'An absorbing collaborative effort from the two giants of SF' Guardian
A generation after the events of The Long Earth, mankind has spread across the new worlds opened up by Stepping. Where Joshua and Lobsang once pioneered, now fleets of airships link the stepwise Americas with trade and culture.
Mankind is shaping the Long Earth – but in turn the Long Earth is shaping mankind ... A new ‘America’, called Valhalla, is emerging more than a million steps from Datum Earth, and it is growing restless . . .
Meanwhile the Long Earth is suffused by the song of the trolls, graceful hive-mind humanoids. But the trolls are beginning to react to humanity’s thoughtless exploitation . . .
And a gathering multiple crisis that threatens to plunge the Long Earth into a war unlike any mankind has waged before.
The Long War is the second in The Long Earth series.
The third Long Earth installment (after The Long War) sees humanity spreading out across infinite parallel worlds, with several key figures trailblazing in different ways. Commander Maggie Kauffman leads an expedition to catalog hundreds of millions of Earths, many of which prove far stranger and less hospitable than imagined. Sally Linsay is recruited by her father to explore the alternates of the newly-discovered Long Mars in search of intelligent life. Joshua Valiente encounters the emerging Next, a new breed of superintelligent humans raised in Long Earth, whose development is bringing them at odds with baseline humanity. These first two threads offer up fascinating and inventive takes on planetary development, though they fly by at dizzying speeds. The third feels too much like a conventional "us vs. them" plot. Nonetheless, Baxter and Pratchett remain in fine form, their collaboration producing another thoughtful page-turner.
Decent writing but doesn't really progress the story at all. Follows various characters on side issues that don't really go anywhere or add anything worthwhile to the first book.
A recommended read
Both books have had me totally absorbed, one after the other.
A fascinating and appealing premise, and a moving storyline with characters that leave me wanting a third book - will have to wait (im)patiently to see if one is planned.