Cities of the Plain

Cormac McCarthy

04 August 2022
304 pages


Two men marked by boyhood adventures now stand together, forced to confront a country changing beyond recognition. Cities of the Plain brings Cormac McCarthy's legendary Border Trilogy to its brutal, inevitable conclusion.

'The completed trilogy emerges as a landmark in American literature' – Guardian

1952, New Mexico. John Grady Cole, last seen in All the Pretty Horses, works as a ranch hands alongside Billy Parnham, of The Crossing. These are the dying days of the American frontier.

From the north, the military encroaches upon the ranch. To the south are the mountains of Mexico, the pull of which prove irresistible to John Grady. And so it is that, when he falls in love with a sex worker south of the border, events are set into motion that will prove as dangerous as they are unstoppable.

'This haunting, deeply felt novel completes one of the literary masterworks of the 1990s' – Telegraph

'Like a slow-acting hallucinogen, the book has managed to transform a Texas boy of sixteen looking for adventure into a mysterious figure that augurs the destruction of the world' – Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room

Cities of the Plain is the final novel in the Border Trilogy. It is preceded by the first two volumes: All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing.

Praise for Cormac McCarthy

‘McCarthy worked close to some religious impulse, his books were terrifying and absolute’ – Anne Enright, author of The Green Road and The Wren, The Wren

'His prose takes on an almost biblical quality, hallucinatory in its effect and evangelical in its power' – Stephen King, author of The Shining and the Dark Tower series

'[I]n presenting the darker human impulses in his rich prose, [McCarthy] showed readers the necessity of facing up to existence' – Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain

Part of the Picador Collection, a series showcasing the best of modern literature.

In a lovely and terrible landscape of natural beauty and impending loss we find John Grady; a young cowboy of the old school, trusted by men and horses, and a fragile young woman, whose salvation becomes his obsession . . . McCarthy makes the sweeping plains a miracle.
Like the Western settings he captures to perfection, his work is both heart-wrenchingly beautiful and uncompromisingly brutal.
The completed trilogy emerges as a landmark in American literature