The Scar pits the wits of a spy scoundrel Silas Fennec aka Simon Fench vs the strategic warrior Uther Doul.
While the protagonist of The Scar is Bellis Coldwin the major conflict of the story is betweeen Doul and Fennec. Coldwin is used at times as an agent on behalf of these two characters wills. Doul is a warrior driven by his need to serve his masters The Lovers for better or worse. Fennec’s motivations are mysterious and hidden while on the surface he is just a prisoner who wants to escape to save his homeland.
Coldwin is manipulated by both in an indirect war between the two.
The Scar as often stated on the website is the best work of steampunk fiction. It is a story set in a fantasy world called Bas Lag. The main character Bellis Coldwin finds herself the prisoner/citizen of a floating city called Armada. Bellis Coldwin first finds an ally in Fennec a fellow citizen of New Crobuzon who would like to escape from this pirate city built on the hulls of hundreds of derelict ships.
What makes the battle between Fennec and Doul interesting is that as the story progresses it seems that their goals are closer to the same then originally seem. Perhaps both characters want to stop the Lovers plans. Working against the cities leader ship’s ultimate plan to lead the floating city of Armada to the fabled Scar. The Scar is the place where The Lovers plan on tapping the mysterious power of the tear in the world.
Both Fennec and Doul seem opposed to this ultimate goal though for different reasons. Fennec, who is being stalked across the seas of Bas Lag by an unknown enemy, needs to return to New Crobuzon with the information contained in his notebook. He can’t afford to be hijacked by these seeming psychopath. Doul is a natural leader who prefers his role as loyal soldier and servant of the Lovers. He is willing to destroy anyone who attempts to stop the lovers directly whether right or wrong. However as the story plays out it becomes apparent the Doul might be working indirectly against the Lovers himself.
The Scar is a bizarre and highly imaginative tale made all the more compelling by
the conflict between Uther Doul and Silas Fennec. Mieville is the best and these are two of the best characters in any steampunk novel.