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"He was a real vagrant. He was just something else as well."
Ori's thoughts on Spiral Jacobs

"Spiral" Jacobs is a friendly madman living on the streets of New Crobuzon, famous for the spirals he draws. He is first mentioned in The Scar, very briefly, as Tanner Sack reminisces about the city.



Prior to the Tesh-New Crobuzon War, Jacobs was already known as one of New Crobuzon's most famous madmen and beggars. His nickname had come about from his habit of drawing spirals along the walls of buildings wherever he went. As early as 1780, Tanner Sack recalled Spiral Jacobs as one of the most memorable figures in the city.

During this period of time, Jacobs allegedly worked with Jack Half-a-Prayer as part of his antigovernment movement.

Events of Iron Council (1804–1805)[]

At the time of Iron Council, Spiral Jacobs still appears to be a good-natured bum slipping between varying degrees of coherency. He convinces Ori (truthfully or otherwise) that he was once a member of Jack Half-a-Prayer's gang, and helps him join Toro's revolutionary organization - later, Ori suspects that Jacobs subtly furthered many of their revolutionary goals in order to bring the city into chaos. In the meantime, Spiral Jacobs lives up to his name by drawing spiral designs of varying complexity all over the city, even managing to get them accepted as a symbol of the revolutionary movement.

When Qurabin the Teshi first sees a copy of one of these spirals on the traveling bag of a New Crobuzon refugee, he grows panicked, informing his traveling companions from the Iron Council that these spirals are part of a sinister and powerful Teshi ritual. The spiral designs covering the city - culminating in an immense pattern in a corner of Perdido Street Station - are in fact a Teshi attempt to win their war with New Crobuzon by utterly eradicating it.

After tracking Jacobs through his hexes, the group confronts him on a roof of the station. Despite their efforts, Jacobs repels every attack they send against him. Finally, through supplication to the Moment of the Hidden and the Lost, Qurabin manages to prevent Spiral Jacobs from summoning the deadly urbanomach at the last instant. Ori and Elsie are killed in this final encounter, while Jacobs and Qurabin are forever hidden in the domain of Tekke Vogu.


As a Tesh ambassador, Spiral Jacobs is trained in a host of powerful thaumaturgy, referred to as ambassadormagik. His spirals designs that pepper the city are impossible to remove, and he himself seems entirely immune to harm, as unknown magics cause every attack against him to miss, no matter how well-aimed. When provoked, Jacobs is capable of sending opponents hurtling back with a gesture, fusing them to whatever they hit.

The little information that Qurabin provides of ambassadormagik labels Spiral Jacobs a hecatombist, master in turn of a whole series of thaumaturgies culminating in this final ritual. The power of this ritual is such that it sends "ripples" forward and backward in time in the form of temporary, dark and murderous manifestations or "haints" of psychic energy shaped like mundane people and objects.

Characters in Iron Council
Main characters

Ann-Hari · Cutter · Drogon · Elsie · Judah Low · Ori Ciuraz · Pomeroy · Qurabin · Spiral Jacobs · Toro

Minor characters

Baron · Bertold Sulion · Eliza Stem-Fulcher · Ihona · Old Shoulder · Legus · Pennyhaugh · Petron Carrickos · Thick Shanks · Uzman · Weather Wrightby