It's been a bit since I've read this novel and I was trying to find it recently so any help would be much appreciated.

From what I remember of the novel the book starts with a group of mercenaries (or possibly soldiers) who need to stop a bomb from going off. Something having to do with the bombs unleash nightmare like things (or at least things coming out of nightmares and people's imaginations. And it creates other people, who aren't people). Prominent things that happen throughout the novel includes backstory on the main character who had all sorts of military training (like stunt driving).

There are flashbacks from when he is a child playing with his friend in the sandbox at the park, and he talks about how his friend and his friend's parents practically raised him. His best friend's older brother ends up dying.

The twist at the end of the book is kind of big and helpful, the not spoiler has to do with the main character's name.

Spoiler version:

The main character is actually created from whatever weapon happens in the beginning of the book, at the beginning of the novel he is kicked out of his best friend's truck but survives because he is new. He realizes because he goes to his best friend's parents and they tell him he looks just like his best friend's older brother.


This sounds quite like Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World - it fits in with the mercenaries and at least some of your spoiler information.

The book is a science fiction epic with elements of comedy and nuclear holocaust fiction. It tells the story of the unnamed main character and his best friend Gonzo Lubitsch and their experiences during and after "The Go-Away War", a conflict that reduces the world population to 2 billion. The "go-away bombs" and similar weapons used by the belligerents were designed to simply make anything and anyone subjected to them cease to exist, leaving no carnage or wreckage behind. The weapons, however, produced an unanticipated after effect. The matter that had "gone-away" was still there but merely stripped of the information which formerly differentiated and defined it. This "Stuff", as it is called, floats around the world in great storms and pools in various locations. When it comes into contact with people, a process referred to as "reification" occurs. The Stuff takes the form of whatever those present are thinking about. The results are often horrific. Apparitions, as well as whole individual persons, appear out of nothing. These people become known as "the new". To combat the Stuff, the war's survivors rely upon a substance called "FOX" which is produced by Jorgmond, a corporation that, for all intents and purposes, functions as the only governmental authority by virtue of the constant and universal need for their product. It is delivered through "the Jorgmund pipe", which snakes around the globe and permits the population to live in a thin ribbon of habitable land banded on either side by wasteland.

The story begins with the characters in the "Nameless Bar", a title that is a reference to the main character's namelessness. The company they work for, the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company is hired by Jorgmund to deal with power failures and a fire that has broken out on the Jorgmund pipe itself, endangering the "backbone" of their world and their very existence. As the company sets off, the unnamed protagonist starts thinking about his past, from the day he first met Gonzo. It recounts his relationship with Elizabeth Soames, whom he meets as a youth studying martial arts under the tutelage of Master Wu. Wu's school, the Voiceless Dragon is the mortal enemy of the Society of the Clockwork Hand. The struggle between the two eventually converges with the protagonist's efforts to oppose the misdeeds of Jorgmund in the Go-Away War's aftermath.

  • That's fantastic. I'm almost positive that's what I've been looking for! Thanks so much, now to go re-read it.
    – Wasbazi
    Oct 4 '13 at 19:20

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