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Empress of Eternity Hardcover – November 9, 2010
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Prolific author Modesitt (Imager's Intrigue) stumbles with this tedious tale of a far future in which a new ice age threatens Earth, and a vast canal, built by an ancient civilization, splits the world's central continent for no readily discernible reason. Even more glacial than the ice is the narrative, replete with whole chapters that could have profitably been rewritten into single paragraphs or even single sentences. Occasional hints of international tension show promise, but the characters are no more than blandly chattering ciphers, and the distant epoch lacks so much detail that it might as well be the present day. While there might be some appeal for the hardest of hardcore Modesitt fans, new readers would be well advised to start reading elsewhere.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Far in the future, a massive, indestructible canal spans the midcontinent of Earth, splitting it in two. In 1331 RE, married scientists Maertyn and Maarlyna see threats to the climate in the increased glacial activity they observe. They are looking for clues that could explain the canal, but also face a budget crisis that could end their research. In 2471 RE, scientists Eltyn and Faelyna are studying the canal, trying to learn what they can before a massive drought destroys the land. In the meantime, their hive society falls to civil war. In 3123, researchers Duhyle and Helkira are studying the canal when insurrectionists rise against the global government, using a weapon that could destroy the planet and possibly the entire universe. The scientists of all three cultures find themselves pulled into a joint effort to stop this destruction, by the forces that built and maintain the canal. The plot is classic, but in his pictures of three different societies fighting the same battle, Modesitt shows that cultures may change but people don’t. A provocative, enthralling story. --Frieda Murray
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They are all trying to discover the function and purpose of the bridge. It was built by an ancient race of humans, who have long since moved on or managed to annihilate themselves, and there is nothing left of them except this bridge which shows they must have been technological juggernauts. One timeline is facing global warming, another global cooling, that threaten the earth's population. Each timeline is facing some sort of corrupt government.
The book is slow, filled with techno-jargon, (actually three different sets of techno-jargon, one for each time period) that makes it difficult to understand or keep up with. The relationships are odd, and there is characterization that is never fleshed out, making what could be compelling characters seem one dimensional.
The book is a jumble. Unless you're really into cause/effect time paradox stuff, REALLY into it, then you should skip this one.
I did find some of the minor editing problems with the Kindle edition were annoying enough to interrupt the flow of reading the story. Certain common words were split into multiple different words that just didn't make sense; for example when Maertyn is working on the politically hot issue of budget allocations, the subject is split into the two words "bud" and "get"; similarly "independent" became "in" "de" "pen" "dent" later in the story.
My 5 star review is based on the story content, not on the minor editing flaws (I guess they're not so minor when they distract me from reading the story!)
I liked this book more then Haze, it kind of has "Rendezvous with Rama" feel to it of trying to figure out the functioning of an million years old artifact beyond anyone understanding.
The politics part of the book is written in typical Modesit's style of the protagonists trying to fight their way though organizations where dirty tricks, waste and corruption are taking hold, although this part of the book is mostly confined to the Unity of Caelaar storyline, while the in-politics of the other two civilizations is less fleshed out.
Fans of his previous works will definitely enjoy this.
Like most of his books, one needs to be patient as he loves a bit of mystery and keeps you guessing about many things, right to the end. The weaving of three different times (past, present, future) into the plot is handled well.