From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his triumphant return to large-scale SF, Nebula and Hugo–winner Bear (Quantico
) links three young drifters in present-day Seattle with an unimaginably distant future. When the drifters answer an odd newspaper advertisement, they soon find themselves caught up in a war between mysterious and powerful forces. Two not-quite-humans, creations of a million-year experiment, have discovered that their ancient fortress/city, perhaps the last refuge of intelligence in a dying universe, is about to fall before the onslaught of chaos. They have been chosen by beings evolved far beyond mere matter to undertake a dangerous mission to preserve the universe's last vestiges of consciousness. Somehow the two groups engage in telepathic communication despite the eons that separate them. Something of an homage to William Hope Hodgson's classic The Night Land
, this complex, difficult and beautifully written tale will appeal to sophisticated readers who prefer thorny conundrums to fast-paced action. (Aug.)
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In a post-human future, one city, guarded by reality generators and surrounded by the terrible maelstrom of Chaos, is the sole bastion of order. In our time, three people who can alter the course of fate, a murky past, and the dreams of a decaying city at the end of time are brought together by a newspaper ad and into the hands of collectors of their kind. Back in the future, the strange characters include keepers and the Librarian, who seek to protect history, and others who welcome Chaos. As the lines of fate and possibility collapse toward inevitability, the three fateshifters resort to the tenuous protection of a Seattle warehouse full of books as a storm that threatens to destroy everything approaches. If the trio survives and holds onto memory through the disaster, memory will begin again, the long decay of reality will end, and mysteries will be solved in the eye of the storm. Fascinating. --Regina Schroeder