Sir Arthur C. Clarke is a living legend, a writer whose name has been synonymous with science fiction for more than fifty years. An indomitable believer in human and scientific potential, Clarke is a genuine visionary. If Clarke has an heir among today’s science fiction writers, it is award-winning author Stephen Baxter. In each of his acclaimed novels, Baxter has demonstrated dazzling gifts of imagination and intellect, along with a rare ability to bring the most cerebral science dramatically to life. Now these two champions of humanism and scientific speculation have combined their talents in a novel sure to be one of the most talked-about of the year, a 2001 for the new millennium.
For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind— until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline. Instead, the world becomes a patchwork of eras, from prehistory to 2037, each with its own indigenous inhabitants.
Scattered across the planet are floating silver orbs impervious to all weapons and impossible to communicate with. Are these technologically advanced devices responsible for creating and sustaining the rifts in time? Are they cameras through which inscrutable alien eyes are watching? Or are they something stranger and more terrifying still?
The answer may lie in the ancient city of Babylon, where two groups of refugees from 2037—three cosmonauts returning to Earth from the International Space Station, and three United Nations peacekeepers on a mission in Afghanistan—have detected radio signals: the only such signals on the planet, apart from their own. The peacekeepers find allies in nineteenth-century British troops and in the armies of Alexander the Great. The astronauts, crash-landed in the steppes of Asia, join forces with the Mongol horde led by Genghis Khan. The two sides set out for Babylon, each determined to win the race for knowledge . . . and the power that lies within.
Yet the real power is beyond human control, perhaps even human understanding. As two great armies face off before the gates of Babylon, it watches, waiting. . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
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1885, the North West Frontier. Rudyard Kipling is witness to a bizarre encounter between the British army and what appears to be an impossibly advanced piece of Russian technology. And then to a terrifying intervention by a helicopter from 2037. Before the full impact of this extraordinary event has even begun to sink in, Kipling, his friends and the helicopter crew stumble across Alexander the Great's army. Mankind's time odyssey has begun.
It is a journey that will see Alexander avoid his premature death and carve out an Empire that expands from Carthage to China, beating the time-slipped army of Ghenghis Khan in a battle outside the ruins of Babylon in the process. And it will present mankind with two devastating truths. Aliens are amongst us and have been manipulating our past and our future. And that future extends only as far as 2037, for that is the date Earth will be destroyed.
This is SF that spans countless centuries and carries cutting edge ideas on time travel and alien intervention. It shows two of the genre's masters at their groundbreaking best.Book Description:
A stunning new companion series to 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY from the world's most important living SF writer and his acknowledged heir.
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