NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist!
B&N Editor's Pick - Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017
From bestselling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.
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 swear herself to secrecy 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.
Written with the genius, complexity, and innovation that characterize all of Neal Stephenson’s work and steeped with the down-to-earth warmth and humor of Nicole Galland’s storytelling style, this exciting and vividly realized work of science fiction will make you believe in the impossible, and take you to places—and times—beyond imagining.
“[An] immense and immensely entertaining genre-hopping yarn. . . . A departure for both authors and a pleasing combination of much appeal to fans of speculative fiction.”
“Quantum physics, witchcraft, and multiple groups with conflicting agendas, playfully mixed with vernacular from several centuries and a dizzying number of acronyms, create a fascinating experiment in speculation and metafiction that never loses sight of the human foibles and affections of its cast.”
“[An] enticing speculative thriller . . . a complex and engaging what-if tale that blends technology and history.”
“There’s a lot going on here—stylistic flourishes, comedic pratfalls, romance and science—but it’s handled deftly. Those familiar with Stephenson will recognize his humor and ideas, while Galland (author of Stepdog, Crossed, Revenge of the Rose and others) brings a fresh and irresistible voice to this ambitious novel.”
“The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. reflects the familiarity of authors comfortable in their respective genres and who trust the change of style the other brings. The book is more than the sum of its authors’ parts.”
“Stephenson and Galland, full of zest and brio, have expertly assembled…a delicious soufflé of adventure, laughter, hubris, and mind-twisting diachronic paradoxes.”
“[The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.] explores the boundary between magic and science with wit, intellectual intensity and panache.”
“Whimscial and chaotic. . . .Crack the covers and time will seem to slip away.”
“The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a high-stakes techno-farce with brains and heart.”
“An intoxicating and worthy read . . . the collaboration provides both Stephenson and Galland a freeing atmosphere where ideas are explored and abandoned, measured and scattered, inflated and sent sputtering into the sky – an exhilarating place for a reader.”