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The Plot to Save Socrates (Sierra Waters Book 1)
 
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The Plot to Save Socrates (Sierra Waters Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Paul Levinson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this light, engaging time-travel yarn, Levinson (The Silk Code) ponders the problem of saving someone who refuses to be saved, in this case Socrates, the Athenian philosopher condemned to death in a shameful moment for democracy. Inspired by a newly discovered dialogue of Socrates in which he's offered escape by time travel, Sierra Waters, classics grad student in 2042, joins her professor, Thomas O'Leary, in a quest to return to the past. Along the way, Sierra gains a lover, the charismatic Athenian leader, Alcibiades, as well as an enigmatic ally, the fabled inventor Heron of Alexandria. Plans are made, betrayed and relaid, all aiming to bring Socrates away before his execution. But the wily thinker, out to embarrass Athens, will have none of it. The plot threatens to fracture as the characters constantly move backward and forward in time, but by the surprise end, Levinson succeeds in tying the main narrative together in a way that neatly satisfies the circularity inherent in time travel, whose paradoxes he links to Greek philosophy. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Classics grad student Sierra Waters is understandably skeptical when her advisor hands her an unknown Socratic dialogue between the imprisoned teacher and Andros, a time traveler. Andros offers Socrates an escape from the hemlock--a clone will be left in his place, and Socrates will live in the future. As she investigates the document's provenance, Sierra comes across a number of bizarre coincidences and, finally, the genuine possibility of time travel. She embarks on an adventure across past, present, and future, trying to puzzle out Andros' identity and save Socrates. In transit, she picks up Alcibiades of the honeyed thighs and enigmatic Heron of Alexandria. Eventually, she finds Socrates. The plot twists across itself, filling the book with paradoxes and potential paradoxes in total disregard for linear time, betrayal, and plotting. In the end, Socrates' fate and Andros' motivations and identity unexpectedly conclude a quick-to-read, entertaining treatment of the problems inherent in time travel with style and flair. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 815 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: JoSara MeDia (Dec 11 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AMUDJNS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The first three chapters of The Plot to Save Socrates take place in the years 2042, 150 and 1889. After getting through the initial disorientation that this caused, I raced through the rest of Paul Levinson's page turner. It is an enjoyable read that I would recommend to science fiction fans and non-scifi fans alike.

The premise is a complex web of events started by someone out to save Socrates through time travel. The paradoxes of time travel (that changes in the past can change you in the future) are interweaved with the story of people both historical and fictional, some who believe they are nobly trying to save one of the greatest minds ever, some who believe they have no say in events and are just following along paths to destinies already set out before them, and others who are determined to change their fates by changing the past.

Although many ancients (Greek and otherwise) appear in the story, the fictional character (at least fictional in the beginning) of Sierra Waters (a paradoxical name in and of itself!) is the most intriguing. She becomes interwoven in the plot, but determined to make decisions about what paths she takes based on personal choices, not waves of the future or patterns of history.

I enjoyed the pace of the story, once I got used to the back and forth of the time and place settings. I also enjoyed the ancient characters brought to life, always a struggle and Paul does this well. Others may nitpick about some facts (how to people survive in different times? aren't people who left one time never to return missed by parents and others? why aren't there many more time travellers than there are in the book). But I enjoyed the story.

In addition, I believe Mr. Levinson leaves the story open for a sequel (or, because of time travel, would this be a prequel??), but I will not give the details of how as I do not want to spoil the story. I, for one, would certainly welcome a follow up.

Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The dawn broke a little while ago" Jan. 24 2007
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm not particularly attracted to time travel novels. Or to Greek philosophy and history. So deciding to read The Plot to Save Socrates was something of fortunate whim (yes, I do have whims on occasion). But what I feared might be a bit tedious turned out to be a fascinating volume with a story line that works on many levels, from philosophy to romance.

The basic plot is just what the title says. A missing Socratic dialogue is discovered that relates Socrates' last conversation. A conversation in which he is offered the opportunity to escape his impending doom and flee into the future. Offered the opportunity to participate in this adventure by Professor Thomas O'Leary, doctoral candidate Sierra Waters embarks on a complex journey that will have her following the tracks on an ancient (or modern) inventor, taking one of Socrates' best friends as a lover, and, eventually, joining in the effort to bring a reluctant Socrates to safe harbor.

At heart, this is a 'puzzle' story. Riding time traveling chairs across millennia, Waters and others crisscross each other; making sure that events happen in the right sequence, staging more than one hair's breadth escape, and generally muddying the waters. Only gradually does the real sequence of events emerge. This is often precisely why I don't like time travel novels - the artificial nature of the plot - but Paul Levinson displays the writing skills needed to keep this artificiality from overwhelming the real story.

What is the 'real' story? For each reader it will be something slightly different, but for me it is the insights into the nature of Socrates himself. This is a man who spurned democracy, was willing to chose death to make a point, and who greatly distrusted the written word. Levinson shows us a man whose inquisitive nature can gently turn any discussion into a dialogic investigation. A natural teacher whose ideas have had inconceivable influence on the next 2500 years. And he is an honest, principled man who is impossible to dislike. It amazed me to find that several passages in the book found immediate application in other exchanges. That's quite something for an innocuous, slim, science fiction story.

Levinson's style is sparse, frequently surfacing feelings and ideals with a few sure strokes. Romance, suspense, and the theater of thought are the settings for a writer to display considerable breadth. You may find Levinson's character development quirky, but keep in mind that we meet many characters in out-of-order time slices, which are only blended together as the tale comes to its delightful, quixotic ending. This turned out to be surprisingly good reading and I heartily recommend it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun lighthearted time travel romp Feb. 8 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In 2042 Classics Professor Thomas O'Leary shows Manhattan's Old School doctorate candidate Sierra Waters a recently discovered fragment of a Socrates Dialogue. Sierra is stunned when the great philosopher discusses an opportunity offered by a visitor Andros to his prison to escape his impending state sponsored death by traveling in time. After discussing the Dialogue with her boyfriend Max, Sierra talks to her faculty advisor who says he is going to a Wilmington hospital for an operation on an aneurysm near his heart and that he trusts Sierra to do the right thing when it comes to Socrates.

Sierra and Max soon investigate the reality of time travel not just the theories and learn of a machine in London. There they begin a journey through time to several BCE eras, the nineteenth century and two decades into their future in an attempt to persuade Socrates to escape imminent death by hemlock. However the great philosopher has other plans for the leadership of Athens even while Sierra is attracted to the "enemy" and there is no guarantee that the two graduate students will return to their doctorate present.

THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES is a fun lighthearted time travel romp that in some ways will remind the audience of Bill and Ted though Sierra and Max are a lot more intelligent than the latter two. The story line is fast-paced as the twenty-first century travelers move back and forth in time with several intriguing surprises to include meeting real historical figures and a terrific final spin. Paul Levinson provides a strong science fiction thriller in which readers will have all the time in the world to join the quest to save Socrates.

Harriet Klausner
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More like 4 1/2 stars.... Oct. 24 2007
By Deborah Wiley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What if Socrates didn't really die and was offered an escape from his infamous death by hemlock poisoning? Paul Levinson asks just such a question in this fascinating time travel....

Doctoral student Sierra Waters isn't sure what to make of the dialogue between Socrates and Andros on the newly discovered manuscript fragment. Why is Thomas O'Leary, a member of her dissertation committee, giving it to her now? Even more bizarre is his sudden disappearance, a disappearance that sets Sierra off on an incredible journey. Time travel suddenly seems real as Sierra attempts to unravel the mystery behind the fragment in this epic adventure.

History comes to life in this fun and thought provoking tale! Socrates has always seemed a rather dour and dull figure to me but Paul Levinson breathes new life into this time. I must admit that I'm very unfamiliar with the plethora of historical figures who make an appearance in this tale, but it added another layer of intrigue as I spent almost as much time researching them as I did listening to the audio book! The print version of this tale has a very helpful appendix with notes about the various characters who appear.

The twists and turns make this story interesting as we wait to see how this tale will ultimately unfold. I'm not sure if true fans of the time period of Socrates and Alcibiades will appreciate this story nearly as much as those of us with only the barest of knowledge as Paul Levinson definitely takes some poetic license in the unveiling of THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES.

Narrator Mark Shanahan does a fabulous job at providing different voices. This is particularly helpful as THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES shifts perspectives quite a bit. At one point, I was close to giving up on the story in total confusion when the various story pieces suddenly clicked together. Once that happened, I was hooked! THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES is the sort of tale you want to savor each detail as all begins to come together in one very devious plot!

COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DELIGHTFULLY THOUGHT-PROVOKING! April 26 2009
By Lizzy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES

There's an old saying, "If you love Greek history and you're fascinated by time travel, you'll love Paul Levinson's The Plot To Save Socrates. If you're reading this in 2009, you'll likely disagree that it's an old saying, but if you time travel to 2061, you'll find that it's true.

Paul Levinson's delightful sci-fi book opens in New York in 2042. Sierra Waters, a student of the classics who is working on her dissertation, comes across a newly discovered dialog of Socrates. In it, an unidentified time traveler tries to convince Socrates to escape his death sentence by letting a cloned double drink hemlock while Socrates travels to the future.

As the characters time travel to different periods in the past and the future, the reader cannot help but be absorbed in not only the engaging plot, but also by the myriad questions that time travel raises. I think we all can relate to even the smallest incidents in our own lives that have profoundly changed the course of our personal history. In that sense, The Plot To Save Socrates really challenges our minds as we're led to contemplate how even the smallest adjustments in history could literally change its course.

Though written in a lighthearted style, the depth of research and thought that Paul Levinson put into the writing is clear and the result is truly a thought-provoking, breathtaking, and highly entertaining novel.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Chairs June 9 2013
By P.S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Somewhere in my brain lie remnants of a minor in Philosophy from long ago. Paul Levinson's ambitious novel, "The Plot to Save Socrates," reminds me of how much I've forgotten. (Socrates? Name sounds familiar.) I found it to be educational, challenging, fascinating, clever, complex, and occasionally exhausting, but surely enjoyable.

You do have to pay attention, as the cast of characters are jumping places and eras like a game of musical chairs -- Time Travel chairs, which are their means of spanning millenniums. Fortunately, dates and locations are clearly labeled with each chapter and change, so it's easy enough for readers -- but not always for the travelers. Levinson writes, "She had to find out the date. The time-traveller's eternal question...."

Another favorite line: "He heard the hounds of paradox baying in some corner of his brain...." That might apply to me, but selective re-reads help, or perhaps there's a new App -- Paradox & Time Loop Check. I did find myself questioning motivation and intent a couple of times, but these are minor distractions in the scope of a satisfying story.

To quote Sierra, a main character: "Nothing is certain where time travel is concerned." I agree. It's fiction, very well written, so enjoy the ride.
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