Synopses & Reviews
With the incomparable vision and breathtaking detail that brought his now-classic Mars
trilogy to vivid life, bestselling author KIM STANLEY ROBINSON boldly imagines an alternate history of the last seven hundred years. In his grandest work yet, the acclaimed storyteller constructs a world vastly different from the one we know....
The Years of Rice and Salt
It is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur-the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europes population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been-a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt.
This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the worlds greatest scientific minds-in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practiced religions and Christianity is merely a historical footnote.
Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. Rewriting history and probing the most profound questions as only he can, Robinson shines his extraordinary light on the place of religion, culture, power, and even love on such an Earth. From the steppes of Asia to the shores of the Western Hemisphere, from the age of Akbar to the present and beyond, here is the stunning story of the creation of a new world.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Superb storytelling and imaginative historic speculation make this a standout novel and a priority choice for all sf and general fiction collections. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Blessed with moments of wry and gentle beauty as friends and antagonists rediscover each other under different guises in exotically dangerous locales." Kirkus Reviews
"[This] alternate history is recognizably that of the last 650 years in our world, refracted by the ensorcelled lens of a wizard with a doctorate in history and a wicked sense of humor Robinson....Brilliantly conceived, the book may challenge readers less historically versed....Eventually, this book will probably place high on the list of Robinson's best work..." Roland Green, Booklist
With the same visionary scope that brought his now-classic Mars trilogy to life, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson constructs an alternative history of the last 600 years--a history where the Black Death kills nearly everyone in Europe and where China, India and the nations of Islam control the world. NPR sponsorship.
About the Author
Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of the Nebula and Hugo Awardwinning Mars trilogy: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, as well as The Martians, Antarctica, The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast, Pacific Edge, A Short, Sharp Shock, and other novels. He lives in Davis, California.