteen-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico's father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post-apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark. The Electric Kingdom is a sweeping exploration of art, storytelling, eternal life, and above all, a testament to the notion that even in an exterminated world, one person might find beauty in another.


Arnold, David

Further information

Biography Artist:
David Arnold lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his (lovely) wife and (boisterous) son. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite, Mosquitoland, and The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. His books have been translated into a dozen languages.
Praise for The Electric Kingdom

This is a story about storytellers, and David Arnold is among the best. The Electric Kingdom is an epic postapocalyptic tale where humanity is louder than a swarm of Flies, and hope radiates in the bleakest of places. Fearless writing and a remarkable cast of characters will send readers on an unforgettable journey. ADAM SILVERA, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End
With luminous compassion and ceaseless invention, Arnold has built a postapocalyptic nesting doll of a tale, full of tricky resonances and moments of grace. All the pieces of this fascinating, ambitious book work together like the chambers of some great heart. I can t wait for teen readers to discover it and suspect it was written just for them. MELISSA ALBERT, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
Utterly unique and genre-busting, The Electric Kingdom is David Arnold at his best. I was left in awe by the stunning prose, the challenging philosophical questions, and the masterful puzzle of a plot. The moment I nished, I immediately wanted to read it again. JASMINE WARGA, Newbery Honor winning author of Other Words for Home

"An intricate piece of high-concept sci-fi . . . carried by crystalline prose, which echoes like poetry, towards a genuinely astonishing and moving conclusion. Accessible, sophisticated, and immensely satisfying." Booklist (starred review)
"An absorbing read with well-realized characters and beautiful writing, this novel will appeal to readers of science fantasy such as N.K. Jemisin s Broken Earth trilogy." SLJ (starred review)

"Particularly poignant Arnold brings all the classic elements of a dystopia here and twists them up with mind-bending dramatics of time travel, making room for harrowing action scenes and deep existential ponderings. Given current circumstances, this makes for a timely and chilling read."  BCCB (starred review)
"Well executed and resonant this is not a simple post-apocalyptic novel but instead a quiet, philosophical exploration of humanity with a touch of science fiction around the edges. Defying strict genre categories, Arnold leaves readers wondering and unbalanced until the final page."  Kirkus Reviews

"With a haunting, deliberately paced tale of postapocalyptic survival, Arnold creates a devastated world held together by myth and memory."  Publishers Weekly

"Arnold wisely balances the novel s complex narrative with contemplative, lyrical prose. The writing here is so accessible and inviting that it s easy to get wrapped in the world he gives us even when there s time travel, secret portals and mysterious identities." The Nashville Scene
"A mind-blowing blend of post-apocalyptic fantasy, science fiction and time travel The kind of novel worth re-reading."  BookPage
"With characters and prose that you can t get enough of, this story is a captivating yet poignant reminder that hope and beauty can be found even in the midst of ruin Defying genre, The Electric Kingdom is at once elegantly eerie and tragically comforting." The Southern Bookseller Review

- An Indie Bestseller
- A Forbes Notable Book of 2021
- An Indie Next Pick Spring 2021
- An Amazon Best Book of the Month 

Interest Age:

Years ago, long before the narration of her father turned unreliable, dissolving like one of those Sweet N Lows in his favorite stale black tea, Nico would climb into his armchair and sit in his lap as he read The Phantom Tollbooth or Tuck Everlasting or any one of the hundreds of books in the cozy-dank Farmhouse library, and even now, even here, she could smell her father s beard, feel the glow of flames from the fireplace, hear the soothing salivary tones of his reading voice, and Nico wondered if perhaps that was life after life: not a physical place, but a loop of some former time in which a person, after death, was allowed to relive over and over again. There, in a story, in her father s armchair in her father s arms Nico hoped that was the afterlife.

She supposed she would know soon enough.


Nico stared into fire. Beside her, Harry s breathing had long ago fallen into time with hers, and she thought that one could hardly call them two separate entities, that at some point between yesterday and today, she and her dog had consolidated into a single, cosmically connected creature of survival. Maybe this telepathic bond had been there all along, lying dormant below the surface; maybe it took leaving the Farmhouse, entering the wild, to coax it out.

All around, the trees were thick: every few feet, the base of a trunk exploded from the earth, rose up into the sky where branches reached like arms to hold hands with other branches, tree-sisters and tree-brothers seeking touch, listening for words of comfort in the dark night. I am here. You are not alone.

The thought of trees talking to each other warmed Nico s stomach.
She pulled a pen from her bag, held the back of her hand up to the firelight. There, in the space between her thumb and forefinger, was a single line in ink. Carefully, she drew a second line beside it. According to the map, the Merrimack River ran over a hundred miles from New Hampshire to Massachusetts before spilling into the Atlantic Ocean. It helped to think of the woods on a large scale; by contrast, their walk in them seemed minuscule, their destination much closer than it actually was.

She stared at the lines on her hand: two days down. At the rate they were going, she hoped to reach the river by the fourth tally, leaving her with four more to get to Manchester.
Not the Kingdom of Manchester. Just Manchester. She could still hear her father s voice: The Waters of Kairos are real. Manchester is a real place . . . 

She knew Manchester (or what was left of it) existed. Outside of that, she wasn t sure what to believe. Her father had seemed lucid enough, though the line between lucidity and opacity had blurred considerably these past weeks. The problem was, there was no protocol in place, no books on the shelf, nobody in the wide empty world to help her answer this question: What do you do when the person you most trust hands you a fiction and calls it fact?

On her back now, tucked into the sleeping bag, Nico looked up at the stars and thought of her parents. How quickly her memories of them had come to resemble a place more than a person: a permanent imprint in the armchair, a dusty seat at the dinner table, the empty mantel by the fireplace, her mother s dog-eared Bible. So long as they lived in the Farmhouse, the Farmhouse lived. It was the body and they were the heart. But it was quickly becoming a ghost, every nook and cranny a whispered reminder that her mother was gone, her father wasn t far behind, the beating heart was winding down.

The fire popped; beside her, Harry shimmied in his sleep, his front and back haunches lurching in a running motion, chasing the squirrel or rabbit of his dreams.

Winters in the Farmhouse were cold, but Nico found comfort in them: cozy spots, always a fire
Number of Pages:
Media Type:
Penguin LCC US

Master Data

Product Type:
Paperback book
Release date:
February 9, 2021
Package Dimensions:
0.207 x 0.141 x 0.044 m; 0.43 kg
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