Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I linked to a report about the repair plans for Big Ben. Tina reviewed The Alice Network, a novel based on the history of a female spy network that operated during WWI. Mike took us on a visit to the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney in Liverpool. Becky reviewed the Wilkie Collins novel, Hide and Seek.
Book: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: 2017
Summary: Melisande (Mel) Stokes keeps a diary in 1851 London, but she’s really from the 21st century. She worked on a time-travel project with Tristan Lyons, an operative for a secret branch of the American military. Tristan employs Mel to translate ancient documents that prove that magic existed before the scientific age. Using modern technology and a prickly old witch, they manage to bring back just enough magic to really confuse things.
Thoughts: I have a love-hate relationship with Neal Stephenson. Quicksilver and Cryptonomicon both took me many weeks to read. About two-thirds of the way through, I had lost threads of the plot but remained transfixed by the characters. I wasn’t sure if I was still enjoying the books or experiencing Stockholm Syndrome.
I hoped that a co-author might reign in some of Stephenson’s entanglements. It worked! Of course, a time-travel novel is never going to be straight forward, but The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. keeps us moving toward one goal at a time. As complications arise and new characters are introduced, they fit into a pattern that a reader can keep straight in her head.
Time travel means that this novel has settings all over the world and in many different time periods, but two of them will appeal to British Isles Friday folks:
1601 London. There are many scenes in and near a Tavern on the south side of the Thames. The latest Shakespeare play at The Globe is frequently mentioned with funny commentary from an Irish woman who is not a fan.
1851 London. We get to visit the Great Exhibition in the massive Crystal Palace.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. was also fun to finish this week because the total solar eclipse that moved across Europe on July 28, 1851 was a crucial element of the plot.
Appeal: The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a fun novel to sink into. Like the other Neal Stephenson novels I’ve read, this book will appeal to lovers of the intersection of history and science.
Have you read this book? What did you think?