New World is now at war. The native Spackle who communicate telepathically such that each can link their mind with every other Spackle are attacking the armies of New Prentisstown led by the Mayor and Todd. Viola and Mistress Coyle, leader of the rebellious Answer, are holed up on a hill on which the scoutship from the waiting settlers sits.
The Mayor is teaching Todd to control his Noise. This means that Todd no longer broadcasts his thoughts telepathically to the world, a fact that Viola (his girlfriend who, as a female, does not broadcast Noise) distrusts and dislikes. It also means that Todd can hide from all the awful things he is seeing and doing in the war; it deadens his feeling. It also means that a telepathic bond is growing between Todd and the Mayor; each can start to use thought to control the other and other people. This makes Todd feel powerful. At the same time he is growing closer to the Mayor.
And the Return, the only Spackle who escaped from the slave Spackle concentration camp where Todd was a guard, talks to the Spackle boss, the Sky and vows revenge on Todd.
In the middle of all this Todd, Viola and Bradley from the scout ship are trying to negotiate peace with the Spackle while the Mayor and Mistress Coyle try to take credit for victory, manoeuvring to be the one to rule.
Loads of subplots. But I think it became too complicated and too drawn out. I knew how the story ought to end and I wanted it to end considerably sooner than it did. The actual end was a bit Harry Potterish, using thoughts instead of wands. In his bid to explore every last loose end I think Patrick Ness may have added too many layers. The first book was so tight and left so many questions unanswered. I do not see why the third book could not have been the same.
January 2011; 603 pages
Chaos Walking is now a film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_Walking_(film)