Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall—an enormous concrete barrier around its entire border. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and attack constantly. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. And then the Others attack. . . .
John Lanchester is the author of four previous novels that have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, including the best-selling Debt to Pleasure and Capital. A regular contributor to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, he is also the recipient of the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in London.
Keith Gessen is the author of A Terrible Country and All the Sad Young Literary Men, and is a founding editor of n+1. He is the editor of three nonfiction books and the translator or co-translator, from Russian, of a collection of short stories, a book of poems, and a work of oral history, Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich's Voices from Chernobyl. A contributor to The New Yorker and The London Review of Books, Gessen teaches journalism at Columbia and lives in New York with his wife and sons.