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Conqueror [Hardcover]

Stephen Baxter


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Book Description

Aug. 7 2007 Time's Tapestry (Book 2)
The second novel in a thrilling alternate-history series-from national bestselling author Stephen Baxter.

Three centuries have passed since Rome fell, as The Prophecy foretold. Now The Prophecy's scroll is in the hands of a young girl, the last surviving member of the family who received The Prophecy. She lives in tranquility, disguisd as a boy among the monks on the isle of Lindisfarne-until the Vikings come, deliberately destroying the final copies of the scroll. But it remains in her memory, and when William of Normandy, who history will call the Conqueror, rises to power, once more the fate of the land rests on actions inspired by those age-old words.

But as time passes, memory of The Prophecy dims--and the veiled girl struggles to understand her heritage before all knowledge of the future will be lost to the past.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (TRD); 1 edition (Aug. 7 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441014968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441014965
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #926,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Stephen Baxter is the pre-eminent SF writer of his generation. Published around the world he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany, and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sideline seat at the Battle of Hastings Nov. 7 2008
By D. S. Bornus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, filled with historical detail about the time period of the Viking age leading up to the Norman Conquest. The book is a collection of novelettes with different generations of characters, all fulfilling an obscure prophecy foretelling events that are heralded by each appearance of what will be known as Halley's Comet.

The book concludes with one of the most famous appearances of Halley's Comet, during the time when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, establishing the Norman dominance of Britain. The author deftly weaves characters through interactions with Harold and William, allowing us a ringside seat during this epic battle. The book also weaves the characters into another actual historic occurrence, a Viking chieftan's funeral and ship burial as recorded by a contemporary Arab observer. (This burial did occur and was also adapted into a scene in the movie "The 13th Warrior" with Antonio Banderas.)

The only downside to this book is that each of the novelettes is a separate story, so that the reader becomes engaged with the characters only to come to the end of their particular saga, moving on to the next century's descendants and their life and times. In the process, however, one gains a consciousness of how time unceasingly marches forward in one's own ancestry, as we each have our brief time upon the stage of history.

(I believe this is the best book of the four-part series. In fact, it could be read/appreciated alone.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Aug. 9 2009
By SJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought the first book in this series expecting to read an alternative history. The history is interesting but through book #2, nothing out of the ordinary happens & I've been very disappointed. I enjoy reading historical fiction but was looking for a twist which these aren't delivering. If you want to read historical fiction for the time period covered by books #1 & 2, pick up Bernard Cornwell instead. I'm going to read book #3 with the hope that finally something historically different happens but if you picked the series hoping for some sci-fi element, you will be sorely disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an original take! Dec 20 2010
By G. Simms - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Baxter is a modern master who has given us a new way of thinking about alt/history SF. His interesting technique: assume that the world came out the way it did DESPITE opportunities of the "Weavers" to change the "past" through interventions.

While this volume of the series can be read alone, it is better starting with the first installment. In century-spanning style, we watch how opportunities arise at various points which could have resulted in a sea change in human history....but (perhaps)didn't.

Baxter obviously has carefully researched the surroundings and background of the various places and times he discusses (focusing mostly on what is now Great Britain), and manages to follow a family tree from generation to generation in a rather novel and interesting way. As always, his descriptive powers are unmatched in modern-day SF. Highly recommended
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good piece of alternate history Jan. 29 2010
By Brett - Published on Amazon.com
In this book, "Conqueror", author Stephen Baxter continues the "Time's Tapestry" series he began with "Emperor". Like the first book, it is a book with interesting historical detail, some strong and weak characters, all written into a series of different story arcs taking place in sequential sections of time. This makes for an interesting novel, and one that is stronger than "Emperor".

"Conqueror" begins in the same way that "Emperor did", with a new prophecy (although uttered at the end of "Emperor") that shapes the actions of the characters who try to divine and use it for their own ends. Like "Emperor", it is set in Great Britain, although this is a Britain shaped by waves of post-Roman invaders such as the Danes and Angles, as well as the full advent of Christianity. Baxter reveals his story through separate story arcs that take place in sequential periods of time (such as 793 AD, 1064 AD, and so forth), although the characters in the arcs are usually connected by either family or contact.

The historical detail in this novel is rich and, to the best of my knowledge, reasonably accurate. Baxter uses this to create some very good imagery, both mundane and terrible (one scene describes a particularly gruesome and savage act of brutality by one of his characters). Although the characters are still mixed in quality, virtually all of them are fleshed out well, and even the weakest of them is stronger than the weakest-constructed characters in "Emperor".

Like its predecessor, this novel is still largely historical fiction; rather than showing a changed past and changing future, it mostly shows the key events where changes might have occurred due to the effect of the prophecy, even if they do not end up doing so. The mysterious force called "The Weaver" remains as shrouded in mystery as he/she/it was at the beginning of the series, and the nature of the intervention in time's tapestry remains largely an attempt to shift what would otherwise be a real historical time-line.

This is probably the best novel in the "Time's Tapestry series". While I would not recommend it to anyone who has not read "Emperor", it is overall a solid book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really very good! Aug. 22 2007
By robert johnston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This installment is really very good ... excellent fun. Baxter's well researched narrative of the 2nd half of the first millennium is as good as any author (ScFi or otherwise) writing about this lost time. He uses the historical `dark age' society to weave the mysterious tale of time's apparent, subtle manipulation from the future.

The mixing of accurate history with the ScFi expectation is an addictive read. I look forward to the final installment of the Tapestry series.

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