'A contemporary masterpiece' The Guardian.The first volume of the extraordinary Southern Reach Trilogy, now a major film directed by Alex Garland, starring Natalie Portman and Oscar Isaac. For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border - an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness. The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic. Now four women embark on the twelfth expedition into the unknown.