Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

Title: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
Authors: Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland 
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Library

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 out why.

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 human heart."

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 witches).

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!


1 comment:

  1. I love when a great book just 'happens' to come my way. Shows word of mouth pays off. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental


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