I love alternative history and looked forward to reading this book, but I was greatly disappointed. It is a disjointed set of stories about a small group of people who keep being reincarnated, coming back in different forms, different lives, different genders, even as a tiger once. While this would sound, at face value, to be interesting, it was too jumbled up to be so. As for the alternative history part, the main problem is that the author did his research too well -- I consider myself fairly well educated, but not well educated enough to recognize some of the more subtle historical details that were changed or "alternative". I really struggled, wanting to like this book, but I cannot recommend it.
I finally finished the book. I won't say it was the most wonderful book I ever read, but I can say that it was 'good' - not great, but good. There were so many good parts separated by so many boring parts! I think this book could easily have been 200 pages shorter and be a much better read.
After slogging through the first 150 pages very slowly, it finally got very interesting at about page 250. The whole middle was quite good, then during the story of the Long War, it got boring again. Then the last section got interesting again.
This is not a book I would recommend to anyone in general. If you are really into reincarnation stories and have a lot of patience, go for it. If you have ANY kind of vision problems at all, get the hardback, or LP versions. The MMPB type is *really* tiny, IMO.
I struggled through 300 pages, but it never really held my interest. It's like 10 stories in one book, although they are loosely tied together. The premise is interesting (see the book description, above), but nothing much seems to happen in the stories. Call me hard to please, but if I'm going to spend my time reading alternate history, I want some really gory earthshattering wars, or at least some seriously dysfunctional people to waste my time with, not some nice guys floating through imaginary societies.
This is a weird book, it starts a little slow, but once you get the idea of it, it is very entertaining. It deals extensively with the idea of a group of souls who are re-incarnated for better or worse over and over again. I didn't think I would like this book, but I did. Be prepared to have a full weekend to read this book.
This is a fairly long book, but if you're a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson, it is worth the time and effort. Takes a bit to get past the first few chapters, but worth it. It is an epic alternate history that spans centuries. Very interesting, especially if you are interested in history and reincarnation. I know it is not the easiest read, but I can say that lots of it stuck with me a long time after.
Much as I love KSR (& historical fiction/alternate timelines) I just couldn't get into this one. His strength lies in character development, and this story line flows through hundreds of years, with little continuity from time to time.
I really tried to get into this one, as I'm a huge fan of alternative history, but nothing ever really seemed to happen. The stories (for rather than a novel, it seems to consist of several different interrelated stories jumbled together)just didnt have any excitement to them. I finally admitted defeat around the time the characters were reincarnated in Spain and put the book down.
Interesting concept, but just when you get to know the caracters and th plot get isnteresting, they die in ways that are pretty irrelevent. Kim could have made seven good books out of this instead of one lame one. I wasn't able to finish this book.
I really liked this book even though it is confusing keeping track of who becomes whom. The second time I read it I made myself a chart of the characters. I never did figure out the meaning of the title. Anybody have any ideas?
I didn't LOVE the book, I think mainly because of the size of it, 763 little pages, but it is an interesting alternate view of human histories. In this view, The Black Death, the plague in Europe that killed a third of the population, kills 99 percent of the population. This looks at how the world would have changed. This crosses decades, centuries, the world. I could not read this all at once; I read other things in between. It is that kind of book. Read some, digest what you read, read some more. It really is an interesting take on what the world might have been like.
This is a wonderfully creative and complex alternate history of the world. It's starts with the premise that the plague killed 99% of the population of Europe, a much higher percentage that it actually did. Robinson shows his view of how that might have dramatically changed history. This is a look at the history that could have beena history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. This is a fascination story -- the first few chapters, at least, are a bit hard to get through, but you are rewarded for your tenacity later.
This is a fascinating alternate history, as seen through the eyes of 3 main characters who are reincarnated throughout the book. Each character learns valuable lessons to carry them through the next "life". Just as interesting are the brief times their souls wait for the next round of incarnations... this book makes you wonder what if??
As has been mentioned several times, this book felt very disjointed. Following multiple characters through multiple lives was difficult at first, but I got used to that. However, the story got less and less interesting as it approached modern times.
PLEASE NOTE - IMPORTANT This book is in almost new condition, EXCEPT someone has written on some of the pages in the book, starting with the first page. The writing is small and neat, no writing over the book print at all. May have been a students book. If the book was not otherwise in such perfect condition I would not list it, had no problem reading the book. Please do not order if this will be a problem