The Gone-Away World, By Nick Harkaway

Debut novelist Nick Harkaway, son of John Le Carré, shares none of his father's Cold War cool, though he has created his own alternative universe.

This post-apocalyptic kung-fu war epic is one of the noisiest novels around, populated by clamorous ninjas, mime-artists and geeks.

The world has survived catastrophe, but the Jorgmund Pipe – which bathes the earth in a protective mist – is on fire. One of the truckers sent to put out the flames is the narrator, keen to tell the story of professional hero Gonzo Lubitsch, in a genre-colliding work of impressive stamina, high invention and very low jokes.