After the end of a brutal civil war, London is divided, as slums stand next to a walled city of elites insulated from the poverty of the city. Monk-like masters are selected for special schooling, shutting themselves away for decades studying to compose the chimes, beautiful compositions played morning and night citywide, to mute the memory and keep the citizens trapped in ignorance.
A young boy named Simon arrives in London alone and with nothing but the vague sense of a half-forgotten promise, to find someone, but he is thwarted. What he finds instead is a new family--a gang of scavengers that patrols the underbelly of London looking for valuable metal to sell. Drawn in by an enigmatic and beautiful young leader, a blind young man named Lucien with a gift for song, Simon quickly forgets what brought him to the place he has made his home. The past is a mystery, each new day feels the same as the last, and before is deemed "blasphony."
But Simon has a gift--the gift of holding on to memories--that will lead him to discover a great injustice and take him far beyond the meager living he has made for himself as a member of Lucien's gang, in a struggle for justice, love, and freedom.
The Chimes is an impressive work of speculative fiction, an imaginative adventure elegantly told.The Chimes reveals the human capacity to create both beauty and and terror in art and life.