A stunning new companion series to 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY from the world's most important SF writer and his acknowledged heir
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.
Clarke, with Baxter (Coalescent), probably the most talented of the former's several collaborators, have cooked up an exciting tale full of high-tech physics, military tactics and larger-than-life characters in the first of two novels related to the bestselling senior author's Space Odyssey series. In an awesome and unexplained catastrophe, the earth has been literally diced and put back together again. Each of the segments of terrain (and you can actually see the dividing lines between them) comes from a different era, some of them millions of years apart. As the novel opens, a 19th-century British army company, stationed on the Afghan-Pakistani border, captures an Australopithecine mother and child, just as a team of 21st-century U.N. peacekeepers crash their helicopter nearby. Later they join forces with Alexander the Great. Simultaneously, a Soyuz descent vehicle, having just left the International Space Station, crash-lands in the middle of Genghis Khan's army. Eventually, the armies of Alexander and the Khan converge on Babylon, the last remaining large city in Eurasia and a titanic battle seems imminent. Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey will have fun with the many references to that earlier novel. Although not flawless, this is probably the best book to appear with Clarke's name on it in a decade.
A whole story that managed to explain nothing but leave questions like why did I bother?