Title: Ink and Bone
Author: Rachel Caine
The Doctrine of Ownership states that the Great Library must, for the protection and preservation of knowledge in trust for the world, own all such knowledge.
Ink and Bone is set in an alternate universe where The Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, instead it stands as the most powerful wielder of influence in the world. The Library guards knowledge in a miserly way, strictly restricting its distribution by a rather ingenious system named ‘mirroring’. Texts are distributed from an approved list of books to ‘blanks’ throughout the world – think Kindle if Amazon became an evil overlord! The ownership of actual books are outlawed, to allow controlled and monitored flow of information. In fact, it was revealed early on in the book that Gutenberg was disposed of when he invented the printer: the one technology that would undermine the Library’s iron grip on knowledge and progress.
So much should never be held in the hands of so few, for it is a natural, venal habit of men to hold to power. And knowledge is the purest form of power.
If that premise does not convince you to run to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of Ink & Bone, I don’t know what else I can do! Just imagine, all of the information in the world available, but guarded and banned from the public. The Library, bookworm’s most sacred place, is an malevolent force! That is a wicked cool premise! The conflicts in Ink & Bone does it justice, too. Though at times, I felt that the text was a bit too heavy handed with the whole ‘knowledge is freedom’ spiel – I don’t like it when stuff are spoon fed to me. In any case, I felt that Ink & Bone’s strongest point was definitely this intriguing setting, I already cannot wait to see more of this world.