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Anathemby Neal Stephenson
Synopses & Reviews
Anathem, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, is a magnificent creation: a work of great scope, intelligence, and imagination that ushers readers into a recognizable — yet strangely inverted — world.
Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside secular world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside — the Extramuros — for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.
Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent's gates — at the same time opening them wide to welcome the curious extras in. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was collected. But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change.
Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros — a threat that only an unsteady alliance of secular and avout can oppose — as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a staggering responsibility, Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world — as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.
"Stephenson has quickly established himself as an A-list writer of epic-length fantasy....The novel is beautifully written...and, even though it runs to nearly 1,000 pages, it feels somehow too short....A magnificent achievement." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Light on adventure, but a logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic and ironic." Kirkus Reviews
"Anathem is chock-full of great ideas, and the details matter....Because of the internal strength of Stephenson's storytelling, Anathem achieves transcendence of traditional commercial boundaries..." Chicago Sun-Times
Since childhood, Raz has lived behind the walls of a 3,400-year-old monastery, a sanctuary for scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians. There, he and his cohorts are sealed off from the illiterate, irrational, and unpredictable saecular world, until the day that a higher power decides it is only these cloistered scholars who have the abilities to avert an impending catastrophe. One by one, Raz and his friends, mentors, and teachers are sent forth without warning into the unknown.
From New York Times bestselling author Daniel Suarez—a terrifying, breathtaking, and all-too-plausible vision of the worlds near future
Linda McKinney studies the social behavior of insects—which leaves her entirely unprepared for the day her research is conscripted to help run an unmanned and automated drone army.
Odin is the secretive Special Ops soldier with a unique insight into a faceless enemy who has begun to attack the American homeland with drones programmed to seek, identify, and execute targets without human intervention.
Together, McKinney and Odin must slow this advance long enough for the world to recognize its destructive power. But as enigmatic forces press the advantage, and death rains down from above, it may already be too late to save mankind from destruction.
A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson, who rocked the world with Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient monastery walls until they are called back into the world to deal with a crisis of astronomical proportions.
Anathem won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the reviews for have been dazzling: “Brilliant” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel), “Daring” (Boston Globe), “Immensely entertaining” (New York Times Book Review), “A tour de force” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), while Time magazine proclaims, “The great novel of ideas…has morphed into science fiction, and Neal Stephenson is its foremost practitioner.”
About the Author
Neal Stephenson is the author of seven previous novels. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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