Title: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
Authors: Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: June 13, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "When Melisande Stokes,
an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military
intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University,
it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and
human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity
approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer.
The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return
for the rather large sum of money.
Tristan needs Mel to translate
some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering.
They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries.
But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of
Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic
stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition
at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of
industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world
"jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find
And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O.
—gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring
magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive
. . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while
Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the
technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the
My Two Cents:
So if you have been
following my blog, some of you may know about one of my 2018 challenges,
which was to read the favorite books of some of my friends. I am so
happy that I am doing this challenge for books like this one. This book
was suggested by my friend and a good author, Tinney Heath. I might have
never come across it otherwise!
Imagine that instead of magic
not being real, that it used to be real but now it has gone extinct.
Imagine the U.S. government had a whole agency devoted to time traveling
in order to figure out what happened to the magic and how to bring it
back in the world. That is what this book is about. It's a perfect blend
of sci-fi with some great historical fiction detail that pulls together
so many of my interests in one hefty novel that I still didn't want to
end even after over 750 pages.
In this book, we meet a ancient
language linguist, Melisandre, and a military intel ops guy, Tristan,
are thrown together by this super secretive agency. Melisandre doesn't
get the full picture at first but she very quickly sees how her
linguistic skills will be used by this agency. Tristan is excited about
his new ventures. The main characters are great but there is a whole
cast of secondary characters (witches from history and lots of stodgy
military guys who are the complete opposite of the freewheeling
Not only is the story good but it's dramatic and funny
and kept me reading. Particularly some of the sections about the
bureaucratic nonsense that rules the day at this agency for a seemingly
silly bit of work. There were a couple parts about the bureaucrazy
(ahem, cracy) that had me laughing out loud. I also liked how the
authors explained how things worked when the past changes. This was a
very original story line and I really enjoyed this read!