Sunday, January 08, 2012

Empress of Eternity, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Empress of Eternity, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

A massive, impervious two thousand mile long canal stretches across an entire continent, its purpose long forgotten. Empress of Eternity tells three separate interleaving stories centering around the mystery of the canal in three radically different societies across time. Each story pits science against politics; each has obvious heroes and villains. As we reach the climax, it appears that one group is on the verge of harnessing the forces behind the canal—and those forces will destroy it in all times across the years.

I really like Modesitt’s writing, this effort was a bit flat. Trying to introduce one new civilization in a book can be difficult; introducing three while trying to give a unique personality to each individual is impossible. Jumping from era to era with each chapter causes characterization to develop slowly, meaning there isn’t a real connection with them for the reader until late in the novel. The jumping also makes the plot somewhat repetitive, as each timeline seemingly has to make the same discoveries in turn. Clearly very ambitious, Modesitt doesn’t quite live up to the promise but still turns in an entertaining story.

First Sentence:
The man in a working singlesuit and a thermal jacket, both of aristocratic silver, stepped out of the door, letting it slide close behind him, a wonder that hw had become used to over the past many months.

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