|The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi|
It's an excellent book that tells a very unpleasant story about a very unpleasant future. It's set in Thailand, which is hot and humid now. Think about what it will be like when global warming takes hold. The city is surrounded by dikes built to keep back the sea. There are coal fired pumps on the sea wall. They run on coal because we've run out of oil. Is the world overpopulated now? Hard to tell, numerous, constantly mutating plagues are on the loose, but it's still crowded in the city. And did I mention it's hot and humid? And everyone is constantly sweating? So, not a very nice place. But we have characters, interesting characters: the tiger, champion of environmental purity; the mole struggling to serve two masters; the evil agent of the evil genetically engineered seed company, and a host of other characters, some with large but minor roles, other with small but crucial roles. Political intrigue at it's finest.
One of the most interesting bits was the description of a violent insurrection, how, to the average man in the street, the pot apparently just boiled over without any warning. Never mind the instigators had planned it out meticulously in advance. Maybe that's what it takes. That, and being able to keep a secret.
Oh, yes, the Windup Girl. Victimized female, but attractive, with hidden talents (no, not that kind), who finally gathers herself together and ... well, I'm not going to say anymore, except that it isn't until she finally gets free that she manages to get a grip.
Update April 2016 added Amazon link.