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.
©2005 Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"Could not put down for a moment."
This is the first audio book I've listened to and I am so happy I did. From the moment it began I didn't want to stop listening. The story its self is amazing and it is read perfectly. As soon as it finished I downloaded part two of this series and I am about to get the third. If you enjoy science fiction or just a plot that will leave you wanting for more this is definitely an ideal listen.
"Didn't quite make it"
This book operates at two levels. One is the concept of an Earth divided up and reassembled from pieces from different times. What manner of advanced beings could have such control over the very fabric of space-time and what could be their motive? The second explores the potential clash caused by a sudden juxtaposition of cultures from different times in man's history (and future, the book is set in 2037). The problem is that the book switches rather unconvincingly from one to another. Its starts promisingly enough and progresses to explore what might happen if people from the 21st and 19th century encounter the armies of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan before returning rather abruptly to the the science fiction element at the end. Each aspect is well enough written and the whole is competently read, but neither achieves the potential that you feel it could have.
I've read many AC Clarke books, and this is amongst the most riveting. I like the subtle connection to 2001. I am really looking forward to the next two books.
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