book cover of Navigator
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(The third book in the Time's Tapestry series)
A novel by

In the world of science fiction/fantasy books, it is fantasy that reigns supreme. While much intelligent, science-based SF is still being written (by such authors as Paul McAuley), hordes of elves, magicians and goblins have long exceeded the more plausible material in terms of sales. There is, thankfully, one exception: Stephen Baxter. He is one of the few intelligent writers still producing massive, fastidiously textured SF epics that flatter rather than insult the intelligence of the reader. As with the very best SF creators, his ideas come thick and fast, and an exhilarating sense of wonder is guaranteed for the reader in any one of his many novels. But what might be called science-based fantasy is also a speciality.

. Navigator is the third book in Baxter's much-acclaimed Time's Tapestry sequence, and once again the display of imagination and inventiveness takes the breath away. William the Conqueror's forces are fighting against insuperable odds, when a prophecy is given by a woman in a ruined village describing massive engines of destruction. The clash between civilisations of the East and West in the Mediterranean is reaching apocalyptic levels, and the prophecy of the war engines that will decide the conflict becomes ever more relevant -- which of two religions will win the battle? In the meantime, engineers struggle to bring the fabled machinery into reality.

This is the kind of alternative history that is Baxter's métier, and the sheer gusto of his storytelling carries this diffuse narrative along with tremendous panache. --Barry Forshaw

Genre: Science Fiction

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