From Publishers Weekly
Time and space are fluid and perspectives are intriguingly alien and off-kilter in this cosmological first novel from Serbian author Zivkovic. Built from multiple intertwined plots fleshed out in short chapters rich with impressionistic images, it attempts the difficult feat of conveying a parallel world through the experiences of characters largely unaware that alternate realities exist. Two principal story linesone involving a Buddhist techno-whiz who creates a female computer program, the other concerned with a medieval novitiate who witnesses the mystical resurrection of a master whom he believed deadanchor a narrative that also admits episodes in which Archimedes, Stephen Hawking, Nikola Tesla and other scientific luminaries find ways to slip the bounds of the time-space continuum and inadvertently travel to a common meeting place. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Conan Doyle all make appearances in the final chapters to deduce a dizzying, if talky, rationale for what exactly is going on. Zivkovic does a superb job of communicating the befuddlement, confusion and awe of individual characters as they wrestle with mysteries that exceed the understanding that their time, place and intellectual capacity permits. He also suggests a coherent cosmic blueprint that incorporates the novel's many episodes yet still remains intriguingly beyond full comprehension. Not all the mysteries are laid bare at the novel's somewhat abrupt end, but readers will enjoy the tale's epistemological gymnastics and the interplay of real and imaginary personalities.
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Four great scientists--Archimedes, van Ceulen, Tesla, and Hawking--gather at an ancient Buddhist temple deep in a jungle to meet computer scientist Srinavasa; his sentient computer program Rama; and the latter's child, sired by an ape. Elsewhere, a radio telescope awaits a specific signal, spherical beings go about their lives, the pack travels to see mysterious presences during the month they call Thule, and a medieval artist's assistant embarks on a journey into what he perceives as the circles of Hell. Then Sherlock Holmes receives a mysterious note--a perfect circle--and must join forces with his nemesis Moriarty to close the Fourth Circle. As the prologue, which is also the ending, informs us, Holmes' task is not one of obtaining answers but one of asking new questions and making contact across the varied worlds of the novel. Zivkovic distinguishes the book's discrete narratives stylistically and links its semicircular development back to itself seamlessly, opening the door to speculation about what happens next, which turns out to be a perfectly satisfactory conclusion. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved