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Hachette Book Group
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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Kindle Edition
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|Length: 424 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
"The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" by Claire North is a fascinating mix of "Groundhog Day" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" with some time travel thrown in for good measure.
The protagonist, Harry August, is one of the rare people who are unable to truly die: as soon as their body dies, their life starts over with the same parents, the same childhood, the same world - except this time they have a lifetime (or 15 lifetimes) of knowledge and experience to draw back on. As Harry August dies for the 11th time, a little girl warns him about the impending end of the world...
The novel is beautifully crafted: the author not only came up with a fascinating concept that's very rarely seen in science fiction, but developed it and fleshed it out to such an extent that the book's universe seems quite believable. We get glimpses of other immortals (or ouroborans, as they call themselves) and the many, many different ways they spend their endless lives. We get cautionary tales of what can happen if somebody tries introducing advanced technology centuries before its time. (Alternate history fans will love that part.) We see the best and the worst that strange immortality brings out in regular people - and how they deal with it.
The person writing under the pseudonym of Claire North, whoever he or she truly is, did a marvelous job when researching the book: as a Russian immigrant, I can attest that the chapters that take place in the USSR are absolutely believable, which isn't something I can say about a lot of books that pick exotic locales just for the fun of it.Read more ›
Harry August didn't have the best of starts in life. He was born in 1918, the bastard child of a British aristocratic family as a result when his mother - a serving girl to the family - was raped by the family scion. Then his mother died in childbirth and he was given to the family's gardener and his wife to raise. His life was commonplace and unremarkable, and his options were limited. Then, as an old man, he died, and discovered that he was a "kalachakra," one of the rare - 1 in 500,000 births - who will relive their lives over and over again.
We see Harry live his first 15 years, as he goes through the learning curve of live as a kalachakra, taking only his knowledge and experience with him from life to life, trying out new approaches to life - a major one is simply surviving World War II - and gaining more experience. After, he discovers the "Chronus Club," things become easier; the Chronus Club exists to allow other kalachakra give their younger kith a hand up, mostly by taking them out of an extended repeat of childhood and adolescence, which must be truly unbearable.
It's a good life, but there are rules. The first rule is to never let anyone know your "point of origin." Abort a kalachakra in the womb and they never exist, ever. The second rule is that the memory of a kalachakra can be wiped clean, and if it is, the kalachakra starts his next life as if it was his first life. The third rule is to never make big changes in history.Read more ›
The premise is used to perfection by this mystery author who has used this pseudonym. The thought of encountering past failed loves and challenges to infinity is definitely daunting. Harry learns he is an Ouroboran, one of a community of people around the world born into this condition. Many belong to the Cronos Club who endeavor to save young members the tedium of having to live the hostage fate of adolescence without power to affect their own lives. In addition, the issue arises as to how much to effect their worlds. Here we encounter the problem of time travel, how much dare you change the world without fatal intrusion?
Much of this book concerns his efforts to enrich the fate he has been dealt. He is part of the minority who remembers everything. Knowing he will be reborn, he takes risks for knowledge, and well, for thrills. He learns fine arts, military process, the span of his years from different perspectives. He falls in love and is able to consider a future reenactment. The possibilities immediately enmesh the reader .
Another central premise is that of quantum theory.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ken Grimwood's "Replay" may be the original Groundhog-Day-style book, but this is an improvement and my favorite of the genre. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Rob L
great book--one of the best I've read in a while. Quite differentPublished 3 days ago by Daniel Patterson
My 15 year old has already read this book at least 3x's. If your kid loves to read, buy this book!Published 4 days ago by Melissa Davis
Yes, the premise is marginally similar to what happens in Groundhog Day. But the comparison stops there. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jordan
This is science fiction at its best. A story so strange, yet engaging and thought provoking. It's a story about the same time that somehow moves through time. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Anthony R Brown
Sci Fi and fantasy lovers will appreciate the interesting effects that people can have on history when they are born with this special talent.Published 12 days ago by Gift
A wonderful new twist on reincarnation. The rich narrative and detail was grand. The first person point of view was perfect for is type of tale. I will be exploring Ms. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Kathryn Morgan, EA, NTPI Fellow
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