From Publishers Weekly
British author McDonald's outstanding SF novel channels the vitality of South America's largest country into an edgy, post-cyberpunk free-for-all. McDonald sets up three separate characters in different eras—a cynical contemporary reality-TV producer, a near-future bisexual entrepreneur and a tormented 18th-century Jesuit agent. He then slams them together with the revelation that their worlds are strands of an immense quantum multiverse, and each of them is threatened by the Order, a vast conspiracy devoted to maintaining the status quo until the end of time. As McDonald weaves together the separate narrative threads, each character must choose between isolation or cooperation, and also between accepting things as they are or taking desperate action to make changes possible. River of Gods
(2004), set in near-future India, established McDonald as a leading writer of intelligent, multicultural SF, and here he captures Latin America's mingled despair and hope. Chaotic, heartbreaking and joyous, this must-read teeters on the edge of melodrama, but somehow keeps its precarious balance. (May)
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*Starred Review* McDonald takes on frenetic, vast, fascinating Brazil in this epic interweaving three time strands: the contemporary world of TV producer Marcelina, whose proposal for a series based on a mock trial of an ex-soccer star who played in the most devastating championship game in Brazilian history gets her entangled with the strange truth about our world; the eighteenth century of a Jesuit whose "task most difficult" of returning a fellow Jesuit to the teachings of the church takes him to the Amazon, where the task becomes unexpectedly, unimaginably more difficult and bizarre; and the nearish future, in which Edson, risen from poverty and crime almost to his dream of wealth and a house by the sea, gets mired in the affairs of Fia, a quantumiera
(she operates a quantum computer in an always-moving vehicle) who disables the quantum security chip his brother nearly died for stealing. The connections of these worlds through the various ways in which people can perceive all possible universes, and the implications of the universe's unavoidable quantum entanglements--ranging from the possibility of predicting the future to the existence of nigh-infinite doubles of everyone--prove startling. McDonald's Brasyl
is a magnificent place, and the motivations and possible results of the battle over the multitude of quantum universes it posits are chilling and wonderful. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved